How you could get away with murder in Yellowstone’s “Zone of Death”

How you could get away with murder in Yellowstone’s “Zone of Death”


This is a map of Yellowstone National Park. For the most part the park is in Wyoming, but it extends a bit into Montana and Idaho. This little 50 square miles section in Idaho is what concerns us. It’s called the zone of death, because of a loophole that exists in the Constitution of the United States. If someone were to exploit that loophole they might be able to get away with murder. Yellowstone was established in 1872 before Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana joined the Union. It’s federal land and always has been, but federal land across the U.S. is split up and divided into its corresponding state district courts. Except for Yellowstone. And this is where the loophole begins. Law professor Brian C. Kalt points out in his 2005 paper, “The Perfect Crime”, that Yellowstone National Park was assigned fully to Wyoming’s district court, even though small portions fall into Montana and Idaho. “Unlike every other district, the district of Wyoming includes land in other states.” So Kalt asks the question: what happens if you’re caught for a crime you committed in that 50 square mile Idaho region of the park? The first thing law enforcement would do is bring you to Cheyenne, the hub of the district court of Wyoming, because the crime technically happened within Wyoming’s jurisdiction. But Article 3 Section 2 of the United States Constitution says that the trial should happen in the state where you committed the crime. If you’re a savvy murderer you’ll invoke your right to a trial in Idaho. So they bring you back to Idaho no big deal. “In the sixth amendment they said that they would require local juries and the language they use is that the jury has to be from the state and district where the crime was committed.” This is called the Vicinage Clause. That leaves you with a sort of venn diagram. You have the right to demand jury from that middle area, where the state in which you committed the crime, that’s Idaho, overlaps with the judicial jurisdiction where you committed the crime: the Wyoming district that has jurisdiction over Yellowstone National Park. And here’s the problem: “nobody lives there. There’s there’s no way for them to give you a trial and so I argue they should have to let you go.” This could also happen in the Montana portion of the park, except a few dozen people do live there, so a jury could theoretically be called. Kalt has proposed numerous solutions to Congress to fix the loophole, but they have yet to act. “All they have to do is redraw the district line so that the district of Wyoming is Wyoming, the district of Idaho is Idaho, and the district of Montana is Montana and if they do that this all goes away.” So if you’re planning a gathering of your adversaries, exes, and debtors, maybe try Yosemite.

100 thoughts on “How you could get away with murder in Yellowstone’s “Zone of Death”

  1. I know this is late but just in case anyone takes this to heart they can still get you for premeditated murder if you planned Th sir death in a different state FYI. So I mean just don’t leave any bread crumbs and you’re straight

  2. I wanna go there now. I would murder someone of course. But I wanna do something inherently suspicious enough to get the law involved and then try to use this argument 👀

  3. Thankfully, the supreme court interprets the rights denoted in the constitution, so in paper you could get away with crimes but in front of a supreme court justice you're going to be sentenced.

  4. Move a bunch of homeless there. Let them call that little batch of land there land and home. Boom you gotta jury of homeless people.

  5. Is the dead zone of frozen credits at the end of the video some kind of shrewd metaphorical reference to the 50 mile zone?

  6. So this is super freaking scary especially considering Lori Vallow and her later murderous brother took her daughter to Yellowstone and no one has seen her since. Why is the government not fixing this?!

  7. I find this a little disturbing considering at this moment there is a case of 2 missing children in the Lori Vallow case. One of the children were last seen at Yellowstone. Not saying that's what happened but it's a little fishy

  8. You don’t need to go there to get away with murder if you have money,contacts and Top Liar..soz Top Lawyer🤨

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