Saturday, August 11, 2018

What's the back story here?

As readers of Global Military Justice Reform know all too well, one of the recurring issues the blog notes is the choice of forum as between civilian and military courts. Consider therefore, this case, from the United States. An active duty noncom kills his active duty wife. But here's the odd part: the case was tried not in a court-martial, but in federal district court. And it was not tried as murder. The Baltimore Sun reports:
Army Sgt. Maliek Kearney has been found guilty in the killing three years ago of his wife, a 24-year-old private stationed at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County.

Kearney, 37, was found guilty Thursday afternoon of the federal crime of crossing state lines to commit domestic violence resulting in a death. He could be sentenced to as much as life in federal prison.

The jury returned his guilty verdict Thursday afternoon in federal court in downtown Baltimore.
Why no state prosecution (or was there one and the reporter did not cite it)? Did the state's attorney decline to prosecute? If so, why? Was the killing committed on Fort Meade (and is that exclusive federal jurisdiction)? Why not a murder charge?

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