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‘Misprision of a Felony’ Primer

Arlen Spector said this:

“There’s a crime called misprision of a felony. Misprision of a felony is when you don’t report a crime. So you’re getting into pretty deep areas here in these considerations.” — U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, D-Pa., on March 12.

LectLaw establishes what it means:

MISPRISION OF FELONY

“Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the U.S., conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the U.S. 18 USC Misprision of felony, is the like concealment of felony, without giving any degree of maintenance to the felon for if any aid be given him, the party becomes an accessory after the fact.”

Federal Code Says:

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 1 > § 4

§ 4. Misprision of felony

“Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. “

Then arises what constitutes ‘cognizable’:

Able to be tried before a particular court.

In other words, a court would have jurisdiction.

Yes, I know Spector’s comments were intended to lay potential blame on his opponent, when he followed up with:

Asked last week about Sestak’s charge by Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, Specter replies:

“That’s a very, very serious charge. It’s a big black smear without the specifications. But I’m telling you it is a federal crime punishable by jail, and anybody who wants to say that ought to back it up. Listen, Congressman Sestak has gotten a lot of political mileage out of that, and it’s really an attack on the administration.”

Sure Spector was attempting to smear his opponent (Sestak) but his words are applicable to many things as well.

There are questions similar to Spector’s that effect the current atmosphere in Washington.

No one will bring such charges against anyone. Face it. The Justice Department itself could very well be guilty of misprision, in a **different prong**.

There are a couple of Republican Senators (nice an tight with each other) who are questionable. I’ll leave that topic where it is, for now.

Know what Misprision is.

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