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Jurisdiction

Constitutional Limitations, Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, Courts-martial Jurisdiction, Bibliography

The U.S. federal, state, and even local governments have adapted the territorial reach of their criminal laws to permit punishment of "new and complex crimes" when elements of extraterritoriality exist. The proactive extension of its extraterritorial jurisdiction has resulted in transformation of the law of jurisdiction and has led to occasional tension with other governments. While this discussion concerns primarily federal law, similar developments have occurred on a subnational level, where states and even municipalities continually expand their jurisdiction to meet criminal threats from an increasingly borderless world, where technology, transportation, and free-trade developments enable criminals to move money, capital, goods, people, and ideas instantaneously.

This discussion outlines the conceptual bases of jurisdiction and then applies it to recent developments in U.S. law, especially with respect to terrorism, narcotics, and alien smuggling. The article also describes the jurisdiction of military courts-martial, the use of proactive investigative and policing techniques abroad, the limits on the enforcement of foreign penal judgments, and basic principles governing jurisdiction between state and federal courts, and conflict-of-laws in the criminal context.

BRUCE ZAGARIS

CASE

United States v. Yunis, 681 F. Supp. 896 (D.D.C. 1988), rev'd 859 F.2d 953 (D.C. Cir. 1988).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law