Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Did Indictment Invade Free Speech Rights?

TheSCOTUS Blog, the US Supreme Court, reporting today on either an interesting free speech issue or a crooked politician's last desperate attempt to get back into office. Has to do with Rep. Jefferson and this is what he is arguing:

The petition raises this question: “Whether the indictment of a Member of Congress, although facially valid, should be dismissed when evidence privileged under the Speech or Debate Clause was used in the grand jury to obtain the indictment.”

That Clause, the petition asserts, creates an “absolute privilege” against use of legislative activities as a basis for action against a lawmaker in Congress. The two Supreme Court precedents on grand jury evidence — Costello v. U.S. in 1956 and U.S. v. Calandra in 1974 — should not apply when evidence is derived from protected legislative activity, the petition argues.

Jefferson is set to go on trial May 26 in Alexandria, Va., federal court, on a 16-count indictment. Read the whole story here. First amendment issues are really intriguing. This could be an interesting one.

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