Legal Experts Aghast At Trump's Careless Call for Death Penalty for NYC Suspect
"Advocating the death penalty before trial isn't justice, it's a lynching."
Critics denounced President Donald Trump's Thursday morning tweets in which he called for the death penalty for the suspect in this week's New York City attack.
Backtracking on his earlier calls for the alleged attacker to be sent to Guantanamo Bay, the president said that a federal trial would be a more efficient way to punish him.
NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2017
Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the Federal system...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2017
...There is also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2017
Immigration attorney and civil rights advocate David Leopold noted that his concern with the tweets lay not in the question of Sayfullo Saipov's guilt in the case of the murders of eight people, but with Trump's reckless interference with the justice system.
4/The evid v Saipov clearly overwhelming. But Trump's disparagement of the judiciary & call for death penalty is irresponsible & dangerous— David Leopold (@DavidLeopold) November 2, 2017
With the president on record demanding capital punishment in a trial that hasn't yet begun for a case that's still being investigated, legal experts worried that defense attorneys could argue that a fair trial is now impossible, potentially resulting in a mistrial.
Trump's tweets contained echoes of his response to the case of the Central Park Five, a group of African American teenagers who were falsely accused of raping a woman in 1989. As a private citizen he spent $85,000 on ad space calling for the suspects' executions.
On social media, a number of critics expressed grave concerns with the president's careless tweets.
Trump's use of presidential platform to call for death penalty for defendant in ongoing federal case MUST be soundly rebuked by DOJ. Enough. https://t.co/rZt93zqpJu— Elizabeth de la Vega (@Delavegalaw) November 2, 2017
Advocating the death penalty before trial isn't justice, it's a lynching. I despise what this man did to our city, but Trump is wrong here. https://t.co/YM80cFj7B6— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 2, 2017
I miss normal. I miss having a leader who knew we have a functioning justice system, not a dictator in charge. https://t.co/4MeuZY6Jqw— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) November 2, 2017
Trump helped the terrorist with this tweet. Now prosecutors will have to spend time dealing with motions that the jury pool is tainted. https://t.co/YJk05aem6U— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) November 2, 2017