DOJ Considers Terrorism Charges for Intentionally Spreading Coronavirus

The Federal Docket

March 27, 2020

March 25, 2020.

ABC News has reported that the Department of Justice has urged U.S. Attorneys to consider bringing federal terrorism charges against individuals who either threat to spread or who intentionally spread the coronavirus to others. According to a DOJ memo, prosecutors are encouraged to treat the virus as a “biological agent” which can be used in terrorism offenses. As an example, the memo warned that white supremacist groups that have encouraged infected individuals to go out and spread the virus in diverse neighborhoods and religious institutions, such as mosques and synagogues.

Civil liberties advocates sounded off on the memo, warning that the aggressive approach could result in overreach.

We have already seen reports of one coronavirus-related terrorism offense, when the FBI arrested a man in Missouri on Tuesday who was on his way to bomb a hospital housing coronavirus patients. The man had been on the FBI’s radar for a while. In another case, a man in New Jersey was arrested for assault after intentionally coughing on an employee and told her he was infected.

Read the article at ABC News.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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