Cheney and Gonzales Indicted…by Texas State Court

It seems that a South Texas grand jury has indicted Messers Cheney and Gonzales.

CNN, Cheney, Gonzales indicted for alleged prisoner abuse: Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been indicted on separate charges related to alleged prisoner abuse in federal detention centers, Willacy County, Texas, District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra told CNN Tuesday.

The indictment stems from Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group — an investment management company that reportedly has interests in the prison companies in charge of the detention centers, according to The Associated Press. It also charges Gonzales halted an investigation into abuse at the detention centers while he was attorney general.

You might think there are some federalism issues here. And there are. You might think there are some qualified/absolute immunity issues here, and there are. (Cf. In re Neagle, 135 U.S. 1 (1890) (creating federal officer immunity defense.)) But what you might not know is that there's a federal removal statute that deals with state criminal prosecutions, 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1):

§ 1442. Federal officers or agencies sued or prosecuted

(a) A civil action or criminal prosecution commenced in a State court against any of the following may be removed by them to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place wherein it is pending:

(1) The United States or any agency thereof or any officer (or any person acting under that officer) of the United States or of any agency thereof, sued in an official or individual capacity for any act under color of such office or on account of any right, title or authority claimed under any Act of Congress for the apprehension or punishment of criminals or the collection of the revenue.

So step one will be a removal to the federal District Court.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court approved the constitutionality of criminal removal jurisdiction in Tennessee v. Davis, 100 U.S. 257 (1880), and discussed the modern statute in Mesa v. California, 489 U.S. 121 (1989), where the court concluded that “Federal officer removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a) must be predicated upon averment of a federal defense.” (In other words, the defendant must be prepared to argue that acts underlying the charges were performed pursuant to his federal authority.)

Note that if the case is removed, state law continues to govern the substantive rules pertaining to the offense — but federal law supplies the procedural rules.

This entry was posted in Law: Criminal Law. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Cheney and Gonzales Indicted…by Texas State Court

  1. Pete says:

    Can the president issue a pardon for a state offense tried in a federal court?

  2. Michael says:

    I don’t think so, but it’s a great question.

  3. richard roe says:

    Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

    The Cheney/Bush administration has committed so many crimes it boggles the mind. Istill think these gangsters will get away with their crimes of the century, though.

  4. arthur says:

    Does the federal prosecutor take over after the criminal case is removed?

  5. Michael says:

    I can’t see why s/he would. The state prosecutor may thus be at some disadvantage, having to adapt to a new and unfamiliar system. If the feds approved of the case the state guys might beable to get someone seconded to them from the US Atty’s office to help out. But that is not likely here, even in an Obama administration, given the nature of the charges.

    Meanwhile, I’ve read that the charges would have to be approved by the state court judge before they went anywhere, and that’s not a done deal or mere formality. So none of this may happen.

  6. Andrew Yu-Jen Wang says:

    George W. Bush is indeed hated and despised. Bush may not be “self-aware” relative to his narcissistic personality disorder. A lot of mentally ill people are oblivious and/or in denial of their mental illness. But Bush is probably aware that he has psychological problems. Bush may quibble over semantics or interpretations or opinions about whether it would be appropriate or fair to say that he has psychological problems of “clinical significance.”

    George W. Bush is gravely mentally ill and needs help.

    It is on the Internet: people are “counting the days til Bush leaves office.”

    The American people can hardly wait til Bush leaves office. The presidency of Bush has been a nightmare for the American people and for the world. The narcissistic personality disorder of Bush has certainly contributed to what is almost his inability to do anything right.

    The above is also true of Richard B. Cheney.

    Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
    B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

  7. Randon says:

    I address you as “Dr.” as I presume you are a doctor of psychology or psychiatry given your astute ability to diagnose a patient you have never examined. Nonetheless, it is apparent from your blog that you have objectively and fairly examined the Evil One from afar and are no doubt qualified to render a medical opinion.*

    We of the Party need more doctors like you. As you are no doubt aware, michael has correctly promoted the Fairness Doctrine on this blog, which is just one example of how the Party intends to re-educate the masses. In some stubborn cases (where simple intimidation and enlightened persuasion does not suffice), the Party will require doctors like you to declare persons insane. This will mean less resistance when such persons are rounded up for re-education.

    We also hope that you will become active in our efforts to dissuade the enemies of the Mighty O from spreading rumors that the Mighty O has an oedipal complex. You see, enemies of the Mighty O have suggested his unstable childhood and paternal relations contributed negatively to his personality today. They argue that an absent father figure and repeated separation from his mother “lead to patterns of idealized control and self-sufficiency.” They are skeptical in Mighty O’s statements that He will cure the country and the world of all its problems. Dr. Wang, you are clearly sane and know that the Mighty O is a being of true greatness. Therefore use your considerable medical knowledge and reputation to dispel these baseless rumors about the Mighty O.

    All Hail the Mighty O!

    * Even if you are not an actual doctor, we of the Party approve your approach of calling your political opponents insane and accusing them of mental illness. It is a tactic oft employed by commentators on this blog with great persuasive success.**

    ** The Party praises michael for hosting his Enlightened blog and support of the Mighty O

  8. Joe1 says:

    Bill Frist diagnosed Terry Schiavo without a personal visit; What’s your point?

  9. Go Democrats says:


    Although I am unsure if you are totally stable yourself, do NOT forget that Big michael himself wanted the man who cheated on his wife while she was sick from cancer to be president. Err hum… Edwards.

    Don’t praise the judgment of someone who endorsed a candidate who was a cheater, a whiner, and who failed to help Kerry carry any Southern state in the 2004 election, but somehow was going to do it this time around. Michael’s support for Obama is secondary, and only by default…not primary.

    The Party does not praise michael for anything other than a chance to laugh at his ridiculous, distorted, ignorant, and corrupt comments.

    Do not Hail the Mighty O… this is not a communist regime, do not refer to our new President as such. Just have respect for a man who has the diplomatic means to fix this country.

Comments are closed.