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1570

Assaults on Postal Employees—18 U.S.C. § 1114

The amendment of 18 U.S.C. § 1114 which brought all Postal Service employees within the protection afforded in 18 U.S.C. § 111 creates Federal jurisdiction over a substantial number of offenses which do not normally call for Federal prosecution under the general guidelines discussed above. Accordingly, some special attention needs to be given to the processing of offenses in this area.

Consideration must be given to the selection of those investigations which will be presented to the United States Attorneys for their prosecutive determination. The Post Office inspectors will benefit from some guidance in this regard, for their reports are prepared differently depending upon whether presentation will be made to a U.S. Attorney or, as an alternative, to a local prosecutor. In addition, the presentment to and declination by a United States Attorney of prosecution in an investigation tends to lessen the ardor of a local prosecutor who is subsequently presented with the same investigation.

Care must be taken to distinguish the three different types of violations of 18 U.S.C. § 111 relating to postal employees. These types are: (1) those assaults involving postal inspectors; (2) those involving assaults on non-inspector postal employees by members of the public; and (3) those involving an assault by one postal employee upon another postal employee.

Postal inspectors are engaged in the investigation of cases and because of the importance of their investigative role all potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 111 involving postal inspectors should be presented to the United States Attorney's office rather than to a local prosecutor. The efficient operations of postal inspectors can be significantly impaired by forcible assaults or obstructions. Consequently, such instances should be considered high priority cases for prosecution.

With regard to the other two classes of assaults involving postal employees, only those involving forcible assault need be presented to a United States Attorney for evaluation. Incidents not involving physical abuse can best be handled by local courts as either civil or criminal proceedings, or by the administrative remedies of the Post Office Department. Accordingly, we have asked the Chief Postal Inspector's Office not to present to the United States Attorney's Office for evaluation those matters which do not involve physical injury which is of such substantial character that the extent of the injury can be demonstrated and conveyed to a jury in a trial in the event that such case is accepted for prosecution.

Even as to demonstrable physical assaults by members of the public on postal employees, the local courts may well afford a sufficient remedy. It is requested that the United States Attorney's Office evaluate and compare the capability of both the local and Federal courts to render an appropriate and expeditious remedy and such cases be accepted or declined for Federal prosecution according to that evaluation. It is not intended that the United States Attorney's Office accept for prosecution such physical abuse cases unless some significant deficiency in the local court remedy is apparent.

[cited in USAM 9-65.600]