23 Jun 20

How Can Murder Become a Federal Crime?

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Last Updated on: 6th August 2023, 02:16 am

There are several ways through which murder can become a federal crime. This is when the offense is;
1. The killing of a family member from a federal law enforcement official
2. The killing of a federal law enforcement official or a federal judge
3. The killing of an appointed federal official
4. A murder that has been committed during a bank robbery
5. A murder aboard a ship
6. A killing that is designed to influence a court case
7. A murder that has been committed on a federal property

It is also noteworthy that a defendant has a right to raise a legal defense team to help challenge the federal murder case. In such a situation, there are three common defenses:
1. Self-defense
2. Coerced confessions
3. Accidental killing
The final determination on whether a murder charge is brought under the state court or the federal court is whether the crime that has been violated is either a federal murder or a state murder law.

Various Ways Through Which a Murder can be charged as a Federal Crime
Murder is usually charged as a federal crime if and only if the acts break the federal law. In particular, there are seven scenarios where a murder case can be charged under federal law:
1. The killing involves a federal law enforcement official or a federal judge. This violates the 18 U.S. C section 1114. A good example of a federal law enforcement official may include an agent of the F.B.I., A.T.F., or T.S.A.
2. The murder involves a family member of a federal law enforcement agent. This is a law that protects their family members from threats made against these enforcement officers. It will protect them from discrimination. Some of these murders are done to stop an official from doing an investigation.
3. The killing involves an appointed or an elected federal official. This violates section 351 of 18 U.S.C. A good example here is the congressmen, presidents, and Senators.
4. When the killing involves a bank robbery. Section 1111 of the 18 U.S.C. protects murders committed during a bank robbery. It will include victims such as customers in the bank, staff, and security guards.
5. A murder of a person who was aboard a ship. Section 2280 of the 18 U.S.C. helps protect them against any form about taking by force, piracy, or even threat at a ship in a sea.
6. A killing that has been designed to influence a court case. This is following section 1512 of 18 U.S. C and protects witnesses, jurors, and court officers. It is an act of intimidation to stop a case from continuation.
7. A murder that takes place on the federal Property. The best example of such a scenario is the National American Reservations and the National parks.

Legal Defenses to the Federal Murder Charges
A defendant has a right to raise a legal defense to challenge the federal murder charge he is facing. A successful defense can even dismiss a charge or reducing the charges.
There are their common defenses:
1. Self-defense
This is self-explanatory, and so many deaths have occurred when one is trying to defend himself. The federal law has allowed people to use comparative law while defending themselves. They only use force if they are likely to suffer severe bodily harm. This is, therefore, to mean that self-defense is a very valid legal defense to the murder charges that involve threats to a person’s bodily harm.

2. Accidental Murder or Killing
Accidental death is very common, and if a person caused it by accident, it might serve as

  • a defense if that person is the one who caused the death.
  • Didn’t intend to cause the harm
  • Was not by negligence
  • Was engaged in a lawful activity during the killing time

3. Coerced Confession
If the defender can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the murder resulted from coercion, then the judge may exclude certain evidence or even drop the actual charges. It has happened several times when a person is forced to do a certain crime, and thus, judges at their capacity have the right to drop them.