Yellowstone's "Zone Of Death" Allows For Totally Legal Murder
Mike Cline/Wiki Commons
Of the 3,537,436 square miles of land that make up our humble little U.S. of A., murder is strictly verboten in 3,537,386 of them. In case you're too terrified to attempt math, that's a 50-mile difference. And those 50 miles where The Purge lasts all year long are in Yellowstone National Park, of all places. If a body kills a body comin' thro' the section of the park adorably nicknamed the "Zone Of Death," the law's currently at a loss for what to do.
Yellowstone Park Except dump the body in the volcano as an offering, so it doesn't kill the rest of us.
See, while most of Yellowstone is very much in Wyoming, there's about 50 square miles that peek out into ol' Spuds MacStatezie itself, Idaho. And according to the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, juries must be composed of people from the "state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed." So, if you kill someone in the Zone, your jury's a bunch of Idahobags, right? Nope, because Wyoming claims Yellowstone. So, it's a Wyoming jury, right? Nope, because the murder happened in Idaho. Maybe we just throw up our hands and say fuck it? Nope, because ... actually, yes. Precisely that.
In this case, the only legal solution would be to find 12 people (plus alternates) who live in the Zone Of Death. And, despite how living in the Zone Of Death would be the most metal fucking thing ever, a grand total of zero people currently do so. ZERO. That means no jury can be formed, no trial can be held, and the murderer goes free. At least until the family of the victim drags the murderer back to the Zone and legally shoots them dead, because the Wild Goddamn West is real, and it's seven hours east of Boise.
Daniel Mayer/Wiki Commons Above: Zone Of Deathers? Zone Of Deathians?
Thankfully, nobody has tested this loophole out yet. Less thankfully, nobody seems interested in closing it before somebody does. Law professor Brian Kalt discovered the Zone Of Death in 2005 and has since continually pitched lawmakers on closing it. He's had no luck so far. The Department Of Justice thinks the whole "jurors from the correct state" thing is a minor quibble at best, because apparently Constitutional amendments don't count after the first two. One politician even claimed that checks and balances would solve the problem, which isn't how checks and balances work. He would've made just as much sense and retained as much credibility by suggesting the bears of Yellowstone be the jury.
Please don't add "legal murder" to your vacation bucket list, please. But if something happens and you do, you didn't hear it from us. Tell the cops BuzzFeed sent you.
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