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Traveling on Amtrak

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  • Traveling on Amtrak

    Frank's thread on the incident on the subway in Philly brought this to mind, but I figured this belonged in a separate thread. An Amtrak train station is near my home and I have considered using it for travel a time or two. I recently came across this on their website.
    Governing Law

    All travel on, and transactions with, Amtrak is governed by the laws of the District of Columbia, United States of America, without regards to its principles of conflicts of law. You agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of any State or Federal court located in the District of Columbia, United States of America, and waive any jurisdictional, venue or inconvenient forum objections to such courts.
    http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...49471&ssid=149

    I have to admit, not that I plan on getting into trouble on the train, but I find this a disincentive to want to use their service. Has anyone here seen a situation on Amtrak where charges were handled in D.C. courts instead of the jurisdiction where the incident happened? I'm also under the impression that the laws in D.C. are much more strict than many other parts of the country.

    I wouldn't have been too surprised to see that Amtrak is covered under federal laws, but it surprised me to see that D.C. has jurisdiction.

  • #2
    Probably not enforceable even in civil cases. As for criminal cases, there would seem to be insurmountable difficulties. You also cannot create jurisdiction in federal court by contract.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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    • #3
      I think it must be a concurrent jurisidction situation. Surely if someone is murdered on an Amtrak in California, they will be arrested and tried in California.

      Amtrak has their own police, and are probably trained in federal laws as well as local and state laws where they are assigned.
      "We're not in this business for the money. We're not in it for the excitement, and moments like this. Duty, honor, country, service, truth, and justice are good. But you can do that from behind a desk. In the end, you carry a gun and shield out into the field for the sole purpose of confronting the bad guys. The enemy. There is no other reason to be on the front lines." ~Nelson Demille

      If your story involves Peanut Butter and an animal - give up now!
      sigpic

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      • #4
        I travel on the train on a regular basis.
        Rules/regulations may have changed in the years since this incident, but several years ago (7?) some guy died of natural causes on the train in the middle-of-nowhere, Colorado. We stopped in this little, tiny town and Middle-of-Nowhere, CO police, fire, EMTs, and animal control responded to handle the incident.
        The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed on the streets

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        • #5
          Well, if it's anything like TSA, what happens is this -- while technically in an area with federal jurisdiction, there are local and/or state laws that mirror the federal laws, and if anything happens, local LEOs make the arrest, and the federal government chooses whether or not to tack on extra charges -- and those charges will be heard at the closest federal district courthouse.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nr5667 View Post
            Well, if it's anything like TSA, what happens is this -- while technically in an area with federal jurisdiction, there are local and/or state laws that mirror the federal laws, and if anything happens, local LEOs make the arrest, and the federal government chooses whether or not to tack on extra charges -- and those charges will be heard at the closest federal district courthouse.
            I would not assume that there are federal criminal laws that apply to routine matters on Amtrak. For example, if someone steals your wallet aboard the train, that may not be a federal crime.

            The choice-of-law provision more likely is directed at civil suits.
            Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
            Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nr5667 View Post
              Well, if it's anything like TSA, what happens is this -- while technically in an area with federal jurisdiction, there are local and/or state laws that mirror the federal laws, and if anything happens, local LEOs make the arrest, and the federal government chooses whether or not to tack on extra charges -- and those charges will be heard at the closest federal district courthouse.
              But it doesn't say it's federal jurisdiction, it says it goes by D.C.

              DAL, you may have a point that this is intended primarily for civil cases.

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              • #8
                Well, Amtrak is a public corporation, right? Could we then infer the trains are owned by the federal government, and therefore anything happening on/in them is under the purview of federal law?

                But you are correct, if that's the case, why not use the district courts?..

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