Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby electricron » Sun May 20, 2018 8:27 am

BandA wrote:[OT] most passenger ships are foreign registered

FWIW, There's only three ocean prowling passenger ships capable of traveling "overseas" I'm aware of today flying the American flag. USNS Akula (also known as "The Cat") and her sister USNS Guam are fast ferries, and the cruise ship MS Pride of America. You can ride on the Akula during the summer months between Portland Maine and Yarmouth Nova Scotia, American servicemen and families can ride the Guam to and from Okinawa to various Asian ports, and you can ride the Pride of America usually on weekly cruises from Honolulu. In all cases, crimes occuring in International waters are handled by International law.

Getting back on topic, whether a Federal law is made or not, the FBI and other Federal agenices may get involved with the case upon invitation by local law enforcement - which usually occurs anyways. The only valid reason to make it a Federal crime is to change who prosecutes the case in court, the local district attorney or some case lawyer working in the US Justice Department.
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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby mtuandrew » Sun May 20, 2018 11:21 am

electricron wrote:Getting back on topic, whether a Federal law is made or not, the FBI and other Federal agenices may get involved with the case upon invitation by local law enforcement - which usually occurs anyways. The only valid reason to make it a Federal crime is to change who prosecutes the case in court, the local district attorney or some case lawyer working in the US Justice Department.

Exactly. The (local or Federal) prosecutor requests evidence from the investigating agency in order to bring charges and seek a verdict. The Federal offices usually have broader ability to request evidence (discovery) from around the country, so they may have an easier time with prosecutions.

Which agency has original law enforcement jurisdiction over crimes on Amtrak property - APD? Does that change if the crime is against an Amtrak employee at the M-N Poughkeepsie station, or on the CP right-of-way off the back of the Empire Builder? On the Maple Leaf in Canada, would it be VIA’s police department, some branch of the Mounties...?
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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Sun May 20, 2018 2:19 pm

mtuandrew wrote: On the Maple Leaf in Canada, would it be VIA’s police department, some branch of the Mounties...?
The crew on 63/64 north of the border are VIA (not Amtrak) employees and is a VIA joint through train.

Remaining on topic, the NJT posters warning of assault on NJT employees also appear on MNCR cars (Comet Vs), though when operated in joint through service north the NJ/NY state line, New Jersey laws obviously would not apply. If NY state law applies, perhaps the Comet Vs should have the same "7 year prison felony" stickers as the on NYCT/LIRR/MNCR cars.
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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby ExCon90 » Sun May 20, 2018 3:05 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:NJT and MTA (NYCT, LIRR, MNCR) employees are already protected under state law. Inside every NJT bus and rail car is a poster reading "assault on a bus operator/train crew member carries up to five years in prison and fines up to $1,000". Decals on all NYCT buses and NYCT/LIRR/MNCR rail cars note the maximum 7 year felony sentence.

Passengers are presumably protected under other State laws. However, high seas aside, if a passenger goes berserk in the North River Tunnels -- could happen to anybody -- and stabs another passenger, a Federal law would make it unnecessary to determine whether that part of the train had crossed the state line at the time of the attack.
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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Sun May 20, 2018 5:49 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Passengers are presumably protected under other State laws. However, high seas aside, if a passenger goes berserk in the North River Tunnels -- could happen to anybody -- and stabs another passenger, a Federal law would make it unnecessary to determine whether that part of the train had crossed the state line at the time of the attack.

Some agencies do have interstate jurisdiction. MTAPD (Metro-North) has authority in CT, as does PAPD (PATH). Does MBTA Police have authority into Rhode Island, also wonder about SEPTA law enforcement in DE and NJ?
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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Sun May 20, 2018 9:59 pm

It would be helpful if the 7 year felony thing were actually enforced instead of letting lawyers plead things down...or in certain cases in the tri-state area...police unions paying off the TWU so that an off-duty cop savagely beating a conductor at Tremont on the Concourse gets swept under the rug -_-

That said, I'm on board with this legislation. Knock the crap out of a flight crew and you don't get a slap on the wrist, it absolutely should be the same for railroad and transit crews nationwide!
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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon May 21, 2018 7:45 am

Every hear the saying "don't make a federal case out of it?" Here's the definition: Google

To exaggerate or build up the importance of something; to make a big deal out of something. The phrase is often used to complain that someone is exaggerating a problem or alleged wrongdoing. So I ate your leftovers. Geez, don't make a federal case out of it!


I'm hardly implying that such attacks are not important; just the opposite. The drive to MAKE it a federal case shows the importance of the matter, and the seriousness of the crime. Federal convictions are nothing to sneeze at, unless you're a Congress Critter, and that's called "pushing the envelope".

I believe it should be a federal matter; the security of our transport system is paramount, whether in the air, on the oceans, or under the streets. Think "broken window syndrome". If we can't make our transport system secure, society breaks down. And I DON'T think I'm making a federal case out of it. Anyone who rode the NYC subways in the 70's and 80's understands this.
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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby Ken W2KB » Tue May 22, 2018 9:27 pm

electricron wrote:If the local jurisdictions don't feel qualified enough to investigate the crime, they can always ask the FBI for assistance. I'm pretty sure the FBI would if ask. But it leaves that option with the local sheriff or police to make that decision. Sheriffs are elected positions for local counties, having the FBI take over every case you might as well do away with sheriffs altogether.

Maybe I'm over reacting, but we do not need the FBI to investigate every crime in America.


You are not overreacting. They can ask the FBI, but in most instances with which I am familiar local departments ask the State Police who have sophisticated crime investigation capabilities and better access to the FBI's assistance if warranted.
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Re: Legislation would make attack aboard train federal crime

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed May 23, 2018 8:44 am

It appears that investigation of this serious assault is being impeded by Law Enforcement agencies playing "turf" with one another, but the fact remains a paying Amtrak passenger aboard #5 (13) has been gravely injured:

Reno Gazette Journal

Fair Use:

It’s been a week since Aaron Salazar was found battered and unconscious near railroad tracks in Truckee, California, and his family is no closer to understanding what happened to the 22-year-old student who was traveling by rail from Colorado to Oregon.

Was he attacked?

Was he thrown from the train?

Was this a hate crime?

After a week of sitting by Salazar, who lies comatose with a broken pelvis and damage to his brain stem in a Reno hospital critical care unit, his family is still in the dark as to what circumstances left Aaron beside the tracks on May 15 in Truckee, a town his Amtrak train was scheduled to stop in for just a few minutes

Hopefully if there is better definition as to jurisdiction, the distinct possibility this serious crime will go unsolved (the assailants have "long skipped") would be minimized.
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