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Society & Culture
Virtual Legality Episode 197

Lawyer: Is Spreading Coronavirus a Federal Crime?

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1y Mar 27, 2020
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Across the world, folks are getting in on "the Coronavirus challenge", licking deodorants, toilets, and various other cries for publicity (and help) all organized around of the spread of COVID-19.

Seeing this, the US Department of Justice has gone so far as to put out a memo suggesting that such things might be crimes under federal law, whether as the acts of bioterrorists or as the use of a "weapon of mass destruction".

But are those statutes really a good fit? And what risks are imposed by trying to wrestle imperfect language around imperfect facts?

We never cut a great road through the law...in Virtual Legality.

#Coronavirus #Covid19 #DoJ


Discussed in this episode:

"Those who intentionally spread coronavirus could be charged as terrorists"
Politico - March 24, 2020 - Josh Gerstein
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/24/coronavirus-terrorism-justice-department-147821

"A man accused of licking deodorants in a Missouri Walmart after asking 'Who's afraid of the coronavirus?' was charged with making a terrorist threat"
Business Insider - March 25, 2020 - Sinead Baker
https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-man-accused-licking-walmart-items-charged-with-terror-threat-2020-3

"Making a terrorist threat, penalty."
2012 Missouri Revised Statutes
https://law.justia.com/codes/missouri/2012/titlexxxviii/chapter574/section574115/

Memo - "Department of Justice Enforcement Actions Related to COVID-19"
March 24, 2020
https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000171-128a-d911-aff1-becb9b530000

"Definitions"
18 USC 178
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/178

"Prohibitions with respect to biological weapons"
18 USC 175
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/175

"Use of weapons of mass destruction"
18 USC 2332a
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2332a

"Violations"
CA Health and Safety Code - Sec 120290
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=HSC&sectionNum=120290.

"Coronavirus: 'Moron' who licked toilet bowl 'now in hospital with the bug'"
Mirror - March 25, 2020 - Ryan Merrifield
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/coronavirus-challenge-moron-who-licked-21749466


"Virtual Legality" is a continuing series discussing the law, video games, software, and everything digital, hosted by Richard Hoeg, of the Hoeg Law Business Law Firm (Hoeg Law).

CHECK OUT THE REST OF VIRTUAL LEGALITY HERE:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1zDCgJzZUy9YAU61GoW-00K0TJOGnPCo

DISCUSSION IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED IN THE LEGAL TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS VIDEO SHOULD CONSULT WITH THEIR OWN COUNSEL.


Blog: hoeglaw.wordpress.com

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About Hoeg Law

The Hoeg Law Firm is a business law firm with big law experience and a small firm approach focusing on start-ups, technology, financing, and everything else a business might need.


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