US Why is there no criminal statute for domestic terrorism?

08:55  07 october  2017
08:55  07 october  2017 Source:   cbsnews.com

Canada probes 'act of terrorism' as five injured, suspect arrested

  Canada probes 'act of terrorism' as five injured, suspect arrested Canadian police arrested a man early Sunday suspected of stabbing an officer and injuring four pedestrians in a series of violent incidents being investigated as an "act of terrorism."The crime spree began Saturday evening outside a football stadium in the city of Edmonton and ended hours later with a high speed chase in which the driver of a rented truck plowed into pedestrians, police said.

Currently there is a criminal statute for international terrorism , but not domestic , which McCord thinks needs to be changed in the era of mass casualties. "It shows the significance of this type of a crime and why it's important for it to be looked at and treated for what it is, which is terrorism .

Currently there is a criminal statute for international terrorism , but not domestic , which McCord thinks needs to be changed in the era of mass casualties. "It shows the significance of this type of a crime and why it's important for it to be looked at and treated for what it is, which is terrorism .

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This week, we've seen a nation can be terrified without the cause necessarily labeled terrorism.

At this point investigators are still looking a motive for Stephen Paddock, but we have seen other domestic mass casualty attacks where it is clear that the intent is to intimidate and coerce leading some to call for a federal crime of domestic terrorism

"So, I think it's time for a variety of reasons to have a domestic terrorism criminal statute," said former federal prosecutor Mary McCord, who is now at Georgetown Law.

Currently there is a criminal statute for international terrorism, but not domestic, which McCord thinks needs to be changed in the era of mass casualties.

Attacks stoke debate over need for domestic terrorism laws

  Attacks stoke debate over need for domestic terrorism laws <p>TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Attacks this summer on counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, and an empty Air Force recruiting station in Oklahoma had the hallmarks of terrorist attacks but weren't prosecuted as such.</p>Even though many in law enforcement referred to them as acts of domestic terrorism, there is a simple reason such charges weren't brought: They don't exist.

Currently there is a criminal statute for international terrorism , but not domestic , which McCord thinks needs to be changed in the era of mass casualties. "It shows the significance of this type of a crime and why it's important for it to be looked at and treated for what it is, which is terrorism .

Why is there no criminal statute for domestic terrorism Domestic Terrorism In The US. Terrorism Defined By Homeland Security. Legal Definition Of Terrorism .

"Violent extremism isn't limited to Islamist extremism or extremism that's done on behalf of at the direction of a foreign terror organization," McCord said.

With no specific penalties on the books for domestic terrorism, mass killers like Timothy McVeigh face charges of using a weapon of mass destruction, or Dylann Roof, who faced murder and weapons charges.

But the label domestic terrorism makes the motive clear, McCord said, in a way that sharpens our response.

"It shows the significance of this type of a crime and why it's important for it to be looked at and treated for what it is, which is terrorism. It's an intent -- it's a crime done for the very purpose of terrorism," McCord said.

Federal domestic terror law would also mean FBI-led investigations -- and the creation of deeper, wider data bases to keep track of mass violence.

Of course here's the potential problem: Labeling domestic hate groups as terrorists -- like al Qaeda or ISIS -- raises constitutional questions.

"That starts to get very close to the line of potentially infringing on free speech, freedom to associate and express one's views, however abhorrent they may be to others in the population," McCord said.

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department considered creating a domestic terrorism statute.  As for now CBS News asked the Justice Department if they were continuing the work, and a spokesman decline to comment.

Attorney General says four 'sanctuary cities' may be violating the law .
<p>The United States Justice Department singled out four cities and a county on Thursday for allegedly having so-called "sanctuary policies" that may violate a federal law which requires them to communicate with federal immigration officials about a person's citizenship status.</p>The department said Thursday that New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and Cook County in Illinois along with its largest city Chicago, "have preliminarily been found" to have policies that violate the law. It is giving those jurisdictions until Oct. 27 to provide evidence demonstrating compliance.

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