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A retired federal judge says Judge Cannon appears to show 'favoritism' toward Trump

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  hallux  •  4 weeks ago  •  32 comments

By:   Scott Detrow, Tyler Bartlam - NPR

A retired federal judge says Judge Cannon appears to show 'favoritism' toward Trump

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, continues to make decisions that puzzle many legal observers.

Last month, Cannon delayed the   start of the trial indefinitely . She's taken months to make   routine procedural decisions .

Trump is charged with taking classified and top-secret material with him to Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House and then taking part in a conspiracy to hide documents from federal investigators.

The   Trump's Trials   team wanted to know how someone who has served on the federal bench views Cannon’s decisions, so we called retired federal Judge Shira Scheindlin. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, she served as a federal judge for over two decades.




NPR reached out to Judge Cannon’s office for a response and received a statement from her court that their judges do not comment on pending cases.

Interview highlights


Scott Detrow:   What is the main thing that has stood out to you about how Judge Cannon has handled this case, as you've observed?

Shira Scheindlin:   The main thing that stood out to me is how she has constantly caused delay in the case instead of moving it forward. She's done that in, I would say, two ways. One is her inability to rule in an efficient manner. She holds onto motions. She keeps them pending. She can't seem to decide things. Most experienced judges, which of course I considered myself after 27 years, try to know which motions really require further consideration and argument and which, you know, instinctively you could say frankly, one word: denied. And you can rule from the bench.

The second thing that stands out to me is what appears to me to be her dislike of the government and her favoritism toward the defense. I'm not saying that that's going to, in the end, determine how she rules on everything, but she seems to have a visceral dislike of Jack Smith and his team. She's constantly criticizing them. She's constantly being sharp and sarcastic with them, and she almost never treats the defense that way.

Detrow:  I want to ask about the decision-making — the first thing you talked about. Because a lot has been said in this trial that's about classified documents, about the fact that classified documents cases are going to take longer than other types of cases because there are big weighted questions that have to be sorted through in terms of the procedure and how things are going to be introduced in the eventual trial. You're saying it's beyond that scope — that it's just a lot of basic questions coming her way that she has not answered, that you think is striking?

Scheindlin:   I am saying that when you have a case that involves highly classified documents, it is more complex to review those documents. They have to be done in a safe space. So it's complicated, I understand that. But that's not a full defense of how long it's taking her to move this case forward. While it is complicated, it's been done many times. She's just been inefficient.

Detrow:   We all know that President Trump's legal strategy involves delaying this case with the hope that, if he's elected president again, he would be able to end the case against him. From everything you've seen, do you have a gut feeling as to whether or not this is an experience issue with Judge Cannon or whether or not this is a finger on the scale, to try to help those delays?

Scheindlin:   I'm not so sure that those are two different choices. They may be combined in her mind. I think she is inexperienced and I think it makes her insecure in her rulings. She's tentative. But the motivation may be mixed in with intentionally delaying enough to make sure this doesn't go before the election. I'm not saying there's a bad motive for that. There have been some commentators who say, you know, if he's president, he'll elevate her to a higher court and all that. I don't see that that would look like a quid pro quo.

But maybe she just says, "This can wait until after the election. I don't want this to affect the election, so I'm going to take my time." It may be intentional — I don't have a sense of that — but I do have a sense that she's inexperienced and insecure.  

Detrow:   What do you think the appropriate way is to treat a criminal defendant in your courtroom who's a former president of the United States and is running for president again? Do you think a judge in this position should be thinking about the fact that there is an election? And do the American people deserve a verdict before that election, or is that just something that's not material in a criminal courtroom to you?


Scheindlin:   I don't think it's material to me. I think you do your job. So when I think of   Judge Merchan , I don't think he was trying to rush it to get it done before the election so the electorate would know whether this guy is a felon or not a felon. And I'm not sure he's intentionally going slow to avoid the public knowing. It's just that one knows how to run a criminal trial because he's experienced and a good, organized judge, and one seems to not. But that said, you never know what's in the back of somebody’s mind. I think it's more a matter of knowing how to run a complex trial.

Detrow:  I'm wondering how worried you are at this moment about the rule of law in this country and the different ways it's being attacked from all directions. You have a former president  saying it's a rigged system , it's a political system, that people are trying to charge him with crimes to prevent him from being president. You have a lot of liberal leaning voters in this country who are deeply cynical about the U.S. Supreme Court. You have a president's son just  convicted in another federal courthouse  and then all sorts of Republican criticism there. I feel like every direction you're coming from, there are serious, real critiques about the rule of law in this country, right or wrong. And I'm wondering how worried you are, in this country that's based on the rule of law, about all of these partisan criticisms at this moment?

Scheindlin:  I think the partisan criticism has affected the public's perception of the validity of the court system. I think they've lost a lot of faith in this U.S. Supreme Court because of what has been disclosed about  Justice Alito  and  Justice Thomas . But the system has actually worked quite well in the sense of the trial on the hush money case and in the Hunter Biden case. I might not have agreed with either outcome, but the jury system worked and made a decision and everybody is treated the same and that's a good thing, whether your last name is Biden or your last name is Trump.


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Hallux
PhD Principal
1  seeder  Hallux    4 weeks ago

No, justice is not 2-tiered, it's multi-tiered and rancid with confusion.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Hallux @1    4 weeks ago

You got that right, Judge Merchan being a recent best example of showing downright favoritism for the Bragg's prosecution of Trump.

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1    4 weeks ago

Merchan was not confused, for that lay the blame at Trump and his obsequious lawyers. There have been far too many legal failures on Trump's side for you to wilfully ignore.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.2    4 weeks ago

Nonsense

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
1.1.4  Ronin2  replied to  Hallux @1.1.1    4 weeks ago

You are correct, "Merchan was not confused" he was a partisan POS that refused to uphold any semblance of the law or courtroom decorum.

The judge called out Trump’s lawyer for not speaking up :

Adult film actor  Stormy Daniels  went into graphic detail about her alleged sexual encounter with former  President Trump  while testifying in his hush money trial.

 

At the end of Thursday’s proceedings, Trump’s lawyers demanded a mistrial because of how salacious her depiction was. Well, Judge  Juan Merchan  denied that request, but scolded Trump attorney  Susan Necheles  for not objecting when prosecutors asked Daniels whether Trump wore a condom.

 

From Judge Merchan: “I agree, that shouldn’t have come out. I wish those questions hadn’t been asked, and I wish those answers hadn’t been given. …  But for the life of me, I don’t know why Ms. Necheles didn’t object. Why on earth she wouldn’t object to a mention of a condom, I don’t understand.”

She did object- Merchan over ruled her- and did so several other times as well.

A furious   Judge Juan Merchan   cleared his Manhattan courtroom of jurors, spectators, and the press Monday afternoon to chastise a key defense witness for   Donald Trump   after he made an exasperated comment about the judge's rulings.

The fireworks came shortly after the prosecution rested its case in Trump's historic hush money criminal trial.

Lawyer   Robert Costello   muttered "Geez!" after Merchan sustained several prosecution objections to his testimony. When Merchan confronted Costello about his breach of basic courtroom decorum, Costello told the court stenographer to "strike it" from the record − something only the judge has the power to do.

Merchan excused the jurors and began scolding Costello, a former federal prosecutor and veteran defense attorney, and then asked: "Are you staring me down right now?" The judge then ordered the entire courtroom cleared for a short time.

Merchan is the picture of a calm and rational judge./S

Former President Trump’s   legal team was slated to call on a former commissioner of the Federal Election Commission to testify in the NY v. Trump case, but the expert’s testimony was not heard after the presiding judge curbed the scope of what he could discuss before the jury. 

"Judge Merchan has so restricted my testimony that defense has decided not to call me. Now, it’s elementary that the judge instructs the jury on the law, so I understand his reluctance," former FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith posted on X on Monday. 

"But the Federal Election Campaign Act is very complex. Even Antonin Scalia – a pretty smart guy, even you hate him – once said ‘this [campaign finance] law is so intricate that I can’t figure it out.’ Picture a jury in a product liability case trying to figure out if a complex machine was negligently designed, based only on a boilerplate recitation of the general definition of ‘negligence.’ They’d be lost without knowing technology & industry norms," he continued.

Smith is an election law expert who Trump has called the "Rolls-Royce" of experts in his field, but he will not testify after Judge Juan Merchan ruled that Smith could speak before the court on the basic definitions surrounding election law but not expand beyond that scope. 

Merchan is no expert in federal election laws. So of course he sure as hell didn't want someone testifying who was. It would have completely destroyed the prosecution's case.

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
1.1.5  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.2    4 weeks ago
Too many reversible errors for the verdict to stand.

We shall see, but I would not hang my hat on wishful 'Heritage' thinking.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.6  devangelical  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.4    4 weeks ago
Stormy Daniels  went into graphic detail about her alleged sexual encounter with former  President Trump

the great white maga savior got his mushroom sauteed for 90 seconds...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Hallux @1    4 weeks ago

Those of us Canadians who are or have been involved with the workings of the legal system thank God that the magistrates, judges and Justices in Canada have been and are squeeky clean, absolutely angels in comparison with the corruption and bias of so many of those in America.  If any were proved to have committed the least degree of such bias or corruption they would be booted out of the whole legal system immediately, and in all my years of practice I never heard of one such incident.  Of course the bias and corruption are defended by those who are biased on whichever side is accused, as you can see right here on NT.  Bias bias bias bias.....

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2  Sean Treacy    4 weeks ago

Lol.  The judges can’t be questioned or you hate the rule of law era lasted about three weeks.

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
2.1  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    4 weeks ago

Or one just tosses 'lawfare' at everything in some vapid attempt at revelency. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Hallux @2.1    4 weeks ago

the rocket circuit already has a judge familiarizing themself with the case for when she's taken off it...

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
3  Ronin2    4 weeks ago

So she isn't following the leftist script of rushing to judgement and making horrendous decisions.

She is actually holding the federal government accountable for violating the same procedures of handling classified information they are charging Trump with. She is actually looking at if Smith was even appointed legally by Garland.

But Meese, Calabresi, and Lawson argue that Garland lacked the power to appoint Smith because the attorney general has no authority to appoint a “private citizen to receive extraordinary criminal law enforcement power under the title of Special Counsel.”

First, they point out that there is no federal statute establishing an “Office of Special Counsel in DOJ.” Second, even if one ignores the absence of such a specific statute, there is also no statute authorizing the “Attorney General, rather than the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint such a Special Counsel.”

The special counsel, they note, has more power that any of the 94 U.S. Attorneys who prosecute cases across the country. Their authority is limited to the jurisdictions in which they are appointed. Moreover, U.S. Attorneys are nominated by the president and have to be approved by the Senate under the  Appointments Clause  in Section 2 of Article II of the Constitution.

Yet Jack Smith has nationwide authority to pursue his prosecutions, and indeed has indicted Trump in two separate jurisdictions (D.C. and Florida), and was neither nominated by the president nor confirmed by the Senate. This, according to the amicus brief, violates basic constitutional requirements.

The former attorney general and his colleagues acknowledge “there are times when the appointment of a Special Counsel is appropriate.” But federal “statutes and the Constitution” only allow such appointments through “the use of existing United States Attorneys.” They cite the appointments as special counsels of Patrick Fitzgerald, Rod Rosenstein, John Huber, and John Durham, all of whom were Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys at the time of their appointments, as examples of valid and lawful appointments.

But what the law and the Constitution “do not allow,” argues the brief, “is for the Attorney General to appoint a private citizen, who has never been confirmed by the Senate, as a substitute United States Attorney under the title ‘Special Counsel.’” “Under the Appointments Clause, inferior officers can be appointed by department heads only if Congress so directs by statute,” and there is no such statute giving Attorney General Merrick Garland such authority to appoint an “inferior officer” like the special counsel.

Meese and the law professors argue that regulations that were promulgated by former Attorney General Janet Reno after the Independent Counsel law lapsed and was not renewed, which allow the appointment of someone who is not a federal employee as a special counsel, are unconstitutional and were beyond her power to create. The attorney general, they say, can appoint a private citizen to  assist  a U.S. Attorney acting as a special counsel, but not to replace him.

We all know the TDS driven want Trump tried and convicted. Legality doesn't matter to them.

Trump is entitled to the same protections under the Constitution as everyone else. Including the appeals process.

Maybe if Democrats would actually start following the Constitution and our laws shit like this wouldn't happen.

SSDD for Democrats/leftists.

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
3.1  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Ronin2 @3    4 weeks ago

Yes, yes, Hans von Spakovsky being a fervent parrot is inline for a plush job in any 'future' Trump administration.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
3.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  Hallux @3.1    4 weeks ago

You think Merchan hasn't been moved up the Democrat ranks for running a partisan kangaroo court?

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
3.1.2  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Ronin2 @3.1.1    4 weeks ago

Better him than the Spas guy.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4  Trout Giggles    4 weeks ago

She's in his back pocket. She's looking for a higher court appointment

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
5  bugsy    4 weeks ago

Seems leftists don't like it when rulings don't go their way. Hence trying to stack the SC with far leftists so they would never lose another case. 

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
5.1  seeder  Hallux  replied to  bugsy @5    4 weeks ago
Hence trying to stack the SC with far leftists so they would never lose another case. 

I haven't noticed any stacking that did not have Trump's and McConnell's fingerprints all over it.

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
5.1.1  bugsy  replied to  Hallux @5.1    4 weeks ago
I haven't noticed any stacking that did not have Trump's and McConnell's fingerprints all over it.

First, I would like for you to look up the definition of "stacking".

Second, point out the proof of which you claim.[]

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
5.1.2  seeder  Hallux  replied to  bugsy @5.1.1    4 weeks ago

I will respond simply as it behooves nothing to go into detail ... here we go: If SCOTUS was 6-3 democrat choices you would be bitching about a stacked court.

Feel free to insert one of your standard responses ... @!@

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
5.1.3  bugsy  replied to  Hallux @5.1.2    4 weeks ago
If SCOTUS was 6-3 democrat choices you would be bitching about a stacked court.

No, because I know the definition of stacked.

Now, for one of my "standard responses"

You are wrong yet again.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  Hallux @5.1    4 weeks ago

Cockroaches.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
5.1.5  Tessylo  replied to  Tessylo @5.1.4    4 weeks ago

every single right wing extremist on the court - plus their enablers McConnell and #34 - lifelong cockroach

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
5.1.6  seeder  Hallux  replied to  bugsy @5.1.3    4 weeks ago
No, because I know the definition of stacked.

Ah, something you share with Trump, how Stormy of you both.

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
5.1.7  bugsy  replied to  Hallux @5.1.6    4 weeks ago

[]

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
5.1.8  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Tessylo @5.1.5    4 weeks ago

[]

 
 
 
Split Personality
Professor Guide
5.1.9  Split Personality  replied to  bugsy @5.1.3    4 weeks ago

The Court has had a 5-4 conservative balance for 90 years.

I can't really remember Eisenhower but every POTUS in my long life time has diligently tried to maintain that balance until Trump.  Republicans and Democrats alike nominating moderates because they all realized that a balanced approach will prolong the Republic.  The Senate routinely weeded out the outliers and liars.

A system of checks and balances as opposed to being stacked by like minded ideologies that will tear down and reverse decades of moderate jurisprudence, just "because".

Roberts get it.

You do not.

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
5.1.10  bugsy  replied to  Split Personality @5.1.9    4 weeks ago
The Court has had a 5-4 conservative balance for 90 years.

So what? 

From someone famous recently

"Elections have consequences"

"You do not."

Only the far left wing mind tries to read the mind of another.

Look at the last sentence in 5.1.3

It is for you too.

 
 
 
Split Personality
Professor Guide
5.1.11  Split Personality  replied to  bugsy @5.1.10    3 weeks ago

You have shoveled that stupid retort here for years,

many times in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I'll let you know when I give shit about your very high opinion of your own thoughts.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
6  evilone    4 weeks ago

How about we all take these talking head opinions with a little salt and let the system play itself out. If Merchan did wrong, the verdict will be overturned. If Cannon is showing too much favoritism to Trump, then Smith can appeal rulings too. Everyone places way too much emphasis on the partisan bubble reports.

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
6.1  bugsy  replied to  evilone @6    4 weeks ago
How about we all take these talking head opinions with a little salt and let the system play itself out. If Merchan did wrong, the verdict will be overturned. If Cannon is showing too much favoritism to Trump, then Smith can appeal rulings too. Everyone places way too much emphasis on the partisan bubble reports.

Amen

 
 

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