Saturday, January 9, 2010

Defense Wants Kidnap Charges Tossed In Brooke Bennett Murder Case

~ Brooke Bennett

~Michael Jacques

In what seems to be a trend lately, to avoid the death penalty for a particularly heinous murder, attorneys are claiming the laws – be they State or Federal - are unconstitutional!

What is, I’m sure, the first of many motions to be filed, Michael Jacques’ defense attorneys claimed Friday that the federal kidnapping charges against Jacques are unconstitutional and go on to say that even if they aren’t, the prosecution lacks evidence Jacques kidnapped his niece, Brooke Bennett.

Already a convicted sex offender, Jacques was indicted for the kidnapping, drugging, raping, and strangling of 12-year-old Brooke. The October 2008 indictment also included several counts of possession of child pornography.

In 2006, the Adam Walsh Act was used by Congress to amend the Federal Kidnapping Act. It is this law that allowed the federal government to charge Jacques and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder subsequently gave approval for prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
New Jersey based, death penalty attorneys Jean Barrett and Michael Desautels, assert the Federal Kidnapping Act is unconstitutional because it overrides State of Vermont’s ability to govern by it’s own law.

The motion states: Moreover, the citizens of the State of Vermont have made clear their opposition to the death penalty for crimes committed in this state. By effectuating a means by which the Government may circumvent that intention by expanding a federal statute beyond the limits of federal authority to reach a traditionally state crime that has no impact on commerce, Congress has upset the balance of power and exceeded its Commerce Clause authority.

Therefore, 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a), as amended by the Adam Walsh Act, is unconstitutional both on its face and as applied. Accordingly, Count 1 of the Indictment must be dismissed, with prejudice.

If the motion is successful, the federal case against Jacques would be dropped and the case would revert back to state jurisdiction.

After prosecutors file a response in the next few weeks, Chief Judge William Sessions will issue a ruling in the matter.


ritanita said...

Donchais, thank you for the update on the case. I don't think any case has disgusted me more than this one. Just reading this motion by the defense brings it all back and it is even worse than I remember.

The motion itself repeats the indictment against Michael Jacques:

On or about and between June 20 - 25, 2008, in the District of Vermont, JACQUES unlawfully confined, inveigled, decoyed, kidnapped, abducted, and carried away Brooke Bennett, and held her for his own benefit and purpose, and used means, facilities, and instrumentalities of interstate commerce, namely, cell phone text messages, internet email messages, and an internet MySpaceposting,in committing or in furtherance of the commission of the offense, which resulted in the death of Brooke Bennett.

It is perfectly normal for a death-penalty qualified defense team to toss every possible motion under the sun to "save" their client.

We are going to have to be patient and wait out the blizzard of motions.

Michael Jacques will pay.

Anonymous said...

This is also happening in the Christian-Newsom case. The defense lawyers are trying to get the charges dismissed against Vanessa Coleman, the fourth suspect to be tried for the torture-murder of the young Knoxville couple.

There is a hearing scheduled for about January 26. The trial, as of now, is to start in May.

David From TN

Ronni said...

It's insane to challenge these charges on Constitutional grounds, IMO. Federal laws have always trumped state laws...that's how they've got around the medical marijuana thing...states can legalize it, but those who break federal laws are still subject to prosecution. If the challenge should ride (and I don't for a moment think it will), our entire system of federal laws could be endangered. These lawyers are trying to smash our legal system for the sake of avoiding one conviction. How nearsighted is that?

Shell said...

As much as I think that this douchebag should die I have to say that I agree with his defense attorneys. Even though I am anti-drug I also agree that the Federal government has overstepped it's bounds there as well.

Sorry to say it but there is a whole slew of federal laws that NEED to be endangered.

donchais said...

You can all guess I am against this motion, but the defense is doing what they do!

What is really intriguing is that U.S. AG Eric Holder - who has publicly stated his opposition to the death penalty - gave his approval for this to move forward as a death penalty case.

Think about it - the evidence he reviewed must have been pretty damning!