Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Instruments of Interstate Commerce

The story is about the first application of federal hate-crime law.

It's an unpleasant story about a bunch of, um, people, some of whom lured another such (who happened to be gay) on a mission to obtain drugs, but which wound up with the gay victim being beaten, apparently with the intent of killing him.

Somehow, during a lull in the beating, the gay victim got away. The attackers were arrested, and two women among them decided to plead guilty in an arrangement to aid in the prosecution of two men who did the actual beating. Something like that.

I agree that you have to try to deal with scumbags somehow, and that hate-crimes warrant special consideration, but there's something deeply wrong with this part:

Prosecutors said the attack on Pennington qualified for federal jurisdiction because Jason and Anthony Jenkins used instruments of interstate commerce in committing the alleged crime.

Those instruments were a Chevrolet Silverado truck and U.S. 119, a federal road.
Commerce Clause? That thing needs to be rolled way back. By this interpretation, absolutely anything falls under federal jurisdiction.

Then again, I'm not a lawyuh. What do I know?

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