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Modern Criminal Justice - Further Expansion Of Federal Criminal Justice

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Two major factors made the growth of federal criminal justice an absolute necessity: the increased use of automobiles and commercial airlines by both the public and criminals. It was now easy to cross state boundaries. While planes, trains, and automobiles flowed freely across state lines, state law enforcement did not. By the 1930s interstate crime had become a key focus of federal responsibility.

Congress passed the Lindbergh Act of 1932 after the kidnapping and murder of the baby son of American aviator Charles Lindbergh (1902–1974). The act made it a federal crime to take people across state lines against their will. The person arrested and charged with the Lindbergh crime, Bruno Hauptmann, was convicted and executed.

During the Great Depression (1929–41), a period of severe economic hardship in the United States and much of the world, President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the New Deal, a collection of federal programs designed to provide jobs and bring economic relief to those most affected by the hard times. As a result, federal government grew dramatically and expanded its power in many areas, including law enforcement.

In 1933 it became a federal crime to flee across state lines to avoid arrest or to avoid testimony in criminal court cases. Congress passed laws establishing more actions as federal crimes in 1934. These included robbing a national bank, Rows of tightly packed cots in a Louisiana state penitentiary in 1957, representative of the national prison overcrowding problem of the time. (AP/Wide World Photos)
extortion using telephones or telegraphs (to send fast messages called telegrams), and taking stolen goods worth more than $5,000 across state lines.

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