Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Hey there! I know you’re probably wondering about how the federal government gets involved in criminal cases. I get it – it can be confusing trying to understand when the feds have jurisdiction versus the state. This article will break it all down for you in simple terms.
Jurisdiction basically means authority. It refers to a court’s power to hear a case and make decisions about it. There are two main types of jurisdiction in criminal law:
So if a crime violates federal law, it will be tried in federal court. If it violates state law, it will go through the state system. Seems pretty straightforward, right?
There are a few main ways that federal courts can have jurisdiction over a criminal case:
There are lots of federal criminal laws that give federal courts jurisdiction. Common ones involve federal taxes, mail/wire fraud, civil rights, and drugs/weapons that cross state borders.
Most everyday street crimes fall under state laws and jurisdiction. Things like:
Unless these crimes happen on federal property or involve a federal interest, states handle the cases. Each state has its own criminal laws and courts.
Sometimes a crime violates both federal and state laws. For example, someone might commit murder on federal land. This would give both the state and federal government jurisdiction to prosecute.
When this happens, it’s called “concurrent jurisdiction.” Usually the feds and state will work together to decide who will handle the case. Often the one who starts prosecuting first will keep it.
The downside is that defendants can potentially be tried for the same crime in both federal and state court. This doesn’t violate double jeopardy protections because they are considered separate “offenses.”
There are some key differences in how federal criminal cases work compared to state cases:
The procedures and players are a bit different in the federal system. But the basics like trials, pleas, and sentencing still apply.
Understanding jurisdiction is important for a few reasons:
Federal charges often bring harsher punishments and fewer opportunities for parole. But sometimes federal jurisdiction also provides more resources and flexibility.
Figuring out if a crime will be charged under federal or state laws can be complicated. There are lots of factors involved. But the basic thing to remember is federal courts handle federal crimes, and state courts handle state crimes.
Concurrent jurisdiction cases get tricky. But usually the feds and states coordinate to determine the best venue. The most serious crimes often end up going federal.
I hope this overview helped explain the difference between federal and state jurisdiction in criminal cases! Let me know if you have any other questions.
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