Title 18 of the United States Code is the main criminal code of the federal government of the United States. The Title deals with federal crimes and criminal procedure. In its coverage, Title 18 is similar to most U.S. state criminal codes, which typically are referred to by such names as Penal Code, Criminal Code, or Crimes Code. Typical of state criminal codes is the California Penal Code. Many U.S. state criminal codes, unlike the federal Title 18, are based on the Model Penal Code promulgated by the American Law Institute.
This statute covers a specific way to satisfy the Fifth Amendment (right to silence as a form of protection against self-incrimination) to the Constitution, but still force witnesses to testify. Basically, if a witness—whether in a federal court such as a United States District Court or in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee—refuses to answer questions and pleads the 5th, the presiding officer can use the provisions of Title 18 Chapter 601 to forcibly compel the witness to answer the questions. Since this would violate the 5th amendment rights of the witness, the statute requires that the presiding officer must mandatorily preserve those rights, by guaranteeing the witness immunity from prosecution for anything they might truthfully say under such compulsion. (The witness is being compelled to answer the questions truthfully—if they lie, they can be tried in court for perjury, but as long as they tell the truth, they are immune from being personally prosecuted for anything they might say—which is the reverse of the usual situation, where anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.)
Actually giving a particular witness guaranteed immunity as a means to compelling their testimony is somewhat involved; the details of how it is done vary depending on the particular branch of government hearing the testimony. If the witness is testifying before an agency (includes Army/Navy/AirForce/VA/DOD/HomeSec/StateDept, FCC/FTC, DOT/NTSB, DOE/NRC/COP/DeptOfTheInterior, SEC/CFTC/FedBoard/FDIC, NLRB/LaborDept/CommerceDept/AgDept, DOJ/Treasury, and many others), the presiding officer for the agency needs approval from the federal Attorney General before they can grant a witness immunity and compel testimony. In court cases, the federal district attorney (for the particular federal district court which has jurisdiction in the case) needs approval from either the federal attorney general directly or from a specific set of the federal attorney general's underlings. In the case of testimony before congress, the body hearing the testimony must vote on whether or not to give immunity as a means to compel testimony, before getting a federal district court to issue to compulsion order; for a subcommittee, two-thirds of the full membership must vote affirmative, whereas for testimony before an entire house of congress a simple majority of members present voting affirmative is acceptable. Although congress must notify the federal attorney general 10 days in advance of submitting their request for compulsion to the federal district court, the AG cannot veto the order (but they can at their option instruct the federal district court to delay issuing the compulsion order for a period up to 20 days total).
In the United States, bankruptcy is governed by federal law, commonly referred to as the "Bankruptcy Code" ("Code"). The United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4) authorizes Congress to enact "uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States." Congress has exercised this authority several times since 1801, including through adoption of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, as amended, codified in Title 11 of the United States Code and the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA).
Some laws relevant to bankruptcy are found in other parts of the United States Code. For example, bankruptcy crimes are found in Title 18 of the United States Code (Crimes). Tax implications of bankruptcy are found in Title 26 of the United States Code (Internal Revenue Code), and the creation and jurisdiction of bankruptcy courts are found in Title 28 of the United States Code (Judiciary and Judicial procedure).
Bankruptcy cases are filed in United States Bankruptcy Court (units of the United States District Courts), and federal law governs procedure in bankruptcy cases. However, state laws are often applied to determine how bankruptcy affects the property rights of debtors. For example, law governing the validity of liens or rules protecting certain property from creditors (known as exemptions), may derive from state law or federal law. Because state law plays a major role in many bankruptcy cases, it is often unwise to generalize some bankruptcy issues across state lines.Clemente Soto Vélez
Clemente Soto Vélez (1905 – April 15, 1993) was a Puerto Rican nationalist, poet, journalist and activist who mentored many generations of artists in Puerto Rico and New York City. Upon his death in 1993, he left a rich legacy that contributed to the cultural, social and economic life of Puerto Ricans in New York and Latinos everywhere.Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act
United States Senate Bill S.3804, known as the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was a bill introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on September 20, 2010. It proposed amendments to Chapter 113 of Title 18 of the United States Code that would authorize the Attorney General to bring an in rem action against any domain name found "dedicated to infringing activities", as defined within the text of the bill. Upon bringing such an action, and obtaining an order for relief, the registrar of, or registry affiliated with, the infringing domain would be compelled to "suspend operation of and lock the domain name."The bill was supported by the Motion Picture Association of America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Screen Actors Guild, Viacom, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States.It was opposed by organizations and individuals such as Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, the Distributed Computing Industry Association, Tim Berners-Lee, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a vote of 19-0 but never received a full vote on the Senate floor. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced he would take the steps necessary to halt COICA so it is not enacted into law in 2010, and was successful, effectively killing this bill and requiring it to be resubmitted and for it to make it through a new committee again in 2011 with a different makeup of its members. The Act was rewritten as the Protect IP Act.Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, or House Bill 38, is a bill that would amend Title 18 of the United States Code to require all U.S. states to recognize concealed carry permits granted by other states. It would also allow the concealed transport of handguns across state lines, so long as it is allowed by both states and would amend the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 to allow permit holders to carry a concealed weapon in school zones in any state.Criminal code
A criminal code (or penal code) is a document which compiles all, or a significant amount of, a particular jurisdiction's criminal law. Typically a criminal code will contain offences which are recognised in the jurisdiction, penalties which might be imposed for these offences and some general provisions (such as definitions and prohibitions on retroactive prosecution).Criminal codes are relatively common in civil law jurisdictions, which tend to build legal systems around codes and principles which are relatively abstract and apply them on a case by case basis. Conversely they are rare in common law jurisdictions.
The proposed introduction of a criminal code in England and Wales was a significant project of the Law Commission from 1968 to 2008. Due to the strong tradition of legal precedent in the jurisdiction and consequently the large number of binding legal judgements and ambiguous 'common law offences', as well as the often inconsistent nature of English law, the creation of a satisfactory code became very difficult. The project was officially abandoned in 2008 although as of 2009 it has been revived.A statutory Criminal Law Codification Advisory Committee for Irish criminal law met from 2007 to 2010 and its Draft Criminal Code and Commentary was published in 2011.In the United States, a Model Penal Code exists which is not itself law but which provides the basis for the criminal law of many states. Individual states often choose to make use of criminal codes which are often based, to a varying extent on the model code. Title 18 of the United States Code is the criminal code for federal crimes. However, Title 18 does not contain many of the general provisions concerning criminal law that are found in the criminal codes of many so-called "civil law" countries.
Criminal codes are generally supported for their introduction of consistency to legal systems and for making the criminal law more accessible to laypeople. A code may help avoid a chilling effect where legislation and case law appears to be either inaccessible or beyond comprehension to non-lawyers. Alternatively critics have argued that codes are too rigid and that they fail to provide enough flexibility for the law to be effective.
The term "penal code" (code pénal) derives from the French Penal Code of 1791.David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act
The David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 254) or David's Law, was a bill first introduced in the United States House of Representatives on January 7, 2009, by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, a biography for whom can be found here. It was designed to enhance Federal enforcement of laws regarding hate crimes, and to specifically make sexual orientation, like race and gender, a protected class.
The bill stated that existing Federal law was inadequate to address violence motivated by race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim. It called for the revision of Section 246* of title 18 of the United States Code as well as the addition of a subsection outlining the punishment for anyone found guilty of a hate crime. Statistics show that minority groups are the main victims of hate crimes. Crimes against gay men and lesbians are said, by researches in Los Angeles County, to be the most severe form of hate crimes. In summary, the bill's intention was to make illegal the willful harm or attempt to harm a person based on their actual or perceived gender or sexual orientationDriver's Privacy Protection Act
The Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994 (also referred to as the "DPPA"), Title XXX of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, is a United States federal statute governing the privacy and disclosure of personal information gathered by state Departments of Motor Vehicles.
The law was passed in 1994. It was introduced by democrat Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia in 1992, after an increase in opponents of abortion rights using public driving license databases to track down and harass abortion providers and patients. Prominent among such cases was physician Susan Wicklund, who faced protests and harassment including her house being picketed for a month. The law is currently codified at Chapter 123 of Title 18 of the United States Code.Federal crime in the United States
In the United States, a federal crime or federal offense is an act that is made illegal by U.S. federal legislation. Prosecution happens at both the federal and the state levels (based on the Dual sovereignty doctrine) and so a "federal crime" is one that is prosecuted under federal criminal law and not under state criminal law under which most of the crimes committed in the United States are prosecuted.
That includes many acts for which, if they did not occur on U.S. federal property or on Indian reservations or were not specifically penalized, would either not be crimes or fall under state or local law. Some crimes are listed in Title 18 of the United States Code (the federal criminal and penal code), but others fall under other titles. For instance, tax evasion and possession of weapons banned by the National Firearms Act are criminalized in Title 26 of the United States Code.
Numerous federal agencies have been granted powers to investigate federal offenses, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Secret Service.
Other federal crimes include mail fraud, aircraft hijacking, carjacking, kidnapping, bank robbery, child pornography, credit card fraud, identity theft, computer crimes, federal hate crimes, violations of the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), obscenity, tax evasion, counterfeiting, violations of the Espionage Act, violations of the Patriot Act, illegal wiretapping, art theft from a museum, damaging or destroying public mailboxes, electoral fraud, immigration offenses, and since 1965 in the aftermath of the President John F. Kennedy's assassination, assassinating or attempting assassination of the President or Vice President.In drug-related federal offenses, mandatory minimums can be enforced if federal law is implicated, when a defendant manufactures, sells, imports/exports, traffic, or cultivate illegal controlled substances across state boundaries or national borders. A mandatory minimum is a federally regulated minimum sentence for offenses of certain drugs.Prosecution guidelines are established by the United States Attorney in each federal judicial district and by laws that Congress has already established.Innocent owner defense
An innocent owner defense is a concept in United States law providing for an affirmative defense that applies when an owner claims that they are innocent of a crime and so their property should not be forfeited. It is defined in section 983(d) of title 18 of the United States Code (18 U.S.C. § 983(d)) and is part of the Code that defines forfeiture laws and more specifically the general rules for civil forfeiture proceedings. It states that the "claimant shall have the burden of proving that the claimant is an innocent owner by a preponderance of the evidence."
United States v. Liberty Avenue is a case in which the innocent owner defense was used. It can be claimed when the owner can prove that he had no knowledge of illegal activity or had not consented to the illegal activity. Many property owners choosing to assert the innocent owner defense are burdened by inconsistent judicial interpretation of the statutory phrase "without the knowledge or consent of that owner." Some jurisdictions give this phrase a conjunctive meaning by requiring an owner to prove both lack of knowledge and lack of consent to defeat a forfeiture. Other jurisdictions interpret the phrase disjunctively by allowing the owner to prove either lack of knowledge or lack of consent to defeat a forfeiture action. The question in the case was whether a property owner can assert the innocent owner defense on the basis of lack of consent even if he admits to having knowledge of the drug-related use of his property.The government argued that to assert the innocent owner defense successfully, the claimant must show both lack of knowledge and lack of consent. Claimant, on the other hand, asserted that lack of consent represents an independent way of satisfying the requirements of the innocent owner defense and so he could thus prevail by showing that he did not consent to the criminal use of his property.
The court concluded that a claimant could achieve innocent owner status by showing either that he lacked knowledge of or that he had not consented to the drug-related use of his property.In United States v. 92 Buena Vista a woman had purchased a home with money that her boyfriend had given her without knowledge that the money came from drug-trafficking. She claimed the innocent owner defense, but the court ruled that it applied to her as well even if it was later nullified by the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000. There are many jurisdictions that refuse to take any position, leaving the determination of the conjunctive or disjunctive question to the lower courts.
Moreover, courts have also inconsistently defined the statutory terms "knowledge" and "consent." The inconsistent judicial interpretation renders the standard for "innocence" under the innocent owner defense unclear.Intimate Privacy Protection Act
The Intimate Privacy Protection Act (IPPA) is a proposed amendment to Title 18 of the United States Code that would make it a crime to distribute nonconsensual pornography. The bill would "provide that it is unlawful to knowingly distribute a private, visual depiction of a person’s intimate parts or of a person engaging in sexually explicit conduct, with reckless disregard for the person's lack of consent to the distribution." The bill was introduced by Representative Jackie Speier in 2016.The proposed law explicitly would not forbid the use of such images in reports to law enforcement, the courts, corrections officers, intelligence services, nor in other cases of public interest (perhaps including responses to a public health problem). The definition of "sexually explicit" is inherited from existing laws, and "reckless" is to be interpreted by prosecutors. Interactive computer platform providers (such as Wikimedia or Facebook) are not considered violators of the law if users upload something that violates the law, unless the platform explicitly invites such content.The explicit protection ("safe harbor") for platform providers ("intermediaries") may have been inserted in response to requests by Google which had opposed an earlier version of the bill but supports the June 2016 one. The amendment has support from tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel. The ACLU does not favor the draft law because it imposes on free speech.Juan Antonio Corretjer
Juan Antonio Corretjer (March 3, 1908 – January 19, 1985) was a Puerto Rican poet, journalist and pro-independence political activist opposing United States rule in Puerto Rico.Making false statements
Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal process crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in "any matter within the jurisdiction" of the federal government of the United States, even by merely denying guilt when asked by a federal agent. A number of notable people have been convicted under the section, including Martha Stewart, Rod Blagojevich, Michael T. Flynn, Rick Gates, Scooter Libby, Bernard Madoff, and Jeffrey Skilling.This statute is used in many contexts. Most commonly, prosecutors use this statute to reach cover-up crimes such as perjury, false declarations, and obstruction of justice and government fraud cases.Its earliest progenitor was the False Claims Act of 1863. In 1934, the requirement of an intent to defraud was eliminated. This was to prosecute successfully, under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA), the producers of "hot oil", i.e. oil produced in violation of restrictions established by NIRA. In 1935, NIRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Pursuant to the decision in United States v. Gaudin, the jury is to decide whether the false statements made were material, since materiality is an element of the offense.Patrick Syring
William Patrick Syring, who uses his middle name, Patrick, (born August 30, 1957 in Toledo, Ohio), is a retired American career diplomat who was convicted of threatening and violating the civil rights of James Zogby, the president and founder, and other senior employees, of the Arab American Institute during the 2006 Lebanon War. Syring pleaded guilty to the charges June 12, 2008, was sentenced to one year in prison July 11, 2008, and was released early, in January 2009. Syring was again indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia on very similar alleged offenses on February 21, 2018. At Syring's arraignment on March 14, 2018, Syring pleaded not guilty before The Honorable Robin M. Meriweather, United States Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the District of Columbia . The Honorable Randolph Moss United States District Judge will preside at Syring's trial in March 2019.Preliminary hearing
Within some criminal justice systems, a preliminary hearing, preliminary examination, evidentiary hearing or probable cause hearing is a proceeding, after a criminal complaint has been filed by the prosecutor, to determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trial. At such a hearing, the defendant may be assisted by lawyer.Providing material support for terrorism
In United States law, providing material support for terrorism is a crime prohibited by the USA PATRIOT Act and codified in title 18 of the United States Code, sections 2339A and 2339B. It applies primarily to groups designated as terrorists by the State Department. The four types of support described are "training," "expert advice or assistance," "service," and "personnel."
In June 2010, the United States Supreme Court upheld the law in an as-applied challenge in the case Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, but also left open the door for other as-applied challenges. The plaintiffs in the case had sought to help the Kurdistan Workers' Party in Turkey and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam learn means of peacefully resolving conflicts.Reporting of child pornography images on Wikimedia Commons
On April 7, 2010, Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, sent a letter to the FBI stating that Wikimedia Commons was hosting child pornography under Title 18 of the United States Code. His accusations focused on images in the Lolicon and pedophilia categories, the latter of which contained explicit drawings of sexual acts between adults and children by French artist Martin van Maele (1863–1926).Shortly after Sanger posted the letter in public, criticism came in from multiple sources. This ranged from assertions that he had mislabeled lolicon as child pornography to the contention that his actions were an attack on the Wikimedia Foundation, caused by his history with Wikipedia and his own competing online encyclopedia, Citizendium. Sanger denied that the letter was an attempt to undermine Wikipedia, but did confirm it was an attempt to force a policy change for labeling or eliminating "adult" content on Wikipedia.
Things escalated when Fox News began reporting on the issue. In response Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, and other administrators began deleting images en masse, with Fox News reporting that a new policy change was underway. Days later Wales voluntarily relinquished his administrative powers on Commons under heavy criticism from the Wikimedia community. Fox News also received criticism for its handling of the reporting, especially for misrepresenting the situation regarding the self removal of administrative powers by Wales as leaving the Foundation without clear leadership.Theft from Interstate Shipment
Theft from Interstate Shipment is a legal classification used for Section 659 of Title 18 of the United States Code. It prohibits the theft or fraudulent acquisition of goods that are part of an interstate or international shipment, whether from the carrier or a holding area, and also the wilful buying, selling or possession of goods obtained in this way. Currently, if the value of the goods is under $100, it is punished as a misdemeanor; otherwise, it is a felony.Investigations of Theft from Interstate Shipment is covered under Classification 15 of the FBI's central records system. This classification was established in 1922.Theft from Interstate Shipment was particularly common in the Second World War, due to wartime shortages.Toxin
A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; synthetic toxicants created by artificial processes are thus excluded. The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849–1919), derived from the word toxic.Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that are capable of causing disease on contact with or absorption by body tissues interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes or cellular receptors. Toxins vary greatly in their toxicity, ranging from usually minor (such as a bee sting) to almost immediately deadly (such as botulinum toxin).United States Flag Code
The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of the national flag of the United States of America. It is Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq). This is a U.S. federal law, but the penalty described in Title 18 of the United States Code (18 U.S.C. § 700) for failure to comply with it is not enforced. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Eichman that the prohibition of burning the U.S. flag conflicts with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and is therefore unconstitutional.This etiquette is as applied within U.S. jurisdiction. In other countries and places, local etiquette applies.