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  • Speaking of jurisdiction….

    With a nod to the jurisdiction thread making the rounds on Ask-A-Cop, the following situation came up on The Simpsons last Sunday (“The Five Corners” listed below refers to a fictional location where the boundaries of five U.S. states all meet at one point):

    “Sideshow Bob arrives at The Five Corners and has himself and Bart stand in two of the states at the meeting point. Then he tells Bart of his plan to kill him: Bob will stand in one state; reach into another and shoot his gun; and have the bullet riccochet and travel through two other states before it finally kills Bart, who will stand in the last state. Since no single portion of the sequence is illegal, none of the five states will be able to prosecute him for Bart's murder.”
    (courtesy of http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/The_Bob_Next_Door)

    B.S., right? But who would handle such a case? The first state?
    “Let him go, Lou. Someone driving that fast has no time for a ticket.”
    -Chief Wiggum

  • #2
    Normally, where the body falls. I think that most deaths are classified as "Natural," "Suicide," or "Homicide." Since Bart was killed by the hand of another it would be classified as a homicide. Same as if you use a sniper rifle and shoot someone across state lines. The Homicide occurs where the body falls. Being in another sate would not reduce your culpability.

    It might be Federal since it is a felony that crosses state lines.
    Last edited by ddurkof; 05-19-2010, 08:51 PM. Reason: Spelling error
    Ut humiliter opinor

    Comment


    • #3
      Its hard to judge not knowing what the five states are and being unable to read how their criminal statues are worded.

      The state the gun was shot in most likely has aggravated battery laws prohibiting discharging a firearm at another person (regardless of whether or not the bullet hit), so you'd have a crime there, and as mentioned above, the state Bart was in doubtfully words their laws such that the assailant has to be anywhere specific, and the law would be violated simply by the act and the victims presence in the state.

      Homicide is a federal crime as well, being the issue of crossing state lines and such, I could see the FBI investigating / filing federal charges.
      Sheriff: We just take turns being the sheriff. It's real easy. You just hang out here, eat some pie, and get drunk.
      Peter Griffin: Wait. Hold on a second. "Pie," "drunk," "the?" You got yourself a sheriff!

      Comment


      • #4
        Federal offense, have fun doing that time.

        Comment


        • #5
          In Kansas, murder cases specifically, if the crime begins in Kansas but is finished in another state then the entire crime can be prosecuted in Kansas.

          This has been used recently in a kidnap/murder case. A girl was kidnapped in Kansas but they know she was actually killed in Missouri. But under the statue, the killer was prosecuted in Kansas. I sort of wish he was tried in Missouri since he probably would have gotten the death penalty, but whatever.

          I suspect most states have laws similar to that.

          I saw the episode and legally speaking you can probably make a case for the crime to be prosecuted a number of different ways. That is usually worked out behind the scenes and is very politically motivated.
          Last edited by Dingo990; 05-20-2010, 01:03 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            States have very particular laws on this. For example, here is what the Criminal Procedure law of New York says on this question:

            § 20.20 Geographical jurisdiction of offenses; jurisdiction of state.
            Except as otherwise provided in this section and section 20.30, a
            person may be convicted in the criminal courts of this state of an
            offense defined by the laws of this state, committed either by his own
            conduct or by the conduct of another for which he is legally accountable
            pursuant to section 20.00 of the penal law, when:
            1. Conduct occurred within this state sufficient to establish:
            (a) An element of such offense; or
            (b) An attempt to commit such offense; or
            (c) A conspiracy or criminal solicitation to commit such offense, or
            otherwise to establish the complicity of at least one of the persons
            liable therefor; provided that the jurisdiction accorded by this
            paragraph extends only to conviction of those persons whose
            conspiratorial or other conduct of complicity occurred within this
            state; or
            2. Even though none of the conduct constituting such offense may have
            occurred within this state:
            (a) The offense committed was a result offense and the result
            occurred within this state. If the offense was one of homicide, it is
            presumed that the result, namely the death of the victim, occurred
            within this state if the victim's body or a part thereof was found
            herein; or
            (b) The statute defining the offense is designed to prevent the
            occurrence of a particular effect in this state and the conduct
            constituting the offense committed was performed with intent that it
            would have such effect herein; or
            (c) The offense committed was an attempt to commit a crime within
            this state; or
            (d) The offense committed was conspiracy to commit a crime within
            this state and an overt act in furtherance of such conspiracy occurred
            within this state; or
            3. The offense committed was one of omission to perform within this
            state a duty imposed by the laws of this state. In such case, it is
            immaterial whether such person was within or outside this state at the
            time of the omission.

            § 20.30 Geographical jurisdiction of offenses; effect of laws of other
            jurisdictions upon this state's jurisdiction.
            1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 20.20, the courts of
            this state do not have jurisdiction to convict a person of an alleged
            offense partly committed within this state but consummated in another
            jurisdiction, or an offense of criminal solicitation, conspiracy or
            attempt in this state to commit a crime in another jurisdiction, or an
            offense of criminal facilitation in this state of a felony committed in
            another jurisdiction, unless the conduct constituting the consummated
            offense or, as the case may be, the conduct constituting the crime
            solicited, conspiratorially contemplated or facilitated, constitutes an
            offense under the laws of such other jurisdiction as well as under the
            laws of this state.
            2. The courts of this state are not deprived of the jurisdiction
            accorded them by section 20.20 to convict a person of an offense defined
            by the laws of this state, partly committed in another jurisdiction but
            consummated in this state, or an offense of attempt or conspiracy in
            another jurisdiction to commit in this state a crime defined by the laws
            of this state, by the circumstance that the conduct constituting the
            consummated offense or, as the case may be, the crime attempted or
            conspiratorially contemplated, does not constitute an offense under the
            laws of such other jurisdiction.

            Comment


            • #7
              Since this involves fictional characters at a fictional location, why not ask fictional cops?

              Pass this one on to Reed & Malloy, or have Danno book'em, or maybe T.J. Hooker can wrestle them down...perhaps Enos & Roscoe P. Coltraine can give us the answer? Can Ponch & Jon chase this one down?

              Put it before a judge & have Perry Mason and Matlock for the defense.

              And my favorite fictional AG, Eric Holder...he can prosecute.
              The opinions expressed here are from the individual only and do not represent the view of any agency that the poster may be affiliated with

              Comment


              • #8
                Easy. Since no one knows what state The Simpsons city of Springfield is in, then Chief Wiggums would handle the investigation.
                “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.” - Robert F. Kennedy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have been to the only place in the US where 4 states come together, in fact I have a picture of my dog with a paw in each state.

                  And the answer is: The FBI, because it is on the Navaho Nation. Initial investigation by Navaho Nation Police and BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs), until the FBI arrives.

                  Or, for the Simpsons - It would be Chief Wiggum.
                  "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                  John Stuart Mill

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you dig into the dark recesses of each state's more obscure laws, you will find the issue addressed. The California Penal Code gives jurisdiction to any of the involved states

                    782. When a public offense is committed on the boundary of two or
                    more jurisdictional territories, or within 500 yards thereof, the
                    jurisdiction of such offense is in any competent court within either
                    jurisdictional territory.

                    790. (a) The jurisdiction of a criminal action for murder or
                    manslaughter is in the county where the fatal injury was inflicted or
                    in the county in which the injured party died or in the county in
                    which his or her body was found. However, if the defendant is
                    indicted in the county in which the fatal injury was inflicted, at
                    any time before his or her trial in another county, the sheriff of
                    the other county shall, if the defendant is in custody, deliver the
                    defendant upon demand to the sheriff of the county in which the fatal
                    injury was inflicted. When the fatal injury was inflicted and the
                    injured person died or his or her body was found within five hundred
                    yards of the boundary of two or more counties, jurisdiction is in
                    either county.

                    While 790 PC refers to counties, based on its general philosophy along with the language of 782 PC, I don't think California cares which state prosecutes the case as long as someone does.

                    BTW, I don't believe there is any place in the US where five states meet. I think there is only Four Corners, where Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico converge. There is a little park there with a monument you stand on and say to yourself, "OMG, I'm in four states at once." Then you stop and think to yourself, "I drove all the way out here for this? I've got to be nuts."
                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      They're cartoons, Bart wouldn't die so no one would handle the case, they'd just pop back up wearing the same clothes as the episode before and Sideshow Bob would end up back in jail for violating his parole and Bart would moon him and taunt him for not shooting him correctly and we still wouldn't know what gosh darned state the show is set in but somebody, oh yes somebody wouldnt want revenge for something and that something, yes, that something is what we would all want to know is because that ladies and gentlemen, THAT is ..........


                      What was the question?
                      Moooooooooooo, I'm a goat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dingo990 View Post
                        In Kansas, murder cases specifically, if the crime begins in Kansas but is finished in another state then the entire crime can be prosecuted in Kansas.

                        This has been used recently in a kidnap/murder case. A girl was kidnapped in Kansas but they know she was actually killed in Missouri. But under the statue, the killer was prosecuted in Kansas. I sort of wish he was tried in Missouri since he probably would have gotten the death penalty, but whatever.
                        He's right. You could prosecute in any state where elements of the crime occur.

                        We have actually had two of these. One was several years ago, and the other just happened last fall. I don't know which Dingo is referring to.

                        I got to participate in working both cases. They both ended up on the Kansas side because we worked the whole case and our county has more resources for lengthy trials and appeals.

                        First case he was convicted.
                        Second case, three defendants, one conviction, two still pending...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          JSD, not to spoil your day, but the home state of the Simpsons is .......Oregon. The creator of the show is from Eugene, and the power plant is actually a coal fired plant. I learned this when I visited family in Springfield OR.
                          "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                          John Stuart Mill

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Great posts from all, thanks for your replies. The consensus seems to be that Chief Wiggum should handle the investigation -- just as soon as he finishes looking up "mo-tyve" in the dictionary, and demoting Lou down to sergeant before then promoting him to sergeant.

                            Sleuth, I was getting ready to call BS (and not the Bank of Springfield type of BS) on your claim about Springfield, Oregon being the Springfield in The Simpsons, but a very cursory online search indicates that you may well be quite right.
                            “Let him go, Lou. Someone driving that fast has no time for a ticket.”
                            -Chief Wiggum

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A whole different discussion. Springfield is certainly based off Springfield Oregon in a lot of ways. But I think the show writers clearly want the show to be fairly ambiguous in what state they reside in.

                              Comment

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