Prosecutor, BOB, Bloomberg Interactive Brokers discussed on Politics, Policy, Power and Law
Live from the Bloomberg interactive brokers studio, Robert Bauer is the man accused of killing eleven people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, pleaded not guilty in federal court today to forty four counts, including murder and hate crimes. Joining me is former federal prosecutor Robert man's apartment, mccarter and English. Bob, tell us about the hate crimes he's charged with and what prosecutors will have to prove to convict him of those. History of crime really starts in nineteen sixty eight one congress passed the first he climbed statutes, and it basically makes it a crime to use or threaten force Willie interfere with any person because of their race, color, religion, or national origin. So it's it's an interesting statue because generally criminal statutes don't look to the motive behind killing or an action. They simply left to the conduct. But in this case hate crimes prosecuted have to prove that not only with somebody murdered. They were murdered because of their their gender because of their race because of their religion. And so it really goes to the motive of the killing in this case the motives, according to prosecutors anti-semitism the the gunman shouted out desktop Jews or something to that effect. As he was shooting allegedly in the temple. And that's what they will rely upon charges. Death penalty cases are rare in federal court. But here federal prosecutors say they are pursuing the death penalty explained how that affects the trial itself. For example. The selection of a death penalty qualified jury. Sure. Well, as you said, June death penalty cases are relatively rare in federal court only three people have been executed since the federal death penalty was reinstated in one thousand nine hundred ninety eight and ultimately it's important for people to remember that the decision about whether hey defendant will receive death or life in prison is up to the jury. So that means that when the jury's impaneled their additional questions that have to be asked jurors to make sure they jurors can't approach that decision with an open mind and jurors who have a moral aversion to death penalty, regardless of the facts of the case will not be permitted to sit on that jury. So it takes time for both defense and prosecutors to arrive with the jury that they think can be fair and the prosecutor you wanna make sure it's somebody who is willing to apply the death penalty if they believe it's warranted. Under the facts of the case. So if he's found guilty of the crimes that carry the death penalty, there'll be a death penalty phase. And the jury will hear from witnesses, including the victims, the Washington Post has a story out today that some rabbis oppose the death penalty's. Even this case how might that way into the jury's decision. Into the presentation. Well, it does weigh in. Prosecutors are always going to listen to victims as they put their case together on a question of whether to seek the death penalty, the victims will be considered. But ultimately, the decision is with the department of Justice and with prosecutors because prosecutors are of course, representing the entire country not only the victims of the crime. But for example, in the Dylann roof case where they white supremacist was sentenced to death last year for hatred crimes that was a case where families of those victims also did not want him to be executed because of their Christian beliefs. So it's something prosecutors will have to consider, but ultimately the decision about whether the charge and seek the death penalty will be with prosecutors. And of course, jury jury will ultimately make that determination, Bob. The state is also charging him and the Allegheny county district. Attorney has also said he will seek the death penalty. What's the point of having a state trial after a federal trial? Good question. A lot of people are perplexed by that. The reason that there is a state trial is well is because these crimes constitute violations of both state and federal law. So the state has a basis to bring these charges as well and often charges are brought in the state after the federal charges just to ensure that if all to believe the federal charges are overturned for any reason that there are these other charges out there that will ensure that the defendant remains in jail, and ultimately it may be the state charges on which he is sentenced instead of federal charges. But important to also note that under the death penalty process. The federal system is more a will move more expeditiously because a death penalty conviction at the state level who runs through the appeals process on the state level, and then has a complete second layer of appeal to the federal system for convicted of all eighty federal death penalty. It only goes through one layer of appellate review and moves a little bit. Quicker. But in either case the process is slow question about the preceding this morning. His federal public defender said he pleaded not guilty quote. As is typical at this stage of the preceding, it is typical. But stating it is not so typical was that just information or was he signaling a change of plea possibly with about forty seconds here. Well, you're right. Jen, not typical. It may be that he's trying to signal the prosecutors that he's looking to cut some kind of a deal often in those cases the role of the public defender or the defense lawyers something to try to see his client's life and try to see whether he can convince prosecutors to accept a guilty plea that will only result in life in prison as opposed to the death penalty. Thanks so much, Bob. That's Robert Menzies. He's a partner mccarter and English and a former federal prosecutor coming up on Bloomberg politics policy power in law, the GOP tax plan turns into a democratic weapon in the Chicago suburbs. That's.