(Roughly) Daily

Getting away with murder…

There are loopholes, and then there are loopholes…

A panel of Idaho lawmakers is recommending the Legislature ask Congress to fix a legal loophole that has some calling a portion of Yellowstone National Park the “Zone of Death,” where crimes could arguably go unprosecuted.

The vast majority of the 3,471-square-mile (8,990-square-kilometer) park sits in Wyoming, but about 3% of it stretches into Montana and 1% of the park is in eastern Idaho. When Congress created the park in 1872, the federal court in the District of Wyoming was given jurisdiction over the crimes committed within park borders.

Boise Democratic Rep. Colin Nash, an attorney, told the House Judiciary and Rules Committee on Thursday that he first learned about the “zone of death” in law school. The phrase refers to a legal theory advanced by Michigan State Law professor Brian Kalt in 2005, which says a jurisdictional loophole could force the federal government to dismiss charges against anyone accused of committing a federal crime in the Idaho portion of the park.

In an academic paper titled “The Perfect Crime,” Kalt noted the Sixth Amendment says that people charged with crimes have a right to be tried by a jury of their peers, selected from the state and region where the crime took place.

That’s a problem for Yellowstone, because the only beings living in Idaho’s roughly 50-square-mile portion of Yellowstone are grizzly bears, elk and other wildlife — and they aren’t eligible for jury duty. Kalt theorized that someone who committed a murder in Idaho’s portion of Yellowstone could get away with it, since the federal government would be unable to seat a constitutionally sound jury…

The ‘Zone of Death’: “Lawmaker wants federal fix in Yellowstone’s legal blind spot.”

[image above: source]

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As we consider the angles, we might recall that it was on this date in 1931 that Dracula— the first in a line line of “classic” monster movies– premiered in New York.  Directed by the great Tod Browning and famously starring Bela Lugosi (in what many consider still to be the definitive portrayal of the blood-thirsty Count), the film was based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, which in turn is adapted from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.  The film was was both a critical and commercial success on its release, and has earned it’s way into the canon, having been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

220px-Dracula_-_1931_theatrical_poster

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 12, 2022 at 1:00 am

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