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Federal Domestic Violence Crimes

January 1, 2001

Jennifer DeCarli

DEFINITION OF A SPOUSE OR INTIMATE PARTNER -

(SEE 18 U.S.C. SECTION 2266):

    • spouse, a former spouse, a person who shares a child in common with the abuser, a person who has cohabited or currently cohabits with the abuser as a spouse; and
    • any other person similarly situated to a spouse who is protected by the domestic or family violence laws of the State in which the injury occurred or where the victim resides

*This does not include girlfriend/boyfriend relationships unless they are living together or have lived together in the past*

1.  18 U.S.C. SECTION 2261 - INTERSTATE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

(a)(1): Crossing a State Line: Elements:

    • travel across a state line OR enter or leave Indian country
    • w/ the intent to injure, harass, or intimidate that person's spouse or intimate partner
    • and in the course of or as a result of such travel
    • intentionally commits a crime of violence
    • thereby causing bodily injury to such spouse or intimate partner

(a)(2): Causing the crossing of a state line: Elements:

    • cause a spouse or intimate partner
    • to cross a State line OR to enter or leave Indian country
    • by force, coercion, duress, or fraud AND
    • in the course of or as a result of, or to facilitate such conduct or travel
    • commits or attempts to commit a crime of violence
    • against that person's spouse or intimate partner

2.  18 U.S.C. SECTION 2261A - INTERSTATE STALKING

Elements:

Whoever -

    • (1) travels across a State line or enters or leaves Indian country
    • with the intent to kill, injure, harass or intimidate
    • ANOTHER PERSON
    • and in the course of, or as a result of such travel
    • places the person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury
    • to that person, that person's immediate family member or the spouse or intimate partner of that person

OR

(2) with the intent -

(A) to kill or injure a person in another state or tribal jurisdiction or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. OR

(B) to place a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., in reasonable fear of the death or serious bodily injury to -

(i) that person;

(ii) a member of the immediate family of that person;

(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person,

uses the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, any of the persons described above

Important Points:

    • doesn't limit statute's protection to just intimate partner, as it covers any person and it covers threats made to that person's immediate family members and/or spouse or intimate partner
    • covers stalking via mail

3. 18 U.S.C. Section 2262 - Interstate Violation of Protection Order

(a)(1) Crossing a State Line: Elements:

    • travel across State lines or enter or leave Indian country
    • with the INTENT to
    • engage in conduct that violates the portion of a protection order protecting against violence, threats, harassment, contact or communication with or physical proximity to another person or that would violate such a portion of a protection order in the jurisdiction in which the order was issued
    • to the victim the OP protects
    • engages in such conduct and violates OP

Important Points w/ above:

    • not limited to intimate partner definition, so can reach OP's between dating couples
    • do not have to cause physical injury, covers any violation of the protection order
    • difficulty is proving that he/she intended to violate the OP when crossing the state lines

(a)(2) Causing the Crossing of a State Line: Elements:

    • causes another person
    • to cross a STATE line or enter or leave Indian country
    • by force, coercion, duress or fraud
    • and in the course of or as a result of, or to facilitate such conduct or travel engages in conduct that violates the portion of a protective order that prohibits or provides protection against violence, threats, or harassment against, contact or communication with, or physical proximity to another person
    • or would violate such a portion of a protection order in the jurisdiction in which the order was issued

Important Points:

    • is not limited to intimate partner definition, so can reach OP's between dating couples
    • do not have to cause physical injury, covers any violation of the protection order

 





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