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CRM 1000-1499

1034. Kidnapping—Federal Jurisdiction

Federal jurisdiction over kidnapping extends to the following situations: (1) kidnapping in which the victim is willfully transported in interstate or foreign commerce; (2) kidnapping within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; (3) kidnapping within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; (4) kidnapping in which the victim is a foreign official, an internationally protected person, or an official guest as those terms are defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1116(b); (5) kidnapping in which the victim is a Federal officer or employee designated in 18 U.S.C. §  1114; and (6) international parental kidnapping in which the victim is a child under the age of 16 years.

The kidnapping offense generally does not apply to matters involving the taking of a minor by a parent, except for 18 U.S.C. § 1204, international parental kidnapping. See JM 9-74.200 and this Manual at 1957. In such cases, the parent must have removed or retained a child under the age of 16 years outside of the United States with the intention to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights. Under § 1201, the term "parent" does not include those persons whose parental rights with respect to the victim child have been terminated by a final court order. See § 1201(h).

Title 18, U.S.C., section 1201(g) provides special rules for offenses involving children. Where the victim is under the age of 18 years and the offender has obtained such age and is not a parent, grandparent,brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or person having legal custody, sentencing levels are increased to reflect the severity of the treatment and situation in which the child has been placed.

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-132, § 721(f), 110 Stat. 1214, 1299, changed the statutory language of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(e), effective April 24, 1996, from "an internationally protected person" to "an internationally protected person outside the United States" and permits jurisdiction over the offense if "(1) the victim is a representative, officer, employee or agent of the United States, (2) an offender is a national of the United States, or (3) an offender is afterwards found in the United States." The definition of "national of the United States" has also been referenced in the amendment. See also 18 U.S.C. § 878: Threats and extortion against foreign officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons.

[cited in JM 9-60.100]