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Criminal Resource Manual

662. Maritime, Territorial and Indian Jurisdiction -- Generally

Jurisdiction over most personal and property crimes within our Federal system is vested in the states. The Federal government enacts criminal laws primarily for the protection of its own functions (e.g., 18 U.S.C. §  1001); personnel (e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 1114); and property (e.g., 18 U.S.C. §  641). It intrudes into the area generally left to the states only where special circumstances warrant its providing auxiliary law enforcement assistance to the states unable to act beyond their borders (e.g., 18 U.S.C. §§ 659, 2113, 2314). For Federal jurisdiction to exist, the underlying conduct must be based upon or linked to some "nexus," such as use of the mail, 18 U.S.C. §  1341, interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. § 2314, or Federal insurance, 18 U.S.C. §  2113.

There are, in addition, certain instances in which the special relationship the United States Government bears to the site of the offense provides the rationale and basis for the exercise of plenary criminal jurisdiction. It is with this latter class of offenses that this chapter is concerned.

[cited in USAM 9-20.100]