Top Court Hears Case of Jilted Wife Charged Under Chemical-Arms Law

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Nov. 5, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

The U.S. Su­preme Court on Tues­day ap­peared sym­path­et­ic to a mi­cro­bi­o­lo­gist’s ar­gu­ment that she was un­fairly pro­sec­uted un­der a fed­er­al law that im­ple­ments the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion after she tried to pois­on a ro­mantic rival, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

The na­tion’s top justices weighed the ap­peal of 42-year old Car­ol Ann Bond, who in 2008 pled guilty to try­ing to pois­on her hus­band’s preg­nant lov­er, Myrlina Haynes, with a chem­ic­al com­pound. Bond was charged in fed­er­al court with vi­ol­at­ing the 1998 Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion Im­ple­ment­a­tion Act, the law the im­ple­men­ted the 1997 Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion in the United States. She was sen­tenced to six years in pris­on and fought that con­vic­tion, ar­guing fed­er­al pro­sec­utors in­fringed upon state au­thor­ity by fil­ing charges against her un­der a law cre­ated to de­ter the use of chem­ic­al weapons by rogue na­tions and ter­ror­ists.

Most of the justices ap­peared “down­right angry” with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment’s use of an in­ter­na­tion­al treaty to pro­sec­ute a wo­man in a do­mest­ic spat, USA Today re­por­ted. They ques­tioned if the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion and the law Con­gress passed im­ple­ment­ing it were in­ten­ded to reach to such do­mest­ic crimes or re­main only ap­plic­able to war­time mat­ters. At its core, the case is about wheth­er Con­gress can use its power to im­ple­ment treat­ies on loc­al mat­ters not nor­mally ap­plic­able to fed­er­al law, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg.

It “seems un­ima­gin­able that you would bring this pro­sec­u­tion,” Justice An­thony Kennedy re­portedly told U.S. So­li­cit­or Gen­er­al Don­ald Ver­rilli, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Bond’s at­tor­ney, former U.S. so­li­cit­or gen­er­al Paul Clem­ent, re­ferred to his cli­ent’s crime con­sisted of “garden-vari­ety as­saults with chem­ic­als.”

Ver­rilli, though, ar­gued on be­half of Pres­id­ent Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion that if its treaty power were altered, U.S. ini­ti­at­ives re­lated to chem­ic­al weapons and nuc­le­ar non­pro­lif­er­a­tion could be hampered.

“There needs to be a com­pre­hens­ive ban,” Ver­rilli re­portedly ar­gued be­fore the high court. “You can’t be draw­ing these types of lines.”

Justice Elena Kagan, mean­while, main­tained that the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion and con­gres­sion­al im­ple­ment­a­tion of the treaty were sound and there­fore para­mount, USA Today re­por­ted. If they were not, judges would “take the place of treaty-makers,” she re­portedly said.

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