Posted on December 18, 2015 in Crime
San Bernardino. Chattanooga. Boston. Fort Hood.
These cities now represent true tragedies that have taken place in the United States, each with a commonality. Domestic terrorism, also known as homegrown terrorism, is described as violent acts committed by permanent U.S. residents against their own people. Domestic terrorism aims to instill fear in the population; however, those caught and found guilty face severe domestic terrorism consequences.
The FBI announced that it is investigating the San Bernardino attack’s possible link to terrorism. Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 and injured 21 others in the massacre. Malik pledged her support for the Islamic State and its leader on Facebook during the time of the shooting.
President Barack Obama addressed the July 16 attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as domestic terrorism where Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez gunned down five military members and wounded a Marine and a Chattanooga police officer.
The domestic terrorism consequences for Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were as follows: He was convicted on all 30 charges by a federal jury for the April 15, 2013 attack that claimed three lives and wounded 260 others. Charges against Tsarnaev include conspiracy to bomb a place of public use, resulting in death; the bombing of a place of public use, resulting in death; and conspiracy to maliciously destroy property, resulting in death. Tsarnaev was charged with two federal crimes, the first being the use of a weapon of mass destruction, and the second being the malicious destruction of private property that caused death.
Nidal Hasan, who was responsible for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood that claimed 13 lives and injured over 30, was convicted of all 45 charges of premeditated and attempted premeditated murder. Hasan is also eligible for the death penalty.
While the above examples show only some of the consequences of domestic terrorism, a more detailed explanation of some of the applicable provisions of federal criminal law is stated below.
Depending on the crime, Americans fighting for ISIS may face charges such as Bombings of Places of Public Use, Government Facilities, Public Transportation Systems and Infrastructure Facilities. Federal law criminalizes placing, discharging, or detonating an explosive device in a place of public use, a state or government facility, a public transportation system, or an infrastructure facility with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury or extensive damage to the structure.
Terrorism statutes can also apply to the conduct of Americans fighting on behalf of ISIS. Federal law also criminalizes Providing Material to Terrorists and Providing Material Support or Resources to Designated Terrorist Organizations. The punishment for this crime ranges from 15 years in prison to a life sentence if death results from the conduct. Material support includes things that can aid an enemy group, such as safe houses, financial services, and monetary instruments.
Conspiracy charges could also be brought against an individual who agreed to engage in any of the specified crimes above, assuming the elements of conspiracy are satisfied.
Consequences even follow suit if the perpetrator, as a United States citizen, is abroad. Prior to leaving the United States, if the American(s) fighting for ISIS agreed with others to fight for the group, they may be subject to federal laws that criminalize conspiracies to engage in violence against people or property overseas. If the aim of the conspiracy is murder or kidnap, one could face life in prison; up to 35 years in prison if the aim is to maim; and up to 25 years in prison if the aim of the conspiracy is to damage certain property.
Craig Orent is an expert attorney who has been trying criminal cases for over 33 years. As the founder of Orent Law Offices, Craig is one of only a few Phoenix criminal defense attorneys in the state of Arizona to be invited to the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers. For legal assistance, call the firm today at (480) 656-7301.