Idaho and Yellowstone's murderous legal loophole creates killer controversy

Posted at 9:46 PM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 23:48:40-05
When people think of Yellowstone usually they think about Old Faithful, roaming bison, and crystal clear streams.
What never crosses anyone's mind, murder, in particular how to get away with murder, an unsavory thought to be sure.
"I can't rest too easy or be too amused by this because really this is a potentially horrible thing that could happen," explained Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State.
Kalt maintains the sliver of Yellowstone that rests within Idaho is the perfect place to commit the perfect crime. 
"according to my theory they would have to let the person go," said Kalt. "The key to the perfect crime theory is the 6th amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
In fact, the legality of a Yellowstone murder comes down to the old saying, location, location, location.
"The 6th Amendment requires that in a federal criminal trial, the jury be from the state and district where the crime was committed," said Kalt. 
Federal court districts follow state lines. Wyoming is in the district of Wyoming. Idaho is in the district of Idaho, mostly. The 50 mile stretch of Yellowstone located in Idaho is in the district of Wyoming.
"Because congress, when they drew the district lines back in 1894, because they colored outside of the lines here, they make it impossible for someone in that situation to get a proper 6th amendment jury," theorized Kalt.
So purely hypothetically if you, me, or anyone else were to partake in a murderous vacation to the remote Idaho section of Yellowstone, you might, just maybe get away with murder. 
Kalt acknowledges that his theory is by no means air tight.
He said if you conspired to kill outside of the area, then committed the crime in no-mans land, you could find yourself in hot water with a conspiracy charge, but as for a murder charge, you may be guilty as sin but still be free as a bird. 
Kalt said he doesn't encourage anyone to commit the crime, in fact, he wanted to find a solution to the problem.
"I didn't want to call attention to this if I could get it fixed without anyone knowing that would be great," explained Kalt.
Kalt also said it wouldn't take much to change the law.
"All they have to do is redraw the district lines and say the district of Idaho is Idaho. The district of Wyoming is Wyoming, but they haven't done that," said Kalt.
More than a decade after Kalt published his paper the loophole still exists and Kalt is not giving up, but he's tackling this fight far away from Yellowstone.
"I wouldn't go there for all the tea in China because I know the irony gods would have a field day with that if I set one foot in that place," laughed Kalt.