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Bond v. United States

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: June 2, 2014
Case #: 12-158
Roberts, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Thomas, J., joined, and in which Alito, J., joined as to Part I. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which SCALIA, J., joined, and in which ALITO, J., joined as to Parts I, II, and III. ALITO, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-158_6579.pdf

Criminal Law: 18 U.S.C. ยง229(a) does not reach crimes like simple assault due to state sovereignty.

Petitioner on multiple occasions spread toxic chemicals on some of the belongings of a woman who had an affair with Petitioner’s husband, hoping that the woman would develop a rash. The woman received slight burns from the chemicals on one of these instances. Petitioner was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. §229(a), the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998. After the District  Court denied her motion to dismiss, Petitioner plead guilty but reserved the right to appeal. The Third Circuit initially held that Petitioner lacked standing for a Tenth Amendment challenge, and after the United States Supreme Court reversed. On remand, the Third Circuit rejected Petitioner’s Tenth Amendment argument and her argument that §229 does not reach her conduct.

The Supreme Court held that §229 does not reach Petitioner’s simple assault. The reasoning was that there is no indication in §229 that Congress intended to overstep state enforcement of criminal laws, especially when the harm caused by Petitioner did not rise to the widespread level necessary for such an infringement on personal liberty and state sovereignty.