Thursday, October 28, 2010

Now here's an interesting case

ATF agent shoots a guy in the Virgin Islands when the agent gets involved in a domestic dispute; feds give him an 'attaboy, back to work' but the VI plans to prosecute him. And the feds, including some politicians, are having fits.

Go take a look. Two interesting bits here: one,
"William Clark is a federal ATF agent who does not have peace officer status under Virgin Islands law and therefore had no authority to enforce law including the domestic violence statutes," said Sara Lezama, a spokeswoman for the Virgin Islands Department of Justice.

As a private citizen, Clark was authorized to carry a gun and use reasonable force to defend himself and others, Lezama said. But Sukow "did not inflict bodily harm on anyone the morning he was shot," she said
I took a quick look around and found this on VI firearms law:
"A license is required to possess, transport, or carry a firearm. A purchase coupon is issued to a license applicant when the application is approved. The weapon purchased is brought in to the firearms unit of the Virgin Islands Police Department. Information about the weapon is recorded and listed on the license issued to the applicant."
The statement would indicate that Clark had gotten a permit to carry; but if he was a federal agent working in his area he wouldn't need one, would he? Which means he was carrying and acting as a private citizen, as Lezama says. Which would throw out the argument from one of our favorite statists, Sen. Schumer:
"It is well recognized that federal law enforcement officers are immune from state criminal liability for actions that are taken within the scope of their employment as federal officers," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, wrote in a letter to Gov. de Jongh. "That principle... applies with equal force in United States territories."

The Clark prosecution "has the potential to create a chilling effect on the operation of federal law enforcement throughout the United States' territories," Schumer wrote
Can't have it both ways, Chucky;if he was there on duty he wouldn't need a locally-issued permit to carry, and if he wasn't then he should have no more immunity for his actions than any other citizen. For that matter, the 'immune from state criminal liability' is the kind of bullshit that's helped create the "We are FEDERAL Only Ones" attitude that causes such problems, and a lot of us are heartily sick of it(Horiuchi, etc.). If this guy being prosecuted causes federal agents to pay more attention to local law, I don't really see that as a bad thing.

Be interesting to see how this pans out.

Thanks to RNS for pointing to this.

1 comment:

kahr40 said...

I don’t think Federal Law Enforcement should be exempt from criminal liability when they violate local laws under color of badge or otherwise. Those that enforce the law aren’t above it. In this case, it looks to me like legitimate self-defense. I hope the jury sees it that way as well.