Bond v. United States

United States Supreme Court

134 S. Ct. 2077 (2014)

A federal statute will not be interpreted to apply to state crimes unless Congress has clearly intended it.

Relevant Facts

Bond (the defendant) learned that Haynes was pregnant with her husband’s child. As a microbiologist, the defendant had access to arsenic and potassium dichromate, a toxic chemical mix that was capable of causing death. The defendant went to Haynes’s home on several occasions for over a year and spread the chemicals on Haynes’s car, mailbox, and doorknob. Haynes was able to avoid contact with the toxic chemicals, but the defendant was caught on camera spreading the chemicals around Haynes’s home.

The defendant was charged with possession and use of a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Implementation Act, 18 U.S.C. §229, prohibiting the possession or use of any chemical that can cause death or temporary or permanent harm to another if not intended for a peaceful purpose. The Chemical Weapons Implementation Act implemented the Chemical Weapons Convention, a multilateral treaty meant to prohibit the development and use of chemical weapons by all parties to the treaty.

The defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that §229 exceeded Congress’s constitutional power and unconstitutionally overstepped into powers reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment. The motion was denied, and the defendant accepted a conditional guilty plea.

The appeals court held that the defendant lacked standing to raise the Tenth Amendment claim. The United States Supreme Court reversed, and on remand, the appeals court rejected the defendant’s substantive attack on her conviction. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine the constitutionality of applying §229.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

January 6, 2021

Judicial Opinion

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Procedural History

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Citations

134 S. Ct. 2077 (2014)