Completing the reading assignment on the Chapter of Jurisdiction, I took especial notice of three things. The first aspect I took especial interest was how in court matters, every detail and goal has to be met and proved in order for a trial to flow successfully without any disturbances from both the defendant and the prosecutor. Secondly, during the class discussion I began to see the difference of opinions that arose during the subject of Jurisdiction.
Class divisions took place, enabling me to learn different points of view of this topic. Finally, an aspect I took notice of was a more personal notice. I realized that I didn’t know as much as I thought about the court system and its jurisdiction and prosecution rules and this is why I chose the topic of Jurisdiction over the Offense and the Person charged.
Jurisdiction over the Offense and the Person charged refers to the fact that “When a state of the federal government issues a criminal complaint and seeks to commence a criminal action, it must allege and prove that the court has jurisdiction not only over the offense (or offenses) charged, but also the defendant’s person. ” Furthermore, the defendant has the right to solicit their trial take place on the place where their criminal actions actually took place and deny other courts, such as the Federal Court any intervention unless the matter is considered as a National matter.
The 1992 case Hawaii v. Meyers reflects this type of jurisdiction very well, more specifically subject-matter jurisdiction. Catherine Meyers was accused by the state court of Hawaii of terroristic threatening in the first degree through her probation officer Elva Higashi towards Judge Michael Town and his family. The court defined terroristic threatening by saying that these types of threats included threat by word, conduct, physical harm, or serious damage of another or do some kind of felony.
“Meyers conveyed to Higashi numerous threats aimed at Judge Michael Town and his family. Meyers told Higashi: (1) she planned to machine gun Judge Town's office and would take down as many people as she could in the process; (2) she would "get a killer to kill him" if she could not get Judge Town off the bench; (3) she would "get" Judge Town's children if she could not "get" him; and (4) that there would be "lots of murders" and if she gets turned down again, she could hire a lot of people to kill.
”… “Apparently the motivation underlying these threats was due to the fact that several years earlier Judge Town had granted permanent guardianship of Meyers's daughter to the daughter's foster parents because of Meyers's unfitness and mental instability…” Later on, as the State Court of Hawaii began to try the case, Meyers filed an appeal, demanding that her case be tried in California where her phone call to her probation officer actually took place but the court rejected this because she took action in Hawaii not California.
The question here now was if the state of Hawaii truly held jurisdiction over Catherine Meyer’s case or if the case was to be passed over to the Californian court. “An accused's actual presence in a state at the time the crime is committed, however, is not necessary to establish subject matter jurisdiction: "Acts done outside a jurisdiction, but intended to produce and producing detrimental effects within it, justify a state in punishing the cause of the harm as if he had been present at the effect, if the state should succeed in getting him within its power. " Strassheim v.
Daily, 221 U. S. 280, 285 (1911) Due to this train of thought and statement, the Hawaii court rejected Meyer’s demand and continued to prosecute her case in Hawaii, arguing that because the call was taken in Hawaii that makes the action executed in the state of Hawaii. Overall, the class discussions regarding this topic made me feel outspoken and made me question why certain things had to be the way they were. The subject of law and jurisdiction always brings issues of controversy open for civil discussion and for me it has always arisen the question of “why?
” When I see a case on the news or on the newspaper and see the injustice of the law take place I would always get angry and ask myself what I would do as a lawyer and notice that the evidence was right there for a conviction. Many times, I consider that this occurs due to corruption and how some governments corrupt their enforcement in order to appeal to a higher house of power or authority. Because of this, innocent people pay the price, and the people who do have to pay the price, are left free to go.
Sometimes, this makes me feel sad because I feel there is no true justice that stands up to the values, both moral and social that it’s supposed to have. It makes me question what it will have to take for many governments and law enforcement agencies to prioritize themselves with the people that really need it. As Horace Gray once said “Every citizen or subject of another country, while domiciled here, is within the allegiance and the protection, and consequently subject to the jurisdiction, of the United States”.