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View Diary: Three more suspects arrested in Boston Marathon bombing (131 comments)

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  •  Federal vs State crime (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, a gilas girl

    Murder and attempted murder as well as conspiracy to commit murder as well as destruction of public property and a host of other charges are likely what the state of Massachusetts is levying.

    "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property."

    These are the federal charges.

    What makes these charges "federal"?  Why are they separate and distinct from state charges?

    •   they need federal charges to (5+ / 0-)

       go for the death penalty, since Massachusetts doesn't have it.

      Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:00:01 AM PDT

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      •  I get that's why they'll pursue federal charges (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego

        I'm just curious what makes it a federal crime?  Murder is a state crime, unless its against a federal agent, right?

        If I maliciously destroy public property, again a state crime, unless its a post office or some other federally owned building.

        Just trying to work out the jurisdictions.

        •   because it's a law passed by the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Copernic

          federal government. The reasoning is probably similar to why terrorism  is a federal crime, as it's  considered a threat to the larger society. Not sure if all bombings could be charged under this law, potentially.

          Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

          by AaronInSanDiego on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:40:07 AM PDT

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        •  I think it was the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Copernic

          Patriot Act that made it a federal crime.

          And, if I remember correctly a lot of the bombings that took place in the 60's ended up being federal crimes and that's where the "malicious destruction of property" stuff came into play. Like the Madison bombing at the U of WI and the Weatherunderground ones, too.

          Of course, I don't really remember those because I was just a kid, but I do remember reading about them in courses on politics and the law, or history of violent protest, etc, so copious amounts of salt, but my guess would be that's when the property destruction stuff got added into the federal crimes jurisdictions.    

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed May 01, 2013 at 10:56:12 AM PDT

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        •  Lots of acts are considered criminal . . . (0+ / 0-)

          . . . under both state and federal laws. While the normal practice is to prosecute most run-of-the-mill crimes in state courts, federal prosecutors can step in and press federal charges at any time & place of their choosing.

          Under G.W. Bush, the Justice Department as a matter of policy frequently brought federal charges for murders that would ordinarily have been prosecuted in state courts, when they occurred in states that didn't have capital punishment.

          Beginning in the late 1980s, it became common practice to bring federal charges in low- or mid-level drug cases, because the sentences under federal law were so much harsher & conviction rates in federal courts so much higher. Frequently, state charges would be made federal when a defendant refused to talk or was otherwise deemed "uncooperative". In one particularly egregious case that I read about, a man was convicted of selling drugs in Florida, served his time & was moving on with his life when federal prosecutors, fishing for cases to try, used the state court record of the case to bring federal charges for the same crime & sent him back to prison.

          Also, it's a convenient way to get around the constitution's prohibition of "double jeopardy". If a jury in a state court fails to convict, simply retry the defendant(s) on federal charges. The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed this practice under the "different sovereigns" doctrine. Most famously, this became common practice in the South during the civil rights era when it proved impossible to convict in state courts.

    •  The suspect in custody, Tsarnaev, allegedly (0+ / 0-)

      committed crimes in (at least) two states, Massachusetts (Boston) and Connecticut (Watertown).

      I believe that may be the basis for the federal charges.


      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

      by Angie in WA State on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:30:37 AM PDT

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    •  "Federal" charges assert violations of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, jrooth

      federal law, e.g., 18 U.S.C. 2332a:

      (a) Offense Against a National of the United States or Within the United States.— A person who, without lawful authority, uses, threatens, or attempts or conspires to use, a weapon of mass destruction—
      ...
      (2) against any person or property within the United States, and
      ...
      (B) such property is used in interstate or foreign commerce or in an activity that affects interstate or foreign commerce;
      ... or
      (D) the offense, or the results of the offense, affect interstate or foreign commerce, or, in the case of a threat, attempt, or conspiracy, would have affected interstate or foreign commerce;
      ...
      shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, and if death results, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
      "State" charges assert violations of state or common law, e.g., Mass. Gen. L. c. 265 § 2
      Section 2. Whoever is guilty of murder committed with deliberately premeditated malice aforethought or with extreme atrocity or cruelty, and who had attained the age of eighteen years at the time of the murder, may suffer the punishment of death pursuant to the procedures set forth in sections sixty-eight to seventy-one, inclusive, of chapter two hundred and seventy-nine. Any other person who is guilty of murder in the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life. Whoever is guilty of murder in the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment in state prison for life. No person shall be eligible for parole under section one hundred and thirty-three A of chapter one hundred and twenty-seven while he is serving a life sentence for murder in the first degree, but if his sentence is commuted therefrom by the governor and council under the provisions of section one hundred and fifty-two of said chapter one hundred and twenty-seven he shall thereafter be subject to the provisions of law governing parole for persons sentenced for lesser offenses.

      We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

      by NoMoJoe on Wed May 01, 2013 at 09:37:35 AM PDT

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