NewsCapitol Watch


How this impeachment trial will be unlike any other

Posted at 7:09 AM, Jan 21, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — For the past several months there have been hearings on live TV, witnesses, explosive interviews, bombshell revelations and now an impeachment trial is underway.

While many Americans will be fixated on the political theatrics and the drama of it all, legal analysts say this will be a trial unlike any other.

There are three things about this trial that you won't typically see under a court of law: the jury, prosecutors and the punishment.

First thing is the jury. It's not just a body of the president's peers, but instead all 100 members of the senate will serve as jurors. Ninety-nine of those men and women have already taken the oath, swearing to be impartial. Unlike a criminal trial, there's no way to impose this.

In a criminal trial, if a juror is found to have a bias towards the defendant, they usually get the boot.

Under a court of law, illegal conduct must be proven without a reasonable doubt. According to the US Constitution, this is a burden for the prosecutor. In President Trump's impeachment trial, it will be up to each senator to determine how much evidence there is to convict.

Speaking of prosecutors, you're not going to see any during this trial. The past two times our nation has seen an impeachment, the house managers served the role as prosecutors.

Then there's the judge. In an impeachment trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the presiding judge. In this case, that would be Chief Justice John Roberts.

Under normal circumstances, the presiding judge has the final say, but in this trial a judge in an impeachment trial, can be overruled.

Finally, the punishment. Once a jury has decided a verdict the defendant is usually sentenced to prison time or freed, depending on the outcome.

If impeached by the Senate trial, President Trump would be removed from office and banned from holding office ever again.