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Fowler v. United States

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
10-5443 11th Cir. Mar 29, 2011 May 26, 2011 7-2 Breyer OT 2010

Holding: To establish a violation of Section 1512(a)(1)(C), which makes it a crime to kill another person, with intent . . . to prevent the communication by any person to a [federal] law enforcement officer of information relating to the . . . possible commission of a Federal offense,the government must show that there was a reasonable likelihood that a relevant communication would have been made to a federal officer.

Plain English Holding: A federal statute makes it a crime to kill someone to try to prevent that person from passing on information regarding a federal crime to federal (although not to state) law enforcement officials. A defendant is guilty of violating this statute only if the government can show that there was a reasonable chance that the information would actually have been passed to a federal officer.

Judgment: vacated and remanded, 7-2, in an opinion by Justice Breyer on May 26, 2011. Justice Scalia concurred in the judgment. Justice Alito wrote a dissenting opinion, which Justice Ginsburg joined.

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