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Charles Andrew Fowler, aka Man v. U.S., USSC No. 10-5443, Cert Granted 11/15/10


Decision below (CTA 11)

Question Presented  (phrasing by On Point; check Docket or Scotusblog links for subsequent posting of official recitation)

Whether conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(a)(1)(C) (murder with intent to prevent a person from communicating information about federal offense to federal law enforcement officer or judge) requires proof of an ongoing or imminent federal investigation.

Scotusblog page

No immediately apparent implications for state practice in this grant. The question relates to proof, in a word, of the necessary federal nexus under the statute. The lower court, commensurate with majority rule, thought that intent to prevent possible federal investigation sufficed; Fowler would require more, as in an ongoing, imminent, or likely federal investigation. Local federal practitioners may want to take note that the 7th appears to follow the majority rule, namely that “the presence of an investigation or judicial proceedings is immaterial as long as there is evidence that the defendant believed that a person might furnish information to federal officials and that he killed or attempted to kill that person in order to prevent such disclosure,” United States v. Edwards, 36 F.3d 639, 645 (7th Cir. 1994).

Update. The QP is now posted:

Whether a defendant may be convicted of murder under 18 U.S.C. §1512(a)(1 )(C) without proof that information regarding a possible Federal crime would have been transferred from the victim to Federal law enforcement officers or judges.

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