Essay Case Analysis : Car Thieves

Essay Case Analysis : Car Thieves

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Brickey (1996) examples how two separate cases regarding car thieves can have very different prosecutorial focuses between the federal and state venues. One thief is exampled as stealing a car in San Francisco and joyriding it to Los Angeles where he abandons it. The second thief steals a car in San Francisco and drives it to a Seattle-based “chop shop” for further processing. When the first thief is captured within California’s jurisdiction, it is reasonable to assume a state prosecutor would charge and attempt to prove that the thief took the car purposely and without the owner’s consent. In the second thief’s case however, the act of moving the vehicle across state lines and out of California’s immediate jurisdiction elevates the case to the federal level -- although not necessarily for the sole act of stealing the vehicle. The federal prosecution would focus on the facts incident to the theft itself by means of potentially introducing a stolen car into the stream of commerce. This also would implicate every future person in contact with the vehicle for ill-legitimate purposes in a crime, and give the federal government the ability to obtain a coordinated prosecution of all of the individuals associated with the stolen vehicle that crossed state lines. The use of commerce based federal jurisdiction enables the federal government to prosecute the individual thief and his cohorts anywhere they may go in this case. As Brickey (1996) points out, this becomes an “efficiency of scale” by a single prosecution not only targeting the theft of a vehicle, but perhaps an entire organized crime ring affecting multiple states (Brickey, 1996, p. 29)
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...d the “War on Drugs” rhetoric, the federal government was able to implement the current political wills of Congressional and executive crime-control measures whilst further expanding the federal government’s role in traditionally held state criminal law matters. The federal nexus here again is being predominately rooted in both the Commerce and the Taxing and Spending Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. By providing a source of monetary incentives as well as a venue to prosecute certain crimes, it effectively enticed various jurisdictions to “get on board” in working with the federal government. The state and local jurisdictions were now more apt to embrace federal involvement into local crime control matters (specifically drugs), support further Congressional legislation, and turn their prioritized attention towards where the biggest handout came from (Balko, 2013).

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