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Fowler to Impact Fourth Circuit

By Justin Brown 8 years agoNo Comments

A recent Supreme Court opinion, Fowler v. United States, issues of a firm rebuke of the Fourth Circuit’s position on the Federal Witness Tampering statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(a)(1)(C). The Fourth Circuit had been allowing the Government to successfully charge federal witness tampering even in cases in which there was no apparent connection to a “federal offense.” Now, according to SCOTUS, the statute must be interpreted as… well, as it is actually written. That is, “the Government must show that there was a reasonable likelihood that a relevant communication would have been made to a federal officer.”
Although this ruling may not affect a huge number of cases, it is symbolically important because it tightens the reigns on some instances of Government overreaching — ie when the Government brings cases in federal court that really belong in state court.

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 Justin Brown

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Justin Brown is a trial attorney based in Baltimore, Maryland. He has tried criminal and civil cases in state district court, state circuit court, and the United States District Court for Maryland. He has argued appeals before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the Maryland Court of Appeals and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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