Brian C. Kalt, a Professor of Law at Michigan State University, in 2005 published an article in the Georgetown Law Journal in which he described Yellowstone National Park’s “Zone of Death,” a 50-square-mile strip of land in the remote Idaho portion of the park that contains a potentially deadly loophole.
“In 1894, Congress put this part of Idaho in the judicial district of Wyoming,” Kalt said. “Because it sits in one state, but in the district of another, the Sixth Amendment requires that any crime committed there must be tried before a jury drawn from that strip of land – but nobody lives there. Also, because it is in a federal park, there is no state jurisdiction.”
This article became the inspiration for C. J. Box's latest Joe Pickett mystery, Free Fire, in which the Wyoming game warden is called to investigate an attorney who admitted murdering four campers in the remote area of the park, but convinced the courts that he could not be prosecuted.
Kalt assisted Box with the technical legal aspects of Free Fire and as a result of the novel, inspired U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) to take interest in possibly fixing the loophole.
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