Venue: A Brief Look at Federal Law Governing Where a Federal Crime May Be Tried [January 24, 2014]   [open pdf - 224KB]

"The United States Constitution assures those charged with a serious federal crime that they are entitled to jury trial in the state and district in which the crime occurred. A crime occurs in any district in which any of its 'conduct' elements are committed. Some offenses are committed entirely within a single district; there they must be tried. Other crimes have elements that have occurred in more than one district. Still other crimes have been committed overseas and so have occurred outside any district. Statutory provisions dictate where a multi-district crime or overseas crime may be tried. Section 3237 of Title 18 of the 'U.S. Code' supplies three general rules for venue in multi-district cases. Tax cases may be tried where the taxpayer resides. Mail and interstate commerce offenses may be tried in any district traversed during the course of a particular crime. Continuous or overlapping offenses may be tried in any district in which they begin, continue, or are completed. For example, conspiracy, perhaps the most common continuous offense, may be tried where the scheme is joined or where any overt act in its furtherance is committed. These general rules aside, a few crimes, like murder or immigration offenses, have individual venue provisions."

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CRS Report for Congress, RS22361
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