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NCJ Number: 64756 Find in a Library
Title: FEDERAL CRIMINAL CODE REVISION PLAN - AN EPITAPH FOR THE WELL-BURIED DEAD (FROM REFORM OF THE FEDERAL CRIMINAL CODE - SYMPOSIUM, 1979 - SEE NCJ-64754)
Journal: GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW  Volume:47  Issue:3  Dated:(MARCH 1979)  Pages:459-474
Author(s): J QUIGLEY
Corporate Author: George Washington University
National Law Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE ALLEGED EXTENSION OF FEDERAL CRIMINAL JURISDICTION THAT WOULD BE AFFECTED BY SENATE BILL 1437 IS DISCUSSED.
Abstract: IN 1978 THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FOR THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES QUASHED SENATE BILL 1437. THIS BILL WOULD HAVE GREATLY EXTENDED FEDERAL CRIMINAL JURISDICTION IN MANY RESPECTS. THE BILL WOULD HAVE USED THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE CLAUSE TO BRING UNDER FEDERAL JURISDICTION VAST NEW AREAS OF CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS AND PROPERTY. FOR EXAMPLE, FEDERAL JURISDICTION OVER ROBBERY WOULD HAVE INCLUDED INTERSTATE MOVEMENT BY A PERSON IN THE PLANNING, PROMOTION, EXECUTION, MANAGEMENT, OR CONCEALMENT OF A ROBBERY. ALTHOUGH IT IS DENIED BY THE DRAFTERS OF THE BILL, ITS PASSAGE WOULD HAVE GRANTED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT A DEGREE OF CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT RESPONSIBILITY ALMOST COMMENSURATE WITH THAT OF THE STATES, THEREBY NATIONALIZING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS. IT WOULD HAVE INVOLVED THE GOVERNMENT IN AREAS OF LOCAL, NOT NATIONAL, CONCERN. SOME OF THE JURISDICTIONAL BASES USED IN THE BILL SEEMED TO BE MERE PRETEXTS FOR FEDERAL JURISDICTION. FOR INSTANCE, THE BILL WOULD HAVE ALLOWED AUTHORITY OVER NUMEROUS OFFENSES INCLUDING EXTORTION, BLACKMAIL, AND BRIBERY WHENEVER A LOCAL TELEPHONE CALL WAS MADE IN THEIR PERPETRATION. THE BILL WOULD HAVE TREATED THE JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE AS A LEGAL ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED BY THE TRIAL JUDGE RATHER THAN A FACTUAL ISSUE OF THE CRIME TO BE RESOLVED BY THE JURY. MOREOVER, THE DRAFTING TECHNIQUE USED IN SENATE BILL 1437 WOULD HAVE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF EXPANDED FEDERAL JURISDICTION: IT WOULD HAVE (1) FACILITATED EXPANSIVE AMENDMENTS IN THE FUTURE, (2) DILUTE THE STANDARDS OF PROOF, AND (3) WEAKENED THE REQUIREMENT OF A SUBSTANTIAL FEDERAL INTEREST IN THE APPLICATION OF A FEDERAL PENAL PROVISION. USING THE TECHNIQUE, A FEDERAL JUDGE WOULD BE MORE LIKELY TO ASSERT FEDERAL JURISDICTION THAN A JURY, THUS IMPROPERLY USURPING THE JURY'S FACT-FINDING AUTHORITY. FINALLY, CURRENT LAW WOULD HAVE BEEN ALTERED BY REMOVING ALL REQUIREMENTS THAT THE PROSECUTION PROVE MENTAL CULPABILITY ON THE JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (LWM)
Index Term(s): Criminal codes; Federal Code; Jurisdiction; Law reform; Symposia
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