In an editorial for the New York Daily News, Free Speech For People Legal Director, Ron Fein, and Harvard Law Professor, Laurence Tribe, discuss the urgent need for the New York Legislature to close a double jeopardy loophole in state law which may currently allow certain defendants pardoned by the president for their federal crimes to also escape prosecution for their state crimes.
Fein and Tribe write in support of the bill:
In most cases, the New York statute makes sense, protecting defendants against overzealous prosecutors. But if Trump issues a federal pardon to a relative or associate, a New York court might rule that state prosecution is blocked by the statute. In that case, Trump really could give a get-out-of-jail-free card, since the recipient would be immune from prosecution for the state crime.
A proposed bill in the state Legislature would close this loophole. This is not unprecedented; the Legislature has already recognized 12 exceptions where statutory double jeopardy protection is not justified. For example, if a court discovers a jurisdictional defect in a conviction — such as the defendant was tried in the wrong court — then New York law allows prosecutors to re-try the defendant in the correct court.
The bill would add a 13th exception, laser-targeted towards pardons that raise the prospect of presidential self-dealing.