Supreme Court again takes up case of poisoned paramour

By Kimberly Atkins

Dolan Media Newswires

BOSTON, MA -- A year after ruling that a woman charged under an international treaty for the allegedly poisoning of her husband's paramour had standing to challenge the application of the law, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the merits of the case.

The case involves a defendant accused of waging a campaign of harassment against a woman whom the defendant's husband impregnated. The defendant's alleged actions included sprinkling a caustic chemical substance on the woman's mailbox and car door. Postal inspectors caught the defendant in the act of placing the poison on the mailbox and arrested her.

But rather than being charged with assault or other state criminal offenses, the woman was prosecuted for terroristic possession and use of a chemical weapon under 18 U.S.C. §229(a)(1), part of an international treaty designed to prosecute terrorists who use chemical weapons.

The defendant moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that the statute was beyond the federal government's enumerated powers.

A federal district court denied the motion and the 3rd Circuit affirmed, ruling that the defendant had no standing to make a Tenth Amendment challenge. But the Supreme Court unanimously reversed, holding that she had standing.

On remand, the 3rd Circuit affirmed her conviction. "While one may well question whether Congress envisioned the Act being applied in a case like this, the language itself does cover [the defendant's] criminal conduct," the court concluded.

The Supreme Court again granted the defendant's petition for certiorari. The case will be heard later this term or next term.

Bond v. U.S., No. 12-158.Certiorari granted: Jan. 18, 2013. Ruling below: 681 F.3d 149 (3rd Cir. 2012).

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Published: Thu, Jan 31, 2013

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