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April 16, 2020


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Here's a topical question.

Assume arguendo that a president of the United States issues blanket pardons to a swathe of federal office holders, family and cronies covering his period in office. To what extent can their activities while in federal office or in connection with Federal programs be prosecuted under state law - say, because "predicate acts" are crimes (misdemeanour or felony) under state law and the state has jurisdiction because, say they happened in or were connected with that state.


I'd add that in answering that question, one should consider the differences between:

• an act falling within and authorised by a federal official's role, and an unauthorised act;

• the difference between "removal" and "removable offences" and state offences that are quash-able.

An interesting, if dated, article on this subject from 1928, when it was a hot topic due to enforcement of prohibition is:

John S. Strayhorn Jr., The Immunity of Federal Officers from State Prosecutions, 6 N.C. L. Rev. 123 (1928).
Available at:

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