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America has a 'zone of death' where it's theoretically harder to prosecute for murder

America has a 'zone of death' where it's theoretically harder to prosecute for murder

Just because you theoretically can murder someone and get away with it in this spot, it doesn't mean you should

There's a very specific spot in the US where it would theoretically be more difficult to prosecute you for murder, though of course you shouldn't put this to the test because killing someone is still quite rude.

If a friend suggests you take a trip to Yellowstone National Park then there's all sorts of reasons you should say yes and one particular reason why you might be a bit reluctant to go.

While you might enjoy all the wonderful things Yellowstone has to offer, there's one spot on the western part of it you'd do well to steer clear of if you're travelling with anyone that has it out for you.

This 50 mile stretch of Yellowstone is known as the 'zone of death' because it's a part of the world where you could murder someone and courts would struggle to try you for it, at least in theory.

The whole thing hinges on a bit of a legal loophole which hinges on the Sixth Amendment to the US constitution, which declares that a person put on trial must face a jury from the state and district where the crime was committed.

Yellowstone National Park, looks great but might have a slight issue with you getting murdered.
Niall Ferguson / Alamy Stock Photo

With us so far? Good, because here's where it gets a bit more complicated and this is the reason why the zone of death exists.

The state of Wyoming has full jurisdiction over Yellowstone as a majority of the national park is there, but there are overspills into Montana and Idaho.

Here's the legal bit. If you committed a crime in the Idaho section, the jury would have to be from Idaho but under the judicial district of Wyoming.

The only place that falls under that criteria is the 50 mile Idaho stretch of Yellowstone - and no one lives there, so they'd have nobody to pick from for the jury.

Without a jury or a trial you could in theory walk away scot-free from heinous crimes because you couldn't be tried for them.

This potentially lethal legal loophole was first discovered in 2005 by law professor Brian C Kalt when he was writing about the Sixth Amendment and came up with what he thought was a hypothetical scenario where a jury couldn't be formed.

In theory you could get away with murder in one very specific spot, in practice you definitely wouldn't.
Sooksan Kasiansin / Alamy Stock Photo

It turned out that the zone of death provided him with a real-life example of something he'd thought was just an idea.

Naturally quite disturbed at the idea that there was a chunk of land where you could hypothetically commit all sorts of crimes and never face a jury's verdict for it, he's tried to get the government to remove the loophole.

However, they've said it's not really a massive priority because nobody's ever been found to have been murdered there.

On top of that, while you could theoretically get away with murder in the zone of death, there is precedent for just having the accused tried somewhere else.

There was an incident in another part of Yellowstone where a poacher shot an elk and it would have been difficult, though not impossible, to put together a jury.

A federal judge ruled that the poacher could be tried elsewhere, and they pleaded guilty after an appeal on similar grounds to the zone of death argument failed.

So in short, don't murder people as it'll get you in trouble. And is also wrong.

Featured Image Credit: Cavan Images/Alamy Stock Photo/Kendel Media/Pexels

Topics: US News, Crime, Weird