Who solves a murder in a national park?
August 27, 2010 2:26 PM   Subscribe

If a murder occurs in one of the National Parks who investigates it: The National Park Service rangers, the Bureau of Interior Office of Law Enforcement, Security & Emergency Management, the F.B.I.?
posted by tzuzie to Law & Government (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

§ 1a–6. Law enforcement personnel within National Park System

(e) Federal investigative jurisdiction and State civil and criminal jurisdiction not preempted within National Park System

Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed or applied to limit or restrict the investigative jurisdiction of any Federal law enforcement agency other than the National Park Service, and nothing shall be construed or applied to affect any right of a State or a political subdivision thereof to exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction within the National Park System.
posted by sanko at 2:31 PM on August 27, 2010

Complicated question. Interior maintains several law enforcement divisions, and NPS has two, the United States Park Police and NPS Law Enforcement Rangers. Park Police Officers have offices in San Fran, NY (Liberty Island) and Washington, DC.

However, in the case of Julie Williams and Laura Winans, it was both FBI and Virginia State Police who investigated.

There is no "Bureau of Interior." There is the Bureau of Land Management, which maintains police departments at dams and other DoI controlled sites.

I have extensive experience representing law enforcement employees of these offices, contact me via MeMail if you would like more.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:37 PM on August 27, 2010

As you probably know, if the murder is treated as a federal crime, then the defendant would appeal through the federal court system. The federal courts of appeal are divided into regional circuits, and each circuit may have somewhat different legal standards based on precedents established in that circuit.

What does this have to do with crimes committed in National Parks? Well, one rather large and famous National Park (Yellowstone) covers more than one state, but those states aren't in the same regional circuit. Specifically, (almost all of) Montana and Idaho are in the 9th Circuit but Wyoming is in the 10th. To avoid the problem where a crime committed in one part of the park might be treated differently than the same crime committed in another, the only place in the country where the regional circuits do not follow state lines is Yellowstone. The entirety of Yellowstone falls under the District of Wyoming and thus the 10th Circuit.
posted by jedicus at 2:41 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

National parks are federal property so it's the FBI that deals with it.
posted by special-k at 2:44 PM on August 27, 2010

Ironmouth, I think the OP meant the Department of the Interior, which has an Office of Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency Management which "provides leadership, policy guidance and oversight to the Department’s law enforcement, homeland security, emergency management, and security programs related to the protection of classified and law-enforcement sensitive systems, procedures and information."

Within the Department of the Interior there "are five bureaus and two offices in the Department which manage nine separate and distinct law enforcement programs."
posted by Jahaza at 4:57 PM on August 27, 2010

In the Ocala National Forest (not a park), apparently it was local police working with the Forest Service:
posted by galadriel at 9:31 PM on August 27, 2010

posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:47 PM on August 27, 2010

Anna Pigeon.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:51 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am somewhat confident that the NPS Police would have jurisdiction over federal parks (including every municipal park in DC).
posted by thesmophoron at 10:36 PM on August 29, 2010

« Older Best environment-friendly house ever... maybe   |   Out of fast, good and cheap, I only need the last... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.