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Crimes and Punishments

Trump has increased the number of legally permitted methods of execution while pursuing forgiveness for members of his inner circle who have been convicted of crimes or might be charged in the future.

Without a pardon, the post-presidency era may take an embarrassing turn for Trump. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Without a pardon, the post-presidency era may take an embarrassing turn for Trump. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Legal justice is the art of the good and the fair.
— A Saying

They are two sides of the same coin and given the trump's lack of interest in governing following the recent election, it is good that there is at least one coin in his pocket that retains his interest. It makes up for the fact that he has lost interest in the coronavirus, a virus that since its introduction has provided the trump with a forum to tout his success as the country's leader.

Since early 2020, the trump has spoken repeatedly about the famous covid, a virus that he explained he had correctly and early identified, a virus that irrespective of when the trump was speaking had, thanks to his brilliance, been brought under control as of the time he was speaking.

Since the election he has had nothing to say about the virus, even though, as this is written, it is causing deaths in the United States at the rate of approximately one a minute. Instead, and in addition to his concern about voter fraud, he has turned his attention to the criminal justice system.

Following those repeated assurances, there was an election in which the trump was resoundingly defeated. As a result the trump attention went from concern for those who had been defeated by the virus to concern about his defeat by the voters. Since the election he has had nothing to say about the virus, even though, as this is written, it is causing deaths in the United States at the rate of approximately one a minute. Instead, and in addition to his concern about voter fraud, he has turned his attention to the criminal justice system.

The first part of the criminal justice system the trump has now seen fit to address is the part that offers forgiveness to those who have been convicted of crimes or might be criminally charged at some time in the future. Those about whom he is reportedly now concerned are friends, family members, and former colleagues. The trump is sensitive to their needs not only because of his compassionate nature, but because deep in the recesses of what passes for his mind, is a nagging concern that when he is no longer protected by the mantle of the presidency, he may find he has an ongoing connection to the workings of government and the law, not as president but as defendant.

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As of this writing he has begun taking steps to pardon those convicted of crimes, and to protect from punishment those who, having engaged in criminal conduct, have not yet been found out. In so doing, he hopes to set the stage for pardons for himself, issued by himself if possible, or, if not, by his successor. Without a pardon, the post-presidency era may take an embarrassing turn for him.

Pardons are not the only aspects of the criminal justice system that have caught the trump's attention. Punishment is another and that is the other side of the coin referred to above. The newest proposal for improvement to the justice system comes from the trump's Department of Justice but he, as president, is entitled to all the credit for the proposed change. It has just been announced that the justice department has taken steps to increase the number of methods of execution permitted to be used on those convicted of death penalty eligible crimes in federal courts. The changes will become effective on Christmas Eve.

Deep in the recesses of what passes for his mind, is a nagging concern that when he is no longer protected by the mantle of the presidency, he may find he has an ongoing connection to the workings of government and the law, not as president but as defendant.

Before those changes were approved, the only approved method of execution that could be used in the federal system was lethal injection. Under the Christmas Eve protocol, prisoners sentenced to death may be executed by any method of execution accepted in the state in which the death sentence imposed by the sentencing judge is to be carried out.

Under this enlightened approach, in addition to lethal injection, and depending on the protocols of the state in which the prospective decedent finds him or herself awaiting execution, the sentence may be carried out by a firing squad, by being seated in an electric chair, or by being seated in an ordinary chair in a room that is then filled with poisonous gas. That is an obvious improvement over the present practice of limiting society's ability to rid itself of its unwanted members only by means of a lethal injection. And the improvement this new protocol offers to the present system is especially meaningful in that, unlike the pardon process, this is not being effected in order to benefit the trump. It is an overall improvement to the means employed to rid society of its unwanted members.

Since a majority of voters in this country have voted to rid themselves of their unwanted president, (albeit not the way one disposes of the convicted criminal), one cannot help but contemplate events that will take place on the magical date on which the trump will no longer be the president. They will take place irrespective of whether the trump has pardoned himself. Rumor has it that at the exact moment that Joe Biden is standing on the podium, his hand on the Bible, swearing to undertake his duties as president, the trump will be on the golf course at Mar a Lago preparing to hit a golf ball. The Lord will be watching over him. Just as Mr. Biden recites the oath of office, the trump will hit the ball, and it will be a hole in one for him for only the second time in his life. With Joe Biden sworn in as president, the whole country will feel like it hit a hole in one.

Christopher Brauchli

Christopher Brauchli

Christopher Brauchli is a columnist and lawyer known nationally for his work. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Colorado School of Law where he served on the Board of Editors of the Rocky Mountain Law Review. He can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu. For political commentary see his web page at http://humanraceandothersports.com

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