This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Whom the Ex Post Facto Clause Protects

The following is a transcript of " The Legal Lad's Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Lawful Life, " a podcast from QuickAndDirtyTips.com . The audio program is available via RSS feed here and at TheStreet.com's podcast home page .

Hello, and welcome to Legal Lad's Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Lawful Life.

But first, a disclaimer: Although I am an attorney, the legal information in this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, I do not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with any listener.

Today's topic is the ex post facto clause of the Constitution. Kris wrote:

Recently, the president has been pushing for Congress to update the FISA law to contain "retroactive liability protection" for the telecommunications companies, but isn't this unconstitutional according to Article I, Section 9, which states that "no bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

Very interesting question Kris. The short answer is that the ex post facto clause of the Constitution only prohibits the government from increasing punishment for a something you did in the past, but does not apply to situations where the government decreases punishment.

Article I, Section 9, clause 3 of the Constitution, which applies to Congress, provides that "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." Article I, Section 10, clause 1 similarly prohibits the States from passing ex post facto laws. But what in the world does that phrase mean?

As Justice Chase noted in 1798, the proscription against ex post facto laws "necessarily requires some explanation; for, naked and without explanation, it is unintelligible, and means nothing." Well said.

Ex post facto literally means "from something done afterward." Justice Chase noted four categories of ex post facto laws:

    1) Laws that make an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal -- and punishes such action;

    2) laws that aggravate a crime, or makes it greater than it was when committed;

    3) laws that change the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law attached to the crime when it was committed, and;

    4) laws that alter the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense, in order to convict the offender.
1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $114.64 0.00%
FB $94.06 0.00%
GOOG $629.25 0.00%
TSLA $266.28 0.00%
YHOO $37.12 0.00%

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,550.69 -47.51 -0.27%
S&P 500 2,093.32 -4.72 -0.22%
NASDAQ 5,105.5460 -9.8360 -0.19%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs