Criminalizing conversations that have nothing, even remotely, to do with someone else’s involvement in a federal crime ... creates a slippery slope.
(PRWEB) May 21, 2015
Certiorari Printer Supreme Court Press has named Baumgartner v. United States, Supreme Court Docket No. 14-1071, to be its Petition of the Month(TM). According to the petition filed by Donald Bosch and Ann Short of the Bosch Law Firm, for nearly 19 years, Mr. Baumgartner was a Knox County, Tennessee criminal judge. He became addicted to prescription drugs, was convicted of official misconduct, and lost his position on the Tennessee bench (Tennessee Docket No M2011-00704-CJ-CJO-CJ). Federal prosecutors then charged him under federal law for misprision (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Case No 3:12-CR-60). Specifically, they alleged that character references he made to help a person, whom he knew to be a drug addict, were acts of concealment, despite the fact that they were not made to law enforcement. Mr. Baumgartner challenges this conviction on First Amendment grounds and argues that his speech to a private person has no concealing affect, since it did not happen in the context of a criminal investigation.
According to the petition, “Criminalizing conversations that have nothing, even remotely, to do with someone else’s involvement in a federal crime—conversations that cannot possibly hinder federal law enforcement efforts or impugn the integrity of government processes. The question is not whether criminalizing these conversations creates a slippery slope but, instead, just how steep is this slope.”
The Baumgartner petition delves into the history of the misprision statute, researching over 600 misprision cases. As the document states, “(Of the 600 cases) With the exception of three or four instances, the misrepresentations were made to federal authority figures, which, of course, did not occur in Mr. Baumgartner’s case.” The petition goes on to note that there is a void in Supreme Court jurisprudence on misprision. The Supreme Court filing continues, “The Supreme Court has mentioned misprision of felony, somewhat in passing, in three decisions.”
The Bosch Law Firm was kind to offer words of praise for their experience with the Supreme Court Press. Ms. Short states, "We were impressed and totally satisfied with the experience working with the Supreme Court Press . . . It was liberating not to worry about the dozens of intricate formatting and procedural rules that must be followed before the Supreme Court will accept a filing. We could focus on developing persuasive arguments and explaining why a writ of certiorari should be granted . . . The draft markup we received thankfully caught a few errors that we missed. Comments within the draft markup were relevant, and although we did not adopt all the suggestions, many of them convinced us to change certain language and emphasis." To read more about the interview with Mr. Bosch and Ms. Short, follow this link:http:// http://www.supremecourtpress.com/Petition-of-the-Month/Baumgartner-Petition-May-2015.html
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