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Should a state senator have immunity from a domestic violence charge?

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An Arizona state senator involved in a domestic dispute last weekend cannot be charged because Arizona law states legislators are immune from arrest “in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace” while the legislator is in session.
Senator Scott Bungaard and his girlfriend, Aubry Ballard, got into a fight while driving home from a charity event last weekend.
Ballard accused the senator of inappropriately touching a woman he had danced with that evening.  A fight between the pair ensued and he said she started punching him and throwing his things out of the moving vehicle.
Phoenix police officers that responded to the scene said both Ballard and Bungaard sustained marks indicating a domestic dispute.
Ballard was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and taken to jail.  Bungaard was not arrested and he told the police he was immune from arrest.  Authorities say he could be charged at a later date.
Should a senator be immune from prosecution during a legislative session?

5 Comments

  1. J. Scalia Mar 4, 2011

    This immunity is to protect law makers from arrest for saying something that may be deemed unpopular or seditious on the house floor. It immunizes them from arrest while the legislature is in session. This right is GUARANTEED in the U.S. Constitution.

    Here, the Arizona senator MAY have commited a misdemeanor. He CAN still be charged with the crime LATER. So what’s the problem???

  2. Danielle, alumnus Mar 2, 2011

    No. Senators and other public servants should never be above the law. In fact, they should hold themselves to higher standards instead of being excused from the laws and expectations of the society they serve.
    Danielle, alumnus

  3. Danielle, alumnus Mar 2, 2011

    No. Senators and other public servants should never be above the law. In fact, they should hold themselves to higher standards instead of being excused from the laws and expectations of the society they serve.
    Danielle, alumnus

    1. Danielle, alumnus Mar 2, 2011

      PS – As for the second question, they should be allowed to postpone prosecution only until they can fulfill the duty at hand (tax payers money needs to get their worth) but it should be ensured they won’t flee.

    2. Max Mar 5, 2011

      Your second post refutes your first post. They should be above the law until session is over and then they should be charged with their offenses.

      If public servants were not above the law, then police officers who have political disagreements with public servants would be able to arrest them with false charges while the legislature was in session. That would be bad.

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