New York Appellate Lawyer

48 Wall Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10005

Federal Criminal Appeals Throughout The United States and
New York State Criminal Appeals.

Located at 48 Wall Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY! 1-800-APPEALS (277-3257)

U.S Supreme Court To Feds: “Stay Out Of The States’ Business.”


N.Y. Appeals Criminal Case Feds Stay Out Of State's Business

Bond v. United States 

131 S.Ct. 2355

United States Supreme Court

Decided on: June 2, 2014

U.S Supreme Court To Feds: “Stay Out Of The States’ Business.”

See Also: Auto Stops: If The Police Smell It, You Can Not Deny It. A Search Of The Vehicle Is Permitted. 

Summary: Defendant Bond placed toxic chemicals on Myrlinda Haynes home. Haynes suffered a minor chemical burn on her thumb. Federal Prosecutors charged Bond with violating section 18 U.S.C § 229 of the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998. Bond moved to dismiss the chemical weapon charges stating that the Act violated the Tenth Amendments distinction between Federal powers and State powers to prosecute, that motion was denied. Bond pleaded guilty while preserving her right to appeal. The United States Supreme Court held that Section 18 U.S.C § 229 does not apply to Bond’s local assault charge because of the basic balance of Federalism and the Tenth Amendment limitation on Congress’ power.  This case was held to be a responsibility of the State.  Congress cannot pass a law making a Felony a federal case unless it derived that power from the U.S Constitution. The U.S Supreme Court reversed and remanded.

Issue: Whether the application of 18 U.S.C § 229 to include assaults using chemicals is an intrusion into the States powers of prosecution in violation of the Tenth Amendments limitation of federal government’s powers.

Holding: The Court held that Bonds feud-driven act of spreading irritating chemicals on the doorknob of her husbands lover is not classified as a Federal involvement use of a ‘chemical weapon’, under 18 U.S.C § 229 of The Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998; rather, it is a local assault that should be handled by Pennsylvania local Police. The Constitution leaves criminal activity primarily to the States unless Congress has clearly indicated that the law should have such reach. This case was held to be a violation of the Tenth Amendments protection against the liberty of individuals from arbitrary power.

Facts: Defendant Bond sought revenge for her husband’s lover, Mrylinda Haynes. Bond spread chemicals around Haynes home in hopes that she would develop an uncomfortable rash. Mrylinda suffered a minor chemical burn on her thumb.  Federal prosecutors charged bond with section 18 U.S.C § 229 which forbids the use of a person who knowingly posses or uses any chemical weapon. A chemical weapon is a toxic chemical and its precursors

Bond argued to dismiss the chemical weapons because of section 18 U.S.C § 229. She stated it violated the Tenth Amendment protection against arbitrary power of the Federal Government for a local State crime. The trial court denied her motion and Bond reserved her right to Appeal to The United States Supreme Court when she pleaded guilty.

Legal Analysis: The Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998 section 18. U.S.C § 229 was enacted by Congress concerning with acts of war, assassination and terrorism.  This Act was designed to protect our nation against chemical warfare, not against local assaults. As a basic principle of Federalism and our Constitutional structure, the Federal Government has limited jurisdiction to criminalize local activity, which has been the responsibility of the States.  This principle protects the liberty of the people against the arbitrary powers of government. The global need to prevent chemical warfare does not require the Federal Government to reach into the kitchen cupboards of all Americans.

Bond was a jilted wife who smeared toxic chemicals on her husband’s lover’s home. A toxic chemical is any chemical that can cause death, temporary incapacitation, or permanent harm to humans or animals. Bond had no intention to cause any type of injury to Haynes, other than to develop an uncomfortable rash. Haynes suffered a minor burn on her thumb that she treated by rinsing with water. The Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998 contains no such clear indication that this case dealt with crimes of deadly seriousness. The United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded.


Related Articles