United States v. Le, No. 16-819 (2d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction under the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 and related statutes for ordering the lethal toxin ricin over the internet for the stated purpose of facilitating murder. The court held that defendant did not stand convicted of purely local conduct so as to require construction of the Act according to principles of federalism. The court also held that defendant's conduct fell within the Act even when construed according to principles of federalism. In this case, defendant's conduct -- attempting to acquire ricin over the internet and using a false identity to have the Postal Service deliver the toxin to him -- manifests no purely local crime as in Bond v. United States, but conduct of primarily federal concern. Furthermore, Congress's enactment of the Act fell within its Commerce Clause authority and defendant's constitutional challenges failed. Finally, the court declined to review defendant's ineffective assistance claim in this appeal.