Supreme Court Upholds Rule Allowing State, Federal Charges

United States Supreme Court
Photo credit iStock / Getty Images

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a long-standing constitution rule that allows states and federal government to prosecute somebody for the same crime.

As WCBS 880’s Kevin Rincon reported, though the case involved a gun conviction in Alabama, it gained national attention for its potential effect on pardons from President Donald Trump.

“Federal prosecution and punishment does not shut off the chance of the state to bring the same case,” explained CBS News legal analyst Thane Rosenbaum.

The court ruled against federal prison inmate Terance Gamble. He was prosecuted by Alabama and the federal government for having a gun after an earlier conviction for robbery.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion that 170 years of precedent supports the idea that "a state may prosecute a defendant under state law even if the federal government has prosecuted him for the same conduct under a federal statute."

New York authorities already have indicted Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman.

Should President Trump pardon him for his federal crimes, he can still face criminal prosecution at the state level.

“New York State prosecutors, especially the Attorney General, has said that they want to pursue wrongdoing wherever it occurs, regardless of who a target may be,” Rosenbaum explains. “Even if someone who works for the president or the president himself.”

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky sponsored a bill passed in Albany that makes clear someone can be prosecuted even if they get a presidential pardon. He say this issue has been long settled and what the high court did was just reaffirm that position.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated press contributed to this report.)