Power Struggle – Feds v. States

How much power does the federal government have to regulate matters that are ordinarily left up to the states unto themselves? That is the question the United States Supreme Court grappled with on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. The case giving rise to this issue involved a domestic violence dispute in which a Pennsylvania woman did not take it well when she learned that her husband was the father of her best friend’s child. Enraged, the woman relied on her vast knowledge and skills as a microbiologist to make her former best friend’s life a living hell; she spread harmful chemicals on the woman’s car, mailbox and doorknobs – the woman suffered only minor and superficial injuries from the chemical shenanigans.

More often than not cases of this nature are generally handled in state (not federal) criminal courts; the penalties associated with state cases are generally far less punitive than those penalties associated with federal cases. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Pennsylvania woman’s case was routed through the federal prosecutor’s office; the federal prosecutor charged the woman with the crime of using unconventional weapons in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 – a treaty that, for all intent and purposes, was created to deal with terrorists and rogue states.

Has the federal government gone too far? Is this about trying to create funds for our federal government; creating a “revenue source” by making those convicted of such crimes pay exorbitant fees, costs and assessments to supplement our federal coffers? In her appeal, the Pennsylvania woman argued that the federal government did not have the constitutional power to use a chemical weapons treaty to address a matter of a sort routinely handled by state authorities. The 10th Amendment to our United States Constitution states, in part, “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” So, has the federal government overstepped its bounds? Perhaps the Supreme Court of the United States will answer that question. Then again, maybe it won’t. Only time will tell. We will have to wait for the high court’s ruling on the Pennsylvania woman’s case. Until then, will the federal government continue to prosecute cases in the federal court system that until recently were charged only in our state court systems?  If so, why has there been a change in policy?

If you or a loved one is arrested, charged or being investigated for committing a crime, it is imperative that a Seattle criminal attorney be retained as soon as possible to ensure all personal, professional and financial interests are protected. Seattle criminal lawyers Greg Schwesinger and Saad Qadri of SQ Attorneys represent defendants and petitioners through all phases of their Washington State criminal case, including the investigatory stage. The Seattle criminal attorneys of SQ Attorneys are experienced and proven negotiators that make a world of difference for those accused of committing a crime. SQ Attorneys is a team of seasoned Seattle criminal lawyers that work tireless to achieve the best possible outcome for each and every client they have the honor of representing. Arrested in Western Washington? Being investigated in Western Washington? Call The Criminal Defense Team of SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900 or (425) 998-8384 for an initial free consultation.

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10.0Gregory Wayne Schwesinger
10.0Saad Qamer Qadri