Was a criminal attorney really necessary? A study reviews one case brought before the Supreme Court justices because a jilted wife was charged under a federal law for trying to poison her husband’s girlfriend.
The federal law in question was first written in order to implement a chemical weapons treaty. The treaty was designed against chemicals which were deadly and used during times of war. Unfortunately the federal law was written in very broad terms thus used against this scorned lover who is facing a severe penalty for trying to poison her husband’s lover, formerly her best friend.
The twist comes in the fact that the woman’s guilt or innocence is not in question. She admits to trying to poison the woman pregnant with her husband’s baby. She is questioning her sentencing under this federal law, stated a source. This questioning of a federal law has raised eyebrows on the political front. The question has arisen of whether or not someone, a regular citizen, has a right to sue over a law that was written for a different purpose. Who truly has the right to challenge the government? Her lawyer is former Bush administration solicitor Paul D. Clement and he is quoted as saying his client should not be deprived the right to challenge the government. His exact words are that she should have the ability “to challenge the constitutionality of the federal statute under which her liberty is being deprived…” and this “should not be open to question”. Even the federal government agrees that she should have the right to challenge the federal law even though they also feel she would not win the challenge.
An expert reconstructs the conversations held by justices during the arguments. Justice Alito shared his skepticism of the original law and its broadness saying that the law could be applied even if something as simple as pouring vinegar into a fish tank had occurred because it may cause the death of the fish. The lawyer, Clement, states that he has a hard time applying a law about chemical warfare to ingredients that can be purchased on Amazon.com. It should be noted that the lover was only mildly affected by the ingredients used to poison her. The issue was once again broached by Ginsburg of whether the defendant had a right to challenge her conviction based on the law under which she was punished.
Should government be allowed to decide who can challenge a conviction and who cannot? Should the spirit of a law be taken into consideration? No matter how one feels about those questions, if trouble arises a smart person can help in criminal legal matters.