Donald Trump says he has the ‘legal right’ to interfere in criminal cases

On the 15th February 2020 ABC/Reuters reported

United States President Donald Trump says he has “the legal right” to interfere in criminal cases, which has raised questions about the independence of the American judicial system.

In the US, the executive, judiciary and legislature are supposed to be independent of each other, to ensure there are enough checks and balances to prevent an abuse of power by the Government of the day. 

But Mr Trump’s criticism of the judge, jury and prosecutors in the criminal case of his long-time adviser Roger Stone has thrown this balance into question. 

This happened days after the US Justice Department overruled its prosecutors’ recommendation that Mr Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison, which prompted all four case prosecutors to resign in apparent protest.

Read Full Article in ABC News

Editors Note: Does this raise the possibility of Trump intervening in the case against Julian Assange if he were to be deported to the United States?

Editors Reflections:

  • Sondergericht (plural: Sondergerichte) was a German “special court”. After taking power in 1933, the Nazis quickly moved to remove internal opposition to the Nazi regime in Germany. The legal system became one of many tools for this aim and the Nazis gradually supplanted the normal justice system with political courts with wide-ranging powers. The function of the special courts was to intimidate the German public, but as they expanded their scope and took over roles previously done by ordinary courts such as Amtsgerichte this function became diluted.
  • Sydney Criminal Lawyer’s write “When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, he wasn’t about to let the judiciary get in the way of his aspirations for absolute power . . . After gaining power, Hitler took it upon himself to ‘coordinate’ the judicial system in order to ensure it was in line with Nazi ideals and objectives. No longer were courts independent, or a check against government abuses of power – they quickly became just another mechanism for Hitler to consolidate his dictatorship.
  • Holocaust Museum on Law And Justice in the Third Reich