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June 12, 2024

Shelby County – Williams Criminal Case – The Rest Of The Story – Part III

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 13, 2023

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

Soley for the purpose of education on the subject matter raised regarding dual sovereignty, we wanted to ensure additional information shared by the unknown author was included in this article, along with some other points that were either overlooked or ignored.  We encourage everyone to read the previous articles on this matter at the links here, and here.

A similar case to Williams was the Paul Manifort case.  Manifort was convicted and sentenced to prison for seven years by the federal courts. He was released to home confinement during COVID, much like Williams.  Manifort was also pardoned by the President.  The New York Manhattan DA brought state charges against him for basically the same crimes and the state’s high court rejected those charges and pointed to the Double Jeopardy provision in their state law. After that ruling, the legislature removed what they called the Double Jeopardy loophole.

“This so-called ‘loophole’ is actually anything but,” Assemb. Edward Ra (R-Franklin Square) said Wednesday. “It was a rather conscious decision of the New York State Legislature a century ago after the U.S. Supreme Court decided on the dual-sovereignty doctrine … Even the New York Civil Liberties Union opposed this bill.” (emphasis added – source).

The New York case is a direct parallel to Illinois law and points to such a prosecution of Williams would not be on solid footing as the anonymous author would have us believe.

The author cited Bartkus V Illinois 359 US 121 (1959) to bolster their opinion.  We thank them for bringing that case to the forefront as we also read that case. Our first question is, did the author shepardize the case and do they understand what “Dicta” is?  The Bartkus case was not a dual sovereignty case before the court but rather a fifth amendment and due process case.  We also note that in that case the person in question was acquitted in the Federal court, which is not the case in the Williams case being discussed. These are some of the noteworthy comments from the documents the anonymous author pointed to.

“In 1969, the constitutionality of the Supreme Court’s dual sovereignty doctrine was called into question following the Court’s decision in Benton v. Maryland that Fifth Amendment double jeopardy protection was binding upon the states” (source document)

“At most, Bartkus acknowledged that a successive federal prosecution would raise a double jeopardy question. Yet it did not begin to analyze, much less answer, that question. In the end, then, Bartkus is no more help to Denezpi than the other cases on which he relies.” (source document)

“Therefore, the validity of the dual sovereignty doctrine rests on the Court’s interpretation of the concept of federalism and its efficient administration of justice justifications.” (source document)

“The dual sovereignty doctrine regarding successive state and federal prosecutions as presently applied is repugnant to the spirit of the constitutional protections guaranteed by the Double Jeopardy Clause. The principle of dual sovereignty lacks foundation in the text, history and structure of the Bill of Rights. Moreover, the policy rationale and the precedents upon which the Court has upheld the doctrine have been undermined.” (source document)

It is clear to us, the issue of dual sovereignty is one that demands a very deep legal analysis of the specific facts of the case in question. Shortly after the Bartkus case, in 1963, this critique of the case and another was written.  The author did not link to that document. Those willing to read will find it is filled with information that makes it clear, the issue is not decided on a simple black-and-white basis but actually requires a legal analysis of all the facts in any specific case.

A question was raised regarding our approach to this matter and if it would have been the same for the prior two State Attorneys.  Our approach to this matter is no different than any other.  We actually speak to the people making the decisions, gather applicable public records on the subject, and then publish those findings for the people to read and draw their own conclusions based on the information.

We find it troubling that a person has chosen to devote so much time on social media to question the decisions of seasoned prosecutors but has yet to make one phone call to the very person who made the decision to dismiss the case.  For the record, I intentionally said “seasoned prosecutors” because I am confident that will trigger a fair number of people who continue to claim the current SA has no background or history in prosecuting cases, which is totally false.

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