There’s a Part of Yellowstone Where You Can Get Away With Murder

a hot springs and a lake

This came up in conversations with my friends during my Wyoming trip last year. Supposedly there’s a section of Yellowstone National Park where you can’t be tried for murder.

a hot springs and a lake
Credit: Skeeze on Pixabay

Something to the effect of if commit a serious crime on federal lands, you have to be tried in the state where the crime was committed and you’re entitled to a jury of people who live in that state. But apparently part of an uninhabited part of Yellowstone falls within Idaho, which would make a jury impossible. I meant to research this more, but it slipped my mind in the excitement of getting to see Oregon Trail ruts.

So I was excited to see this recent Vice article a year later “There’s a Section of Yellowstone Where You Can Get Away with Murder” which gets into the details. It’s even more complicated that I thought. For instance, all of Yellowstone is under Wyoming’s district which means not only could you not be tried by a jury of people who live in that state and district, but you couldn’t even be tried in that state.

Law professor Brian Kalt drew the government’s attention to this problem before he published his paper in 2004, but apparently it wasn’t and isn’t considered a big deal.

A fun read, worth checking out if you’re interested.

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  1. What is the matter with you? Why would your post this article? The world has enough nut jobs without your help! Way to help destroying it.

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