There is a 50-square-mile radius in Yellowstone National Park that has been dubbed the “Zone of Death” by Michigan State law professor Brian Kalt.
Well, due to a legal anomaly, technically someone could commit murder inside the area and not face any consequences.
The area of Yellowstone, which spills over the border from Wyoming to Idaho, is isolated. There are no roads and no permanent human inhabitants, which is where the trouble comes in to play. According to the Sixth Amendment, if you commit a crime, you are entitled to a jury comprised of people who live in the state and federal district where the crime was committed – your peers. But since the Zone of Death exists in Idaho but falls under Wyoming’s federal jurisdiction (and nowhere else does), that would be nigh impossible to pull off.
Which is sort of alarming, if you think about it – Professor Kalt felt the same way when he uncovered the loophole back in 2005. He even published a paper in the Georgetown Law Journal called “The Perfect Crime” and sent copies of his work to various government authorities in the hopes that they would do something about it.
I can feel you laughing at the futile ridiculousness of that hope. Please, take a minute.
Okay. Now, try not to be too shocked here, but nothing happened. At least, nothing happened in Washington. Other people with imaginations did take note, however, and the legal loophole inspired a novel (Free Fire by C.J. Box) in 2008 and a film (Population Zero) in 2016.
The more you know. Just in case.
h/t: Atlas Obscura
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