Казалось бы, естественный вопрос - разве такое может быть? Разве декриминализация каких-то действий не означает автоматического обнуления ранее вынесенных приговоров тем, кто эти действия совершал?
Верба, как и любой нормальный человек,
не могла поверить и пошла к нашим конституционным специалистам: неужели, если сегодня закон отменен, человек все равно должен отсиживать срок по старому закону? Вот, скажем, осудили меня за измену мужу, а потом этот закон отменили -- я что все равно должна сидеть? Оказалось, да. Если отмененный закон специально не оговаривает обратное действие, то да.Я не поверил тоже, тем более что в данном случае, как выяснилось, закон штата, декриминализирующий инкриминируемое действие, содержал специальную норму, запрещающую его обратное действие (эту норму упомянул верховный суд штата, отказавшись пересматривать дело).
По ближайшем рассмотрении, однако, выяснилось, что существует целый класс специальных законов, запрещающих ретроактивную декриминализацию. Называются - general savings statute.
Например, в федеральном законодательстве эта норма изложена так:
Section 109. Repeal of statutes as affecting existing liabilitiesПодобные законы имеются во многих штатах, но во всех ли - не ясно.
The repeal of any statute shall not have the effect to release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under such statute, unless the repealing Act shall so expressly provide, and such statute shall be treated as still remaining in force for the purpose of sustaining any proper action or prosecution for the enforcement of such penalty, forfeiture, or liability. The expiration of a temporary statute shall not have the effect to release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under such statute, unless the temporary statute shall so expressly provide, and such statute shall be treated as still remaining in force for the purpose of sustaining any proper action or prosecution for the enforcement of such penalty, forfeiture, or liability.
При этом повсеместно признается существование традиционной нормы common law, эксплицитно отменяемой этим законом.
Например, в одном из решений федерального апелляционного суда говорится так:
It is a hoary rule of the common law that the repeal of a statute eliminates any inchoate liability for penalties under the repealed statute. See, e.g., United States v. Reisinger, 128 U.S. 398, 401 (1888). In order to ameliorate this rule, Congress passed a general savings statute providing in pertinent part that the "repeal of any statute shall not have the effect to release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under such statute. . . ." 1 U.S.C. 109 (1982).Другой апелляционный суд изложил то же самое более детально:
Congress enacted this statute "to abolish the common-law presumption that the repeal of a criminal statute resulted in the abatement of ‘all prosecutions which had not reached final disposition in the highest court authorized to review them.’" Warden v. Marrero, 417 U.S. 653, 660 (1974) (quoting Bradley v. United States, 410 U.S. 605, 607 (1973)). The statute applies to amendments as well as repeals. See, e.g., United States v. Breier, 813 F.2d 212, 215 (9th Cir. 1987); United States v. Mechem, 509 F.2d 1193, 1194 n.3 (10th Cir. 1975) (per curiam).Рассуждение о "превращении преступления в право" - это из решения по делу HAMM v. ROCK HILL, 379 U.S. 306 (1964), где, в частности, говорилось:
The Supreme Court has held that the general savings statute nullifies the common law doctrine of abatement, at least to the extent that the successor statute "retains the basic offense" and does not substitute "a right for a crime." Pipefitters Local Union No. 562 v. United States, 407 U.S. 385, 434-35 (1972) (distinguishing Hamm v. City of Rock Hill, supra, Bell v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 226 (1964), and United States v. Chambers, 291 U.S. 217 (1934)); see United States v. Rumney, 979 F.2d 265, 267 (1st Cir. 1992)(savings clause fosters congressional policy that "one who violates the law should not escape sanction by the mere happenstance that the law was repealed after the criminal act was committed").
Nor do we believe that the provisions of the federal saving statute, 61 Stat. 635, 1 U.S.C. 109 (1958 ed.), would nullify abatement of a federal conviction. In Chambers, a case where the cause for punishment was removed by a repeal of the constitutional basis for the punitive statute, the Court was quite certain as to this. See 291 U.S., at 224 and n. 2, involving the identical statute. The federal saving statute was originally enacted in 1871, 16 Stat. 432. It was meant to obviate mere technical abatement such as that illustrated by the application of the rule in Tynen decided in 1871. There a substitution of a new statute with a greater schedule of penalties was held to abate the previous prosecution. In contrast, the Civil Rights Act works no such technical abatement. It substitutes a right for a crime. So drastic a change is well beyond the narrow language of amendment and repeal. It is clear, therefore, that if the convictions were under a federal statute they would be abated.Правда, логика верховного суда в этом решении кажется мне несколько хромающей.
Интересно, как в том же 1964 году верховный суд изворачивался, чтобы подчеркнуть роль традиционной нормы common law и заузить применение general savings clause Мэриленда:
An examination of Maryland decisions indicates that under the common law of Maryland, the supervening enactment of these statutes abolishing the crime for which petitioners were convicted would cause the Maryland Court of Appeals at this time to reverse the convictions and order the indictments dismissed. For Maryland follows the universal common-law rule that when the legislature repeals a criminal statute or otherwise removes the State's condemnation from conduct that was formerly deemed criminal, this action requires the dismissal of a pending criminal proceeding charging such conduct. The rule applies to any such proceeding which, at the time of the supervening legislation, has not yet reached final disposition in the highest court authorized to review it. Thus, in Keller v. State, 12 Md. 322 (1858), the statute under which the appellant had been indicted and convicted was repealed by the legislature after the case had been argued on appeal in the Court of Appeals but before that court's decision, although the repeal was not brought to the notice of the court until after the judgment of affirmance had been announced. The appellant's subsequent motion to correct the judgment was granted, and the judgment was reversed. The court explained, id., at 325-327:В итоге - возникает вопрос: а нужны ли они вообще, эти general savings statutes? По-моему, при желании очень несложно продемонстрировать их неконституционность, особенно при господствующем творческом интерпретационном подходе к "конституции"."It is well settled, that a party cannot be convicted, after the law under which he may be prosecuted has been repealed, although the offence may have been committed before the repeal. . . . The same principle applies where the law is repealed, or expires pending an appeal on a writ of error from the judgment of an inferior court. . . . The judgment in a criminal cause cannot be considered as final and conclusive to every intent, notwithstanding the removal of the record to a superior court. If this were so, there would be no use in taking the appeal or suing out a writ of error. . . . And so if the law be repealed, pending the appeal or writ of error, the judgment will be reversed, because the decision must be in accordance with the law at the time of final judgment."The rule has since been reaffirmed by the Maryland court on a number of occasions. Beard v. State, 74 Md. 130, 135, 21 A. 700, 702 (1891); Smith v. State, 45 Md. 49 (1876); State v. Gambrill, 115 Md. 506, 513, 81 A. 10, 12 (1911); State v. Clifton, 177 Md. 572, 574, 10 A. 2d 703, 704 (1940).
It is true that the present case is factually distinguishable, since here the legislative abolition of the crime for which petitioners were convicted occurred after rather than before the decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals. But that fact would seem irrelevant. For the purpose of applying the rule of the Maryland common law, it appears that the only question is whether the legislature acts before the affirmance of the conviction becomes final. In the present case the judgment is not yet final, for it is on direct review in this Court. This would thus seem to be a case where, as in Keller, the change of law has occurred "pending an appeal on a writ of error from the judgment of an inferior court," and hence where the Maryland Court of Appeals upon remand from this Court would render its decision "in accordance with the law at the time of final judgment." It thus seems that the Maryland Court of Appeals would take account of the supervening enactment of the city and state public accommodations laws and, applying the principle that a statutory offense which has "ceased to exist is no longer punishable at all," Beard v. State, supra, 74 Md. 130, 135, 21 A. 700, 702 (1891), would now reverse petitioners' convictions and order their indictments dismissed.
The Maryland common law is not, however, the only Maryland law that is relevant to the question of the effect of the supervening enactments upon these convictions. Maryland has a general saving clause statute which in certain circumstances "saves" state convictions from the common-law effect of supervening enactments. It is thus necessary to consider the impact of that clause upon the present situation. The clause, Art. 1 Md. Code 3 (1957), reads as follows:"The repeal, or the repeal and re-enactment, or the revision, amendment or consolidation of any statute, or of any section or part of a section of any statute, civil or criminal, shall not have the effect to release, extinguish, alter, modify or change, in whole or in part, any penalty, forfeiture or liability, either civil or criminal, which shall have been incurred under such statute, section or part thereof, unless the repealing, repealing and re-enacting, revising, amending or consolidating act shall expressly so provide; and such statute, section or part thereof, so repealed, repealed and re-enacted, revised, amended or consolidated, shall be treated and held as still remaining in force for the purpose of sustaining any and all proper actions, suits, proceedings or prosecutions, civil or criminal, for the enforcement of such penalty, forfeiture or liability, as well as for the purpose of sustaining any judgment, decree or order which can or may be rendered, entered or made in such actions, suits, proceedings or prosecutions imposing, inflicting or declaring such penalty, forfeiture or liability."Upon examination of this clause and of the relevant state case law and policy considerations, we are far from persuaded that the Maryland Court of Appeals would hold the clause to be applicable to save these convictions. By its terms, the clause does not appear to be applicable at all to the present situation. It applies only to the "repeal," "repeal and re-enactment," "revision," "amendment," or "consolidation" of any statute or part thereof. The effect wrought upon the criminal trespass statute by the supervening public accommodations laws would seem to be properly described by none of these terms. The only two that could even arguably apply are "repeal" and "amendment." But neither the city nor the state public accommodations enactment gives the slightest indication that the legislature considered itself to be "repealing" or "amending" the trespass law. Neither enactment refers in any way to the trespass law, as is characteristically done when a prior statute is being repealed or amended. This fact alone raises a substantial possibility that the saving clause would be held inapplicable, for the clause might be narrowly construed - especially since it is in derogation of the common law and since this is a criminal case - as requiring that a "repeal" or "amendment" be designated as such in the supervening statute itself.