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The Perfect Crime?

February 5th, 2012
law, crime

The constitution requires that crimes [1] be tried a jury of the state and district where the crime was committed. [2] Normally this is not a problem: districts are big things, and they rarely cross state lines. But what if there was a case where some land were in a combination of state and district that had no population? Then if a felony were committed there it would require a jury drawn from a pool of people that don't exist.

A recent paper by Brian Kalt argues that this is a real possiblity: the Idaho portion of Yellowstone is in the Wyoming district, but has no one living in it. This might make prosecution of jury-requiring crimes impossible there.


[1] This is normally interpreted as not including 'petty' crimes, which don't need juries.

[2] Article III, Section 2: "The Trial of all Crimes . . . shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed." Amendment 6: "of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law."

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