Penalty for killing a US federal employee on the clock?

While conducting some business at the local Social Security office in Tampa FL, I noticed a warning sign on the wall reminding the clientele that killing, kidnapping or otherwise attacking a federal employee on the job is a federal offense. This seems to me like an odd sort of notice to post, but someone clearly thought it was an important enough distinction to justify the cost of signage. Now I’m all curious about how the distinction would apply. If I really wanted to kidnap a Social Security employee for my very own, how much more trouble would I be in if I did it during working hours? Would it be worth it for me to wait until they have clocked out, and then nab them when they leave work instead? Say I were to kidnap them on the weekend; would I incur additional penalties on Monday morning, by keeping my new pet away from their job?

I think it’s less a matter of “there are specific laws about killing federal employees vs. non-federal employees” than it is a matter of “if you kill/attack/kidnap a federal employee, it is a federal offense, whereas if you kill/attack/kidnap anyone else, it is a state offense.”

I assume that difference is pointed out because federal courts may seem “tougher” on crime. Whether that image is true (or whether the actual is true) - no idea.

I can’t find the statute for kidnapping right offhand, but 18 USC 1114 and 1111 provides for the death penalty for those who murder a federal employee while they are performing their duties.

If you live in a state without a death penalty, then yes, the penalty for murdering a federal employee while they’re on the job vs. off the job is potentially much greater.

(Section 1111 provides for punishment of murder, inc. life in prison or the death penalty.)

It is a federal crime rather than a state crime if you do it while they are on the clock for one thing. You would be tried under federal laws under federal court and go to federal prison rather than being tried under state crimes if you just killed a random person in the parking lot. Under certain circumstances, you could get the federal death penalty even if the state that you are in doesn’t have the death penalty.

I don’t have annotations for the federal code handy, but I’m willing to bet there is case law somewhere that says something along the lines of: “Killing a federal employee on or off the clock is a federal crim eif the motive for the killing is related to the performance of his duties as a federal employee.” That is – you can’t decide to kill your Social Security administrator because he screwed up your benefits but wait until he gets home to avoid federal entanglement.

IIRC federal sentences have no parole, you get sentenced to 10 years, you do 10 years. Also, you are not going to be in the local county lockup with your miscreant friends and having your G/f stop by on the way home from work a few days a week, you will probably be 3 states away.

It’s a federal charge of M1!

On federal property on while on the job as for instance a postal employee delivering mail.

Off the job most likely a local charge of M1!
Prison is prison, why take a chance?

This comes close, anyway:;

Bricker and GFactor have it right - if you murder or conspire or attempt to murder, say, a federal judge or one of their handsome and clever law clerks, you won’t get a pass just because you decide to do it on the weekend. As the statute (18 U.S.C. § 1114) says, the murder has to be “while such officer or employee is engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties.”

One fairly well known example is U.S. v. Harrelson, 754 F.2d 1153 (C.A. Tex. 1985), in which Charles Harrelson and others were convicted of murder and conspiracy to murder U.S. Judge John H. Wood. You probably don’t know who Charles Harrelson is, but you probably know his son, actor Woody Harrelson. Judge Wood was shot and killed by a dumdum bullet from a high powered rifle while getting into his car outside his house and preparing to drive to work. Harrelson was charged and convicted of murdering a federal officer on account of the performance of his duties.

So what it will come down to is intent. If you kidnap or kill a federal employee while they’re on the job, it’s a federal offense. If you do the same while they’re off the clock, it’s still a federal offense if you did it because of their federal duties. There are other statutes that protect family members as well, such as 18 U.S.C. § 115(a)(1), which criminalizes assault, murder, kidnapping, threats, etc. “with the intent to impede, intimidate, or interfere with” the employee “while engaged in the performance of official duties, or with intent to retaliate against” the employee.

High up federal bigwigs also have another law protecting them that doesn’t appear to have the intent requirement. 18 U.S.C. § 351 makes it a crime to kill or kidnap a Member of Congress, a Member-of-Congress elect, certain specified executive branch officials, a major Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate, a Justice of the Supreme Court or a person nominated to be a Justice. The President and his staff have their very own statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1751.

Kidnapping is a federal crime punishable by life sentence and fine. :eek: Special circumstance apply for any harm to a federal employee. :smack:

18 U.S. Code § 1201 - Kidnapping :slight_smile:

18 U.S. Code § 1114 - Protection of officers and employees of the United States :mad: