|9-63.100||Aircraft Piracy and Related Offenses|
|9-63.110||Interference with Flight Crew Members and Attendants|
|9-63.135||Negotiated Pleas for Aircraft Piracy Within the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States|
|9-63.161||Prosecution Policy for Carrying Weapons or Explosives Aboard Aircraft (49 U.S.C. §§ 46314 & 46505)|
|9-63.171||Prosecution Policy for False Information (49 U.S.C. &$167 46507(1))|
|9-63.181||Prosecution Policy for Aircraft Piracy Outside the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States (49 U.S.C. § 46502(b))|
|9-63.200||Destruction of Aircraft and Motor Vehicles and Related Offenses (18 U.S.C. § § 31 - 35)|
|9-63.221||Prosecutive Policy for 18 U.S.C. § 32(b)|
|9-63.231||Prosecutive Policy for Threats to Destroy Aircraft|
|9-63.241||Prosecutive Policy for Destruction of Motor Vehicles—18 U.S.C. § 33|
|9-63.251||Prosecutive Policy for Imparting or Conveying False Information (Bomb Hoax)—18 U.S.C. § 35|
|9-63.514||Prosecutions Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)|
|9-63.515||Scienter Standards in National Firearms Act Violations and Other Firearms Offenses|
|9-63.516||Charging Machinegun Offenses Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(o), Instead of Under the National Firearms Act|
|9-63.517||Supreme Court Decision in Bailey v. United States|
|9-63.900||Federal Explosives Statutes—18 U.S.C. § § 841 - 848|
|9-63.902||Restraint in Exercise of Federal Jurisdiction|
|9-63.922||Limitation on Use of Section 844(e) (Bomb Threat)|
|9-63.1100||Tampering with Consumer Products—18 U.S.C. § 1365|
|9-63.1110||Tampering with Consumer Products—Prosecutive Policy|
|9-63.1200||Gangs and Gang-Related Youth Violence—Approval/Consultation Requirements|
|9-63.1205||Death Penalty Protocol|
9-63.010 - Overview
This chapter focuses on the investigation and prosecution of several federal criminal offenses including: aircraft piracy, destruction of aircraft, and firearms offenses. The Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division has supervisory authority over the offenses in this chapter, unless otherwise noted. See JM 9-130.200 (the Organized Crime and Gang Section has supervisory authority over some offenses in this chapter if they involve organized crime or labor/management disputes).
9-63.100 - Aircraft Piracy and Related Offenses
Sections 46502, 46504, 46505, 46506, and 46507 of Title 49, United States Code, (formerly section 1472(i) through (n) of Title 49 Appendix) set forth the offenses of aircraft piracy and attempted piracy while in flight within or outside the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, interference with flight crew members or flight attendants while in flight within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, carrying weapons or explosives aboard an aircraft, conveyance of false information or threats regarding certain offenses prohibited by 49 U.S.C. §§ 46502, 46504, 46505, 46506, and 46507 and certain common law offenses.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 538 (formerly 49 U.S.C. App. § 1472(o)), criminal violations of the aircraft piracy and related offense provisions are investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). See Pub. L. 103-272, § 4(e)(1), 108 Stat. 1361. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also has administrative responsibility to prevent and, where warranted, to punish such offenses by civil penalties. When linked to terrorism, the aircraft piracy and related offenses are supervised by the Counterterrorism Section (CTS) of the National Security Division. Otherwise, the Criminal Division, Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section should be contacted.
9-63.110 - Interference with Flight Crew Members and Attendants
Section 46504 of Title 49, United States Code (formerly section 1472(j) of Title 49 Appendix) sets forth the offense of interference with a flight crew member or flight attendant within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which is defined in 49 U.S.C. § 46501(2). The statute applies to any "individual on an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States who, by assaulting or intimidating a flight crew member or flight attendant of the aircraft, interferes with the performance of the duties of the member or attendant or lessens the ability of the member or attendant to perform those duties." The statute provides for up to 20 years imprisonment, and further provides for imprisonment for any term of years or life if a dangerous weapon is used. Interference with a flight crew member or attendant is a general intent crime, and does not require a specific intent either to intimidate the flight crew member or attendant or to interfere with t he performance of his or her duties. United States v. Grossman, 131 F.3d 1449 (11th Cir. 1997).
Venue is governed by the standard venue provisions, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3237 and 3238 and Rule 18, Fed.R.Crim.Proc. See also United States v. Hall, 691 F.2d 48 (1st Cir. 1982). "[T]he offense continues for at least as long as the crew are responding directly, and in derogation of their ordinary duties, to the defendant's behavior." United States v. Hall, 691 F.2d at 50. Prosecution is always proper in the district over which the aircraft was flying when the interference took place, if that can be determined. In many cases, particularly those in which either (1) the aircraft is diverted due to the defendant's actions, (2) the defendant's interfering actions continue, or (3) the crew remains concerned about defendant's possible further actions, venue is also proper in the district in which the aircraft lands. Since determining the district over which the aircraft was flying when the action took place may be difficult, and that district may have little or no connection to the matter, the Department advocates prosecution in the district where the aircraft lands and the defendant is deboarded and arrested in all appropriate cases.
The interference and other Title 49 aircraft offenses are supervised by the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division.
9-63.135 - Negotiated Pleas for Aircraft Piracy Within the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States
The Department advocates severe penalties for aircraft hijackers as a deterrent to future acts of piracy. Consequently, United States Attorneys must consult with the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division before dismissing, in whole or in part, an indictment, information, or complaint containing such charges or entering into any agreement to forego an air piracy prosecution under 49 U.S.C. § 46502(a) (formerly 49 U.S.C. App. § 1472(i))(aircraft piracy within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States) in favor of a guilty plea to a lesser offense or decides not to prosecute fully an act of air piracy. See also JM 9-16.020 (pleas, generally).
[cited in JM 9-63.181]
9-63.161 - Prosecution Policy for Carrying Weapons or Explosives Aboard Aircraft (49 U.S.C. §§ 46314 & 46505)
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pre-board screening procedures have resulted in the detection of increasingly large numbers of individuals who attempt to board aircraft with deadly or dangerous weapons concealed on their person or contained in accessible property.
In most cases, the offender has no prior criminal record, and there is no evidence that he or she intended to use the weapon to commit an offense aboard the aircraft. Nevertheless, the transportation of dangerous weapons into airport security areas is disruptive, diverts the time and attention of airport security personnel, and creates an unnecessary risk to the safety of the general public. Accordingly, federal felony prosecutions under 49 U.S.C. § 46314(b)(2) and 49 U.S.C. § 46505 are generally not warranted in these types of cases, but misdemeanor charges under 49 U.S.C. § 46314(b)(1) may be given consideration.
Specifically, the following guidelines should be considered when determining whether and how an airport weapons violation will be prosecuted.
Aggravated cases may be investigated and criminally prosecuted under 49 U.S.C. § 46314(b)(2) or 49 U.S.C. § 46505. Such aggravated cases may include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
The offender has endeavored by obvious and deliberate measures to preclude detection of a concealed weapon on his/her person or in his/her carry-on baggage;
- Evidence available indicates that the offender intended to use the weapon in the commission of an offense; or
The weapon is any type of explosive or incendiary device, which includes devices using gasoline or similar flammable liquids, binary liquids, and other hazardous materials.
In other cases, federal misdemeanor charges under 49 U.S.C. § 46314(b)(1) may be considered, although prosecutors should also consider whether state or local law enforcement authorities will accept a referral of the matter for investigation and potential prosecution, as well as the following mitigating factors:
The offender is not a law enforcement officer, but nevertheless possesses a valid permit to carry the weapon;
The offender has no criminal record, where the circumstances surrounding the offense are clearly extenuating in nature; or
The offender possesses items which are normally and acceptably used for a noncriminal purpose and which present only a marginal risk to the safety of the public.
An unaggravated weapons violation may not require further criminal investigation and may be referred initially to an appropriate law enforcement agency. An investigation or prosecution under this section involving the unaggravated transportation of a weapon into an airport security area is not subject to the prior approval, consultation, and notification requirements set forthat JM 9-90.020. Nothing in this policy precludes a referral of weapons violations to state or local authorities for investigation and prosecution.
A United States Attorney may also elect to seek a civil penalty pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 46303. In such cases, the matter should be referred to the nearest TSA Regulatory Compliance Field Office responsible for the airport for appropriate civil action. See JM 9-76.110. The civil penalty provision is one of strict liability. See United States v. Gutierrez, 624 F. Supp. 759 (E.D.N.Y. 1985).
9-63.171 - Prosecution Policy for False Information (49 U.S.C. &$167 46507(1))
Title 49 U.S.C. § 46507(1) makes it a crime to willfully and maliciously, or with reckless disregard for safety, convey false information, knowing such information to be false, concerning an attempt to do an act which would be a felony prohibited by various sections of Title 49.
To achieve uniform application of 49 U.S.C. § 46507(1) (formerly 49 U.S.C. App. § 1472(m)(1)), the following guidelines should be considered in determining whether an offense is to be prosecuted:
- Aggravated cases should be fully investigated and prosecuted. Such aggravated cases include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
- A hijacking hoax made by a person reporting the alleged hijacking and falsely attributing it to another; or
- False information not readily disclosed as such resulting in delay of the flight or inconvenience to airport employees and passengers.
- A hijacking hoax made by a person reporting the alleged hijacking and falsely attributing it to another; or
- Federal criminal prosecution under 49 U.S.C. § 46507(1) may be declined in the following instances:
- False statements made in the vicinity of the inspection point as a poor attempt at humor and suspected to be such by the individual to whom the statement is directed;
- Statements made by individuals who have no prior criminal record and made under circumstances that are clearly extenuating in nature; or
- Consistent with the considerations discussed above, cases in which the airlines do not deem the conduct of the individual to be of such seriousness as to warrant his/her removal from a flight or delay his/her travel schedule.
- False statements made in the vicinity of the inspection point as a poor attempt at humor and suspected to be such by the individual to whom the statement is directed;
[cited in JM 9-63.231]
9-63.181 - Prosecution Policy for Aircraft Piracy Outside the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States (49 U.S.C. § 46502(b))
No United States Attorney may initiate a criminal investigation, commence grand jury proceedings, file an information or complaint, or seek the return of an indictment in matters involving overseas terrorism without the express authorization of the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. See JM 9-2.136 Once an approved indictment is returned, any disposition thereof shall be governed by the same criteria as that for a 49 U.S.C. § 46502(a) offense. See JM 9-63.135
9-63.200 - Destruction of Aircraft and Motor Vehicles and Related Offenses (18 U.S.C. § § 31 - 35)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates incidents involving possible violations of Chapter 2 of Title 18, United States Code. The Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division supervises offenses involving 18 U.S.C. §§ 31-35.
9-63.221 - Prosecutive Policy for 18 U.S.C. § 32(b)
Authorization shall be obtained from the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division before an indictment is returned alleging a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 32(b), the Aircraft Sabotage Act. This is consistent with the policy for 49 U.S.C 46502(b) (formerly 49 U.S.C.App. § 1472(n)), which relates to acts of air piracy committed against foreign civil aircraft which are outside the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States. See JM 9-2.136 and JM 9-63.181.
9-63.231 - Prosecutive Policy for Threats to Destroy Aircraft
Subsection (c) of Title 18, section 32 prohibits the willful imparting or conveying of threats to do anything to destroy or damage aircraft or aircraft facilities which would violate paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (a) or paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (b). The threat must be made "with an apparent determination and will to carry the threat into execution."
As with the offense of communicating false information regarding aircraft piracy (See JM 9-63.171), if there is no reason to believe that the individual has the motivation or ability to carry out the threat, there is no reason to expend the resources of the Federal government in criminally prosecuting such an individual. If, however, the threat is issued under circumstances where a reasonable person would believe that it would be carried out and the threat involves an action that would likely endanger the safety of the aircraft, such conduct should be prosecuted vigorously.
9-63.241 - Prosecutive Policy for Destruction of Motor Vehicles—18 U.S.C. § 33
Section 33 makes it a Federal crime willfully, with intent to endanger the safety of any person on board or anyone he/she believes may be on board, to disable, destroy, tamper with, or place or cause to be placed any explosive or other destructive substance in, upon, or in proximity to any motor vehicle which is used, operated, or employed in interstate or foreign commerce, or its cargo or material used or intended to be used in connection with its operation.
Section 33 of Title 18 is not intended to "federalize" every attack upon a commercial motor vehicle. Damaging a motor vehicle with the intent of injuring the driver or any passenger on board would violate a number of State laws. It is the intent of the Congress that State authorities continue to play the principal role in this area. See S.Rep. No. 225, 98th Cong, 1 Sess., at 324, reprinted in 1984 U.S. Code Cong. and Adm. News at 3500. Understandings should be reached with State and local authorities reflecting the limited nature of the Federal role. Questions concerning this statute should be directed to the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division , except for questions concerning its application in labor-management disputes, which should be directed to the Labor-Management Unit of the Organized Crime and Gang Section. See JM 9-130.200
[cited in JM 9-130.200]
9-63.251 - Prosecutive Policy for Imparting or Conveying False Information (Bomb Hoax)—18 U.S.C. § 35
Section 35 of Title 18 provides civil and criminal felony provisions for the conveyance of false information regarding attempts or alleged attempts to destroy, damage, or disable aircraft, aircraft related facilities or motor vehicles and their related facilities.
The Department believes that civil penalties are an effective punishment for the disruption caused by pranksters and jesters who falsely report the presence of bombs or explosives aboard aircraft. Under 18 U.S.C. § 35(a), willfulness need not be shown and the penalty will be recoverable even if the false report was the result of a poor attempt at humor, irritation or fatigue. See United States v. Rutherford, 332 F.2d 444 (2d Cir., cert. denied, 377 U.S. 994 (1964); United States v. Sullivan, 329 F.2d 755 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 377 U.S. 1005 (1964).
The essence of the "impart or convey information" element is the impression created in the minds of those who hear the remark and observe the person making it. These impressions should be tested under the objective standard of what reasonable persons would conclude from the words actually spoken, and from the conduct and demeanor of the speaker. In general, the civil penalty should not be sought where the words amounted to an inquiry, conjecture or speculation, as distinguished from an affirmative imparting of information. Also, if an action is to be initiated, the statement should not be inherently unbelievable and the speaker's conduct and deportment should be consistent with his/her words. However, even if the speaker follows his/her false report with an immediate disclaimer of malevolent intent, he/she has aroused suspicion or doubt which, in the interest of the travelling public's safety, cannot be ignored. A civil penalty should be sought under these circumstances. See H.R. Rep. No. 263, 89th Cong., 1 Sess., pp. 1-2 (1965). As a matter of practice, the maximum penalty under the statute should be sought.
In the interest of uniformity, Departmental policy requires that all civil penalty actions under 18 U.S.C. § 35(a) be brought in the district in which the defendant resides. This policy comports with the general practice followed by other Divisions when enforcing civil sanctions.
[updated January 2020]
9-63.260 - Death Penalty
As of September 13, 1994, 18 U.S.C. § 34 carries a viable death penalty for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 32 or § 33 where death results to any person. It is necessary that the Attorney General approve all recommendations by Federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty. See JM 9-10.000 (capital crimes).
9-63.500 - Firearms Generally
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has primary investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Federal firearms statutes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Postal Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service may exercise investigative jurisdiction over violations of Federal firearms statutes when such violations are ancillary to investigations within their jurisdiction. The Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Criminal Division exercises supervisory jurisdiction over the Federal firearms statutes.
See also JM 9-60.1100 (discussion of firearms offenses in the context of domestic violence (18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(8) and (9)).
9-63.514 - Prosecutions Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)
In most prosecutions under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), the defendant is a previously convicted felon who is in possession of a firearm. However, some cases involve weapons possession by a defendant who simultaneously maintains more than one disqualifying status under § 922(g). For example, a defendant may be both a convicted felon and a fugitive from justice, or a convicted felon and an illegal alien. By memorandum dated November 3, 1992, the Criminal Division provided policy guidance to the United States Attorney's Offices on the propriety of charging and convicting a defendant who falls under more than one class of persons disqualified from possessing firearms under § 922(g).
In substance, it is appropriate to charge a defendant who has multiple disqualifying factors with a separate count of unlawful weapons possession under § 922(g) for each disqualifying status. In addition, it is appropriate to present evidence to the factfinder regarding each disqualifying status and to seek a verdict on each separate count. However, because § 922(g) was designed to prohibit the possession of firearms by individuals Congress deemed dangerous, and not to punish such persons solely for having a certain status under the law, a defendant should not be punished separately under two or more separate subdivisions of § 922(g) for a single instance of unlawful weapons possession.
Federal prosecutors should not seek consecutive or concurrent sentences in this situation. Rather, the government should urge the court to "merge" or "combine" the multiple § 922(g) convictions based on different statuses into one conviction for sentencing purposes. See United States v. Throneburg, 921 F.2d 654, 657 (6th Cir. 1990) (merging separate convictions under § 922(g)(1) for possession of firearm and ammunition for sentencing purposes); United States v. Osorio Estrada, 751 F.2d 128, 135 (2d Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 830 (1985) ("combining" separate convictions under 21 U.S.C. §§ 848 and 846).
The merger or combining of the convictions under separate subdivisions of § 922(g) achieves several salutary effects. First, it protects the government's interest in safeguarding the validity of each conviction on appeal, should the defendant challenge his inclusion in one of the disqualifying statuses charged in the indictment. See United States v. Aiello, 771 F.2d 621, 634 (2d Cir. 1985) (procedure provides for reactivation of combined or merged conviction if appellate court reverses single conviction for which defendant was sentenced). Second, it assures that the defendant is not punished inappropriately solely for having a certain status under the law. See United States v. Winchester, 916 F.2d 601, 605-08 (11th Cir. 1990) (ruling that it is inappropriate to sentence a defendant with two disqualifying statuses to consecutive terms of imprisonment for a single instance of unlawful weapons possession).
9-63.515 - Scienter Standards in National Firearms Act Violations and Other Firearms Offenses
In Staples v. United States, 114 S. Ct. 1793, 1804 (1994), the Supreme Court ruled that, to obtain a conviction for an unregistered automatic weapon, in violation of the National Firearms Act (NFA) (26 U.S.C. § 5861(d)), the government must prove that the defendant knew of the features or characteristics of the weapon that brought it within the scope of the criminal proscription. In the wake of the Staples decision, the Solicitor General's Office has concluded that the government should take the position that in all cases prosecuted under the NFA, the government must prove that the defendant knew the features of the firearm that brought it within the scope of the Act. The Criminal Division has issued a memorandum to all United States Attorneys explaining this policy, and has provided suggested jury instructions regarding the knowledge element of a violation of the NFA.
In addition to NFA violations, the Criminal Division believes that the same scienter standard should apply to 18 U.S.C. § 922(o), which makes it unlawful to transfer or possess a machinegun. In such cases, prosecutors should anticipate the requirement that they must prove the defendant's knowledge that the firearm at issue was a machinegun, and they should accede to defense requests for an instruction requiring a finding of such knowledge.
9-63.516 - Charging Machinegun Offenses Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(o), Instead of Under the National Firearms Act
Section 922(o) of Title 18 makes it unlawful to transfer or possess a machinegun made after May 19, 1986. In addition, under the NFA, it is unlawful to manufacture or possess a machinegun without first registering it with the Secretary of the Treasury and paying applicable taxes. 26 U.S.C. §§ 5822, 5861. As a result of the enactment of 18 U.S.C. § 922(o), the Secretary of the Treasury no longer will register or accept any tax payments to make or transfer a machinegun made after May 19, 1986. Accordingly, because it is impossible to comply with the registration and taxation provisions in the NFA, prosecutors should charge the unlawful possession or transfer of a machinegun made after May 19, 1986 under § 922(o).
9-63.517 - Supreme Court Decision in Bailey v. United States
Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1), a person who "during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime . . . . uses or carries a firearm" is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence. In Bailey v. United States, 116 S. Ct. 501 (1995), the Supreme Court held that conviction of a defendant for "use" of a firearm under § 924(c) requires "evidence sufficient to show an active employment of the firearm by the defendant." Id. at 505. The Court rejected the government's contention that storing a weapon near drugs or placing a firearm where it is available for use during a drug transaction constitutes "use" of a firearm under § 924(c). The Court explained that "use" under § 924(c)(1) only "includes brandishing, displaying, bartering, striking with, and most obviously, firing or attempting to fire, a firearm." Id. at 508.
The decision in Bailey substantially altered prior law concerning the evidence necessary to establish "use" under § 924(c). To assist Federal prosecutors in dealing with the many ramifications of the decision, the Criminal Division sent a memorandum to all U.S. Attorneys, dated December 13, 1995. Please refer to this memorandum for advice on Bailey-related issues, including challenges to prior convictions, and current and future cases prosecuted under § 924(c).
9-63.900 - Federal Explosives Statutes—18 U.S.C. § § 841 - 848
Three investigative agencies have potential primary jurisdiction to investigate violations under the Federal explosives law: (1) the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); (2) the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and (3) the Postal Inspection Service. The FBI and ATF have concurrent statutory authority to investigate violations of § 844(d)-(i), pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 846, and have negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) delineating their respective roles. As a result of this MOU, ATF has primary jurisdiction to investigate regulatory violations of the explosives statute (§ 842); offenses against property used in commerce or affecting commerce (§ 844(i)); violations directed at Treasury buildings or functions; and, unless the explosives are mailed, interstate transportation of explosives with unlawful intent (§ 844(d)). The FBI has primary jurisdiction to investigate most other violations of § 844 (e.g., bomb threats under § 844(e), bombings or arsons of Federal buildings under § 844(f)), except those involving the use of explosives or the carrying of explosives in commission of a felony (§ 844(h)), which will be investigated by the agency having jurisdiction over the underlying felony. Unless otherwise directed by the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is responsible for exercising primary jurisdiction over all § 844 violations perpetrated by terrorist or revolutionary groups or individuals carrying out terrorist or revolutionary activities. The Postal Inspection Service has primary jurisdiction to investigate violations of 18 U.S.C. § 844 which are directed at United States Postal Service property or functions. See 39 U.S.C. § 404(a)(7).
9-63.902 - Restraint in Exercise of Federal Jurisdiction
The Criminal Division interprets 18 U.S.C. § 848 as a statement of congressional intent that the Federal government— absent a specific Federal interest—will not become involved in bombing matters that can be adequately investigated and prosecuted by local authorities. This interpretation of congressional intent is confirmed by the congressional hearings which led to passage of the Federal explosives statute, wherein Administration witnesses testified that Federal jurisdiction would be exercised only upon a determination by the Attorney General or his/her designee that a Federal prosecution is in the public interest. The members of the congressional committees were explicitly assured that the Department of Justice would not displace the efforts of State and local officials in bombing matters. Accordingly, Federal prosecutors should coordinate with state/local law enforcement authorities before commencing a Federal prosecution.
9-63.922 - Limitation on Use of Section 844(e) (Bomb Threat)
Section 844(e) is a specific intent offense that prohibits the use of the mails, telephone, or other instruments of interstate or foreign commerce to make threats or convey false information. As amended by the Antiterrorism Act of 1996, § 724, 110 Stat. at 1300, section 844(e) also prohibits whoever, "in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce," makes false bomb or arson reports. Id.
The provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 844(e) should not be used unless a substantial Federal interest is involved. For example, section 844(e) should not be used in a situation involving a bomb threat by a student against a school, or by an employee of an organization other than the Federal government. These types of cases should be deferred to State or local authorities whenever possible. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been instructed to decline investigation of § 844(e) violations unless the identity of the offender is readily ascertainable or known, or a pattern or plan of these offenses appears to exist.
9-63.1100 - Tampering with Consumer Products—18 U.S.C. § 1365
The Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division has supervisory authority over consumer product tampering offenses.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has investigative responsibility for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1365. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture also have investigative responsibilities for various aspects of this offense. The Department of Agriculture's responsibility is in the area of meat, poultry, and eggs. The FDA's responsibility covers other food items, drugs, devices, and cosmetics. Investigative understandings between the FBI, FDA, and Agriculture have been developed. The FBI's primary focus will be on those matters involving life endangering tampering, threatened tampering, tampering accompanied by an extortion demand, and a tainting intended to cause, and a false claim resulting in, serious injury to a product's reputation.
9-63.1110 - Tampering with Consumer Products —Prosecutive Policy
The Federal Anti-Tampering Act, Pub.L. No. 98-127, 97 Stat. 831, October 13, 1983, created section 1365 of Title 18, United States Code, which makes it an offense to tamper with consumer products or to engage in related conduct. It was enacted in response to the Tylenol poisoning deaths in the Chicago area in the fall of 1982.
As in the past, State and local authorities will continue to play a large and significant role in the investigation and prosecution of alleged tampering. The Federal Anti-Tampering Act does not preempt prosecution by State and local authorities for conduct which would be in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1365. Hence, referral to such authorities is appropriate when no significant Federal interest requires vindication (e.g., in an isolated instance, when there is no serious impact upon commerce, when the wrongdoer has been identified and State or local authorities are prepared to handle the case, etc.).
9-63.1200 - Gangs and Gang-Related Youth Violence— Approval/Consultation Requirements
There are no specific notification, consultation, or prior approval requirements that apply exclusively to gang investigations or prosecutions. However, there are some statutes which may be used in many different types of cases, including gang violence cases, which require prior approval, consultation, or notification. They include the following:
- RICO (18 U.S.C. § 1961): Prosecutors must obtain the prior approval of the Criminal Division, Organized Crime and Gang Section (OCGS). See JM 9-110.320.
- Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (18 U.S.C. § 1959): Prosecutors must obtain the prior approval of the Criminal Division, Organized Crime and Gang Section (OCGS). See JM 9-110.801.
- "Three Strikes" (18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)): When filing a Three Strikes case, send an Urgent Report to the attention of the Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA). The Organized Crime and Gang Section is available to assist in handling the issues arising out of the Three Strikes provision. See JM 9-60.020 for additional information about "Three Strikes."
In a June 19, 1995 memorandum from the Assistant Attorney General, changes were made to the JM relating to notification, consultation and approval requirements. The changes which may arise in the gang context include:
- Consultation is no longer required in:
- Hobbs Act cases (18 U.S.C. § 1951) in which local prosecutor objects to prosecution
- Murder for Hire (18 U.S.C. § 1958) in which local prosecutor objects to prosecution
Criminal Division approval to proceed against juvenile as an adult is no longer required. In place of Department approval, notification to Criminal Division is required prior to filing any motion to transfer to adult proceeding (notify the Organized Crime and Gang Section attorneys. See JM 9-8.000 et seq. (Juveniles)).
Consultation is no longer required prior to charging defendant with the Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) statute's (21 U.S.C. § 848) mandatory life sentence provision.
9-63.1205 - Death Penalty Protocol
A number of statutes used in gang prosecutions require compliance with the Department's "Death Penalty Protocol," which was established on January 27, 1995. In all cases for which death is a possible penalty (regardless of whether a district intends to seek the death penalty), a prosecution memorandum and death penalty evaluation must be submitted. See JM 9-10.000.
9-63.1220 - Youth Violence
Experience has shown that prosecutors cannot afford to ignore the juvenile gang members. If only the adult members of the gang are investigated and prosecuted, juveniles will fill the void and the gang will survive. If a gang is being prosecuted federally, it may also be ill-advised to proceed with local prosecutions of the juveniles, unless the juveniles are pleading guilty and cooperating. A concurrent State or local prosecution requires repeated exposure of witnesses, which presents security concerns.
In a May 13, 1996 memorandum from the Attorney General (and others) to all United States Attorney Offices and Department of Justice law enforcement agencies a youth violence initiative was announced. The memorandum provides specific guidance to United States Attorneys' Offices. Prosecutors involved in the implementation of the strategies outlined in this memorandum are encouraged to call upon the expertise of the various components of the Department, and to share successful strategies with the Violent Crime Coordinator, Seth Adam Meinero, with the Office of Legal and Victim Programs, Executive Office of United States Attorneys.
See also JM 9-8.000 (Juveniles).
[updated October 2016]