No Federal Hate Crime?

Converted Muslim kills a soldier outside of an Army recruiting center, then pleads not guilty to all state (Arkansas) charges, including hate crime charges.  The interesting thing is that there’s no federal charge yet, and officials seem hesitant to press federal charges at all.  The assailant claims he shot the soldier “because of what they had done to Muslims in the past.”

An FBI-led joint terrorism task force based in the southern United States has been investigating Muhammad since he returned to the United States from Yemen, a law enforcement official said. The suspect had been arrested and jailed in Yemen at some point for using a Somali passport, the official said. The time of that arrest was not immediately clear.

I know it’s much more interesting to investigate the meaning of torture, but at the risk of being unpopular let’s consider what it means not to charge this man with any federal crimes.  Was this a “terrorist act”?  Even if it was not an overt act of terrorism, he killed an American soldier for being an American soldier.  Killing is killing, but this man killed someone in his official capacity as a national officer, paid with federal tax dollars to protect the national public.  Even if this wasn’t terrorism, this act was clearly federal in nature.  

Even federalism arguments totally fail here.  Framers squarely rejected the idea of state level militia and opted instead to pay a national Army.  This was the result of a huge amount of negotiation and several sub-compromises to install this agreement.  There is no state nature at all to an act against a soldier.  “Terrorism” maybe fails, but that makes this an act of war.  Which also fits a federal (not state) crime.

Link to story.


1 Comment

Filed under Law

One response to “No Federal Hate Crime?

  1. I think you are exactly right, Ms. Ciano. Failing to stand up for US Soldiers with a federal prosecution is absolutely shameful. My hope is that Arkansas will be able to seek the death penalty, thereby ensuring a justice that should have been provided by Washington.

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