Trump: As president, I will mandate the death penalty for anyone who kills a police officer

posted at 1:21 pm on December 11, 2015 by Allahpundit

From last night’s speech to the New England Police Benevolent Association, which voted to endorse him. Rarely can you tell whether a new Trump policy idea was gamed out beforehand or just something he came up with on the fly while in front of a mic, and this is no exception. His advisor, Dan Scavino, tweeted it out after Trump said it, though, so if it wasn’t official campaign policy before, I guess it is now.

Is it worth critiquing this? Krauthammer’s ready to give up on arguing against Trump policies, partly because they’re all obviously political panders rather than serious proposals and partly because pointing out that the policy is dumb and/or illegal only seems to make Trump fans want to spite the critic by embracing the idea more tightly. Besides, anyone who’s been following the last few years of Obama’s executive overreach already sees the problems here. For starters, cop-killer prosecutions usually fall under state, not federal, jurisdiction. Nineteen states have abolished the death penalty entirely, including Trump’s home state of New York. The idea that the president can dictate to a state how it should punish its criminals is a kick in the nuts to federalism so sharp that even Obama wouldn’t try it.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, sentencing is a matter of congressional legislation, not presidential decree. Maybe Congress could set some kind of default of death in cases where an FBI agent is murdered, with the burden falling on the defendant to explain why it isn’t merited. Legal eagles would know better than I about that, but my hunch is that courts would look coldly at a law that tips the scales towards death after a guilty verdict rather than allowing the jury to consider aggravating and mitigating factors prevented by the two sides. The most President Trump could do legally on his own, if I’m not mistaken, is to order the DOJ to seek death in any trial where the defendant is charged with a capital offense. But even that would meet some resistance. The DOJ answers to the president but they’re also supposed to be insulated from political pressure. What Trump’s suggesting is that he’d take away their prosecutorial discretion (kind of like Obama did with executive amnesty!) and order them to choose a particular sentence in a certain class of cases. And not just any cases but the ones with the most at stake for the defendant.

That’s the best-case scenario of what he’s proposing. The worst case, depending on how seriously you take him when he says “the death penalty is going to happen,” is that he wants to take sentencing out of the hands of juries altogether in cop-killing cases and put it in his own hands. The jury thinks there are reasons to sentence this cop-killer to life? Too bad. President Trump has spoken. Pretty sure courts would be cool to that idea too.

But what does it matter? You know how this will go now. Jonah Goldberg explained it the other day:

Trump says something indefensible, half-baked, or otherwise ridiculous. He then walks it back slightly or — as he did with taking-in Syrian refugees — entirely. His defenders take the revised version of what he said at face value, add in a serious point or two that Trump has not actually made, and then make it sound like his critics are the unreasonable ones.

A reporter will ask him about this in their next interview and he’ll say, “Well, if I can’t order the death penalty, I’ll recommend it.” And Trump fans will say, “See? He was never talking about mandating it!” And then Rush will do 20 minutes on that day’s show about what a master media manipulator Trump is and how this affront to federalism and separation of powers is a drop in the bucket compared to what Obama’s guilty of.

Exit question: How often do DAs in states where the death penalty is legal decide not to seek death in cases where a cop is murdered? Pretty rarely, no? Why do we need President Trump to order a policy that’s already basically in effect?


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Comments

If one Black man assaulted 36 cops it’d be all over this site but one White cop raping 36 Black women. Not a peep. Guess it doesn’t fit the narrative that all cops are good and Black people are simply pulling the race card when they mention abuse. Imagine the 35th lady he raped. I bet if she was here you’d all accuse her of playing the race card. Smh.

Politricks on December 11, 2015 at 4:06 PM

Incredibly shocking-not-shocking newsflash: Daniel Holtzclaw is not white.

vlad martel on December 11, 2015 at 10:09 PM

What if a police officer kills a police officer? And then trump’s mandatory policy kills the guilty police officer? Does trump get the death penalty for killing a (albeit guilty) cop? America deserves answers!

triple on December 11, 2015 at 11:40 PM

Trump is a stalking horse for Hillary. He’s in the race to get Hillary elected. He will not get the nomination (everything he’s saying is meant to preclude that), and then he will go 3rd party.

Bill has engineered ’92 (and ’96) all over again. Well played, sir.

spmat on December 12, 2015 at 12:02 AM

Yeah, this isn’t happening. What, is he going to personally put them on trial himself?

WestVirginiaRebel on December 12, 2015 at 1:17 AM

Why? All humans have the liberty of movement. They are allowed to move into your house.

blink on December 12, 2015 at 1:11 AM

Private property, man.

TBSchemer on December 12, 2015 at 1:46 AM

I see there is no article on Hotair.com about Daniel Holtzclaw the Oklahoma cop just found guilty of raping 13 Black women over a 6 month period (He was accused of quite a bit more).

Politricks on December 11, 2015 at 2:09 PM

Okay, picture the article. Thumbnail on the front page. Headline: “OK cop convicted of multiple counts of rape.” 2nd line under the thumbnail: “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

Okay, now what remains to be said in the article that hasn’t already been said by the 2 sentences above and below the thumbnail? You see? I’m glad the guy’s convicted, I wish they’d put him in the general population… but it doesn’t work as an article.

his actions before and after he was caught shows a glimpse into the mind of a police officer in these times.

So you’re saying all cops are just like him. The others just haven’t been caught yet. And you’re accusing others of bigotry?

First off he targeted poor Black Women because he believed none would have the capacity to stand up to him and report him.

How is that not equally true of anyone else who is poor? And for that matter, what does what he believed have to do with any of it? He believed he could commit multiple rapes and get away with it, and he was proven wrong, so why should anyone put stock in his opinions?

and he believed if they did report him no one would believe him which is obvious by the support he received from the public, his family and the police department.

And exactly what is wrong with that? The crimes took place over a 6 month period, part of which was June 2014. In other words, this took place between the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, when the news was full of black people making outrageous claims of abuse by non-black police officers, and being violent when they didn’t get their way. Given that, unless you begin your assessment of things by assuming he must be guilty of everything he’s accused of because he’s white (even though he isn’t, he’s Asian/Pacific Islander… but who cares, right? He can be a “white Asian” just like Zimmerman was a “white hispanic.”), what possible reason is there not to assume that he is innocent until proven guilty and supporting him against what appears to be just another race based smear campaign by black people against police? At least until the evidence is in?

Where is that support now? And by contrast, how many people support “justice” for the “murder” of Michael Brown, a man who was determined by a grand jury to have been killed in self-defense by the cop he was assaulting at the time?

Maybe #BLM protesters should have read about the boy who cried wolf.

Again it’s because he figured an old white jury wouldn’t convict him.

And again, he was dead wrong. And…?

How many officers are caught on video assaulting a subject and still getting off?

I don’t know. Feel free to provide links.

These things show the lack of value cops place on Black lives.

Politricks on December 11, 2015 at 3:53 PM

No, these things show the lack of value he expected cops to place on black lives. And yet again, he was quite obviously wrong. But you just cuddle up to your sense of grievance like it was a teddy bear, huh?

BTW, from CNN:

“Your offenses committed against women in our community constitute the greatest abuse of police authority I have witnessed in my 37 years as a member of this agency,” Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty wrote in the termination letter.

Very supportive, huh?

Also this scumbag raped 36 women and was only found guilty of raping 13 of them. That’s a lot of Black women brutalized by those supposed to protect and serve who still are left with out justice.

So you don’t think the whole “burden of proof” and “evidentiary standard” things should apply if the accuser is black?

Also from CNN:

Prater, the district attorney, said that the jurors’ decision not to convict the former police officer on half of the counts against him didn’t necessarily mean they didn’t believe some of the women.

“It may mean that we didn’t meet our burden (of proof) in those counts,” he said.

And what is your issue with that again?

Imagine the 35th lady he raped. I bet if she was here you’d all accuse her of playing the race card. Smh.

Politricks on December 11, 2015 at 4:06 PM

No, that would be you that’s playing the race card.

GrumpyOldFart on December 12, 2015 at 10:42 AM

Art of the Deal on every issue (I don’t mean that as a criticism)…pardon the interruption..sorry I am interjecting my life here for a minute. Fellow conservative and Hotair fan. I am battling Stage 4 Lymphoma and my wife is physically disabled who now needs back surgery. To say we are struggling is an understatement. I set up a gofundme site last year to raise funds for my treatment and research. Unfortunately, my situation is worse. If you could donate or spread the word, I would appreciate it. Merry Christmas!
http://www.gofundme.com/crushlymphoma

bigsavvy on December 12, 2015 at 10:49 AM

No, that would be you that’s playing the race card.

GrumpyOldFart on December 12, 2015 at 10:42 AM

The fact that the left-wing media is portraying the cop as white, when he obviously isn’t, does make this story worth covering now.

vlad martel on December 12, 2015 at 11:57 AM

But you said that all humans of the liberty of movement. Are you NOW saying that there can be limitations on that liberty? Is that what you’re saying?

blink on December 12, 2015 at 12:56 PM

Weird how borders are important all of a sudden.

HumpBot Salvation on December 12, 2015 at 5:51 PM