To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Legally Speaking, There Might Be One Place Where You Could Commit Murder And Get Away With It

Legally Speaking, There Might Be One Place Where You Could Commit Murder And Get Away With It

A legal expert believes there is a part of the US where you can't be prosecuted

Mike Wood

Mike Wood

Getting away with murder, if half of Netflix is to be believed, is really hard, but according to one theory, there is a place in the US where you could technically kill someone and walk free. That place is a 50-mile strip of land in Yellowstone National Park.

The park spreads across three US states: most of it in Wyoming, the top section in Montana, and southwest in Idaho - which is the reason behind the bizarre legal situation there.

TikTok user Chris Fahmy recently uploaded a video discussing it.

He says: "There is a place in the US where murder is 'legal', it's literally called the 'zone of death'.

"You see, this all takes place in Yellowstone National Park."

Explaining that the park crosses over three states, Chris says: "In all criminal proceedings in the US, the jury has to live in both the state and the district in which the crime takes place.

"In other words, if there's any crime that happens in this little strip of land, the jury in the trial has to be people that live in this little strip of land.

"The problem is that nobody lives there, so the case would get thrown out."

The theory was first shared by Brian C Kalt - law professor at Michigan State University College of Law, back in 2005.

He wrote a paper in which he explained the loophole, warning that it could mean someone is able to get away with murder.

Given the convoluted way in which US justice works, national parks are federal territory, and the trouble is that the park predates the three states in question.

"The park was established in 1872, well before the three states were added to the Union in 1889 and 1890," writes Kalt.

"When the states were admitted, each ceded exclusive jurisdiction of its portion of Yellowstone to the federal government. Yellowstone is a federal enclave, in other words, and the states cannot enforce state law there.

Yellowstone National Park comes under federal jurisdiction but crosses over three states.
Ryan Halliday/Creative Commons

"When Congress set up the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming, it must have seemed too much trouble to divide Yellowstone between Wyoming and two other districts, especially when crime was rampant in the park and going unpunished.

"Therefore, in a constitutionally fateful decision, Congress put the entire park in the District of Wyoming."

So how would it work in practice? Well...

"Say that you are in the Idaho portion of Yellowstone, and you decide to spice up your vacation by going on a crime spree," writes Kalt.

"You are arrested, arraigned in the park, and bound over for trial in Cheyenne, Wyoming, before a jury drawn from the Cheyenne area.

"But Article III, Section 2, plainly requires that the trial be held in Idaho, the state in which the crime was committed. Perhaps if you fuss convincingly enough about it, the case would be sent to Idaho.

"But the Sixth Amendment then requires that the jury be from the state (Idaho) and the district (Wyoming) in which the crime was committed.

"In other words, the jury would have to be drawn from the Idaho portion of Yellowstone National Park, which, according to the 2000 Census, has a population of precisely zero."

And while he said it might not work in a trial scenario, it could prove a strong defence come an appeal.

Kalt added: "[A defendant] could use that as a defence and it might work.

"It probably wouldn't work in a trial court, but on appeal, I think there is a good chance that it would."

But don't go and test that theory.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Community, Weird, USA