If You Really Have To Kill Someone…

Posted: September 5, 2016 by Nazim in Legislation, Standing

yellowstone-area-map

Well, Yellowstone National Park has a corner for all you wanna-be murderers (or any other federal would-be felons, for that matter), at least according to Professor Brian C. Kalt’s article in the Georgetown Law Journal. While the park stretches over portions of Montana and Idaho, it’s all in the federal jurisdiction of the District Court of Wyoming, which has a courthouse in the park (bottom of page). That District Court is the only one that covers more than one state. But, under the Sixth Amendment’s Vicinage Clause (which I’d never heard of either), defendants are entitled to a jury “of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed,” and only federal law deals with felonies in national parks. So, if you’re choking a congressman to death in the tiny part of Yellowstone that’s in Montana or Idaho, you can’t constitutionally be tried.

If you’re a congressman and reading this alarms you, you should know that the good professor actually warned Congress before publishing the article in 2005, expecting them to take care of the problem. But, well, I guess you guys had more important things to do.

Thanks to listener David for passing us more detail at Vice.

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