This is “End-of-Chapter Material”, section 13.4 from the book Introduction to Criminal Law (v. 1.0).
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The federal government protects national security by primarily regulating crimes against the United States. One of the only crimes defined in the Constitution, treason, prohibits levying war against the United States, most likely with general intent or knowingly, or providing aid and comfort to the enemy with the specific intent or purposely to betray the United States, and is graded as a serious felony with all sentencing options available, including capital punishment. The Constitution specifies the evidentiary requirement that treason be proven by the testimony of two witnesses or the defendant’s confession in open court. Sedition criminalizes the advocating, aiding, organizing, or teaching with general intent or knowingly, or publishing, printing, or circulating writings that advocate, aid, or teach with specific intent or purposely the forceful or violent overthrow of the US government and is graded as a serious felony that can prohibit the defendant from holding federal office for five years postconviction. Sabotage is destroying, damaging, or defectively producing specified property with specific intent or purposely, general intent or knowingly, or negligently to impede national defense and is graded as a serious felony. Espionage is gathering or transmitting defense information with general intent or knowingly or the specific intent or purposely to damage the United States or assist any foreign nation, during peace or war, and is graded as a serious felony with all range of sentencing options available, including capital punishment.
The federal government also primarily regulates terrorism and terroristic acts using the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and the USA PATRIOT Act. The Department of Homeland Security enforces criminal laws targeting terrorism. Terrorism is violent acts committed inside (domestic) or outside (international) the United States that appear to be intended to influence a civilian population or government by intimidation or to affect the conduct of government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping. Currently prohibited as terrorism or terroristic conduct are murder, use of a weapon of mass destruction, bombing places of public use, financing terrorism, harboring a terrorist, and conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the foregoing. The USA PATRIOT Act expands government surveillance capabilities, so it is subject to a Fourth Amendment challenge as an unreasonable search, and also prohibits financing terrorism, so it is subject to a First Amendment challenge as a prohibition on free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to associate.
The state and federal government both criminalize conduct that impedes the administration of justice, including perjury, bribery, and obstruction of justice. Perjury is typically defined as a false material oral or written statement made under oath or affirmation with the specific intent or purposely to deceive, or the general intent or knowingly that the statement is false, in a judicial or official proceeding or in a certified writing. The biggest issues encountered in a perjury prosecution are proving the validity of the oath, the defendant’s criminal intent, the materiality of the false statement, and any requirement of corroborative evidence. One defense to perjury is retraction of the false material statement during the same judicial or official proceeding before it becomes manifest that the falsity will be exposed. Many jurisdictions also criminalize perjury committed by inconsistent statements made under oath or affirmation in an official or judicial proceeding and subornation of perjury, which is procuring another to commit perjury with specific intent or purposely. Perjury and subornation of perjury are typically graded as felonies. Bribery is conferring, offering, agreeing to confer, or soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept a benefit upon a public official, employee, legislator, participant in a judicial proceeding, or sports official with the specific intent or purposely, or the general intent or knowingly to influence the bribed individual’s decision making. The most difficult bribery element to prove is the criminal intent element. Bribery is typically graded as a felony. Obstruction of justice crimes interfere with the orderly administration of justice. Examples of obstruction of justice offenses are giving false identification to a law enforcement officer, impersonating a law enforcement officer, refusing to aid a law enforcement officer when requested, giving false evidence, hiding or concealing oneself and refusing to give evidence, tampering with evidence, and tampering with a witness or juror, with specific intent or purposely, or general intent or knowingly. Obstruction of justice is graded as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the offense.
You are an assistant US attorney starting your first day on the job. You have been presented with four case files and told to review them and recommend criminal prosecutions based on the facts. Read each one and then decide which crime should be prosecuted. Check your answers using the answer key at the end of the chapter.