The key federal criminal statute makes it unlawful for anyone acting with government authority to deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States (18 U.S.C. § 241). Another statute, commonly referred to as the misconduct provision, makes it unlawful for state or local police to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of their rights (42 U.S.C. 14141 ). Official misconduct is unacceptable under any circumstances and violates a citizen’s civil rights.
18 U.S.C. § 241, making it a felony to conspire to interfere with a citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. 18 U.S.C. 241 states: “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same.
Conspiring to deprive citizens of their civil rights in violation of 18 USCS § 241 is a crime of violence within the meaning of 18 USCS § 924(c), since it creates substantial risk of violence. United States v Greer (1991, CA5 Tex) 939 F2d 1076, 36 Fed Rules Evid Serv 168, reh, en banc, gr (1991, CA5 Tex) 948 F2d 934 and reinstated, in part, on reh, en banc (1992, CA5 Tex) 968 F2d 433, reh den (1992, CA5) 1992 US App LEXIS 23160 and cert den (1993, US) 122 L Ed 2d 764, 113 S Ct 1390. 18 USCS § 241 guarantees safety and protection of persons in the exercise of Rights dependent on the Constitution.
Bergman v United States (1983, WD Mich) 565 F Supp 1353, 37FR Serv 2d 442, supp op (1984, WD Mich) 579 F Supp 911, later proceeding (1986, WD Mich) 648 F Supp 351, 6 FR Serv 3d 803, later proceeding (1988, CA6 Mich) 844 F2d 353, 10 FR Serv 3d 625. The purpose of 18 USC 241 is to protect rights and privileges of citizens under the Constitution and laws of United States.
Williams v United States (1950, CA5 Fla) 179 F2d 644, affd (1951) 341 US 70, 95 L Ed 758, 71 S Ct 581 (ovrld by United States v Price (1966) 383 US 787, 16 L Ed 2d 267, 86 S Ct 1152) as stated in United States v McDermott (1990, CA2 NY) 918 F2d 319, cert den (1991, US) 114 L Ed 2d 76, 111 S Ct 1681. “To act under color’ of law does not require that the accused be an officer of the State.
It is enough that he is a willful participant in joint activity with the State or its agents.” Pp. 383 U. S. 794-795. Page 383 U. S. 788. The wording of § 241 suggests no limitation of its coverage to exclude Fourteenth Amendment rights. “The language of § 241 is plain and unlimited. . . . [I]ts language embraces all of the rights and privileges secured to citizens by all of the Constitution and all of the laws of the United States.” P. 383 U. S. 800.
The legislative history of § 241 supports the view that it was intended to encompass Fourteenth Amendment rights within its protection. Pp. 383 U. S. 800-806. See United States v. Guest – 383 U.S. 745 (1966). The allegation in the indictment of state involvement in the conspiracy charged under § 241 was sufficient to charge a violation of rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 383 U. S. 753-757. (a) Section 241 includes within its coverage Fourteenth Amendment rights whether arising under the Equal Protection. Page 383 U. S. 746.
Clause, as in this case, or under the Due Process Clause, as in United States v. Price, post, p. 383 U. S. 787. P. 383 U. S. 753. (b) As construed to protect Fourteenth Amendment rights § 241 is not unconstitutionally vague, since, by virtue of its being a conspiracy statute it operates only against an offender acting with specific intent to infringe the right in question (Screws v. United States, 325 U. S. 91) and the right to equal use of public facilities described in the indictment has been made definite by decisions of this Court. Pp. 383 U. S. 753-754. (c) The State’s involvement need be neither exclusive nor direct in order to create rights under the Equal Protection Clause. P. 383 U. S. 755-756.