Attorneys for accused pipe bomber question role of library in interstate commerce

A man accused of setting off a pipe bomb at the main Salt Lake City library tried to convince a federal judge that charges should be dropped against him because the library does not impact interstate commerce.
During a motion hearing, attorneys for Thomas James Zajac argued that the government's charges relating to possessing and detonating an explosive device must show that the target building has something to do with inter-state commerce.

Attorney Deirdre Gorman argued that the city library's core mission is to provide services to the residents of Salt Lake City and that it's business does not extend outside of the state. Because of that, the government should not be able to prosecute Zajac with interfering with interstate commerce.


Have the state charge him with a crime. I am sure it is against some state law to bomb a building.

This is a Federal Court not a state court. The interstate commerce part is what keeps it in Federal Court. It seems a bit of a reach really to say that a library is involved in interstate commerce. Any place that gets mail could be involved in interstate commerce.

I would have gone for the federal telecommunication grant money angle.

I would imagine the question would be whether or not contributing to OCLC's WorldCat database would meet the threshold for this. Interlibrary loans would also seemingly fit too.
Stephen Kellat, Host, LISTen

the library is just a building, but it is also a place of communication and information transfer. if so, any public building or private business with Internet could be considered a link for interstate anything. I guess you then have to argue whether the majority of the Internet traffic is local or distance traffic.

I like that damaging a library can be a federal crime. I hope that applies to harming library employees some day.

I think the FBI gets to investigate Church bombings, so say you prayed in the library and that will keep it in Federal Court.

I know I have prayed in the library. It is usually something like...."God please make the guy with the crazy ref questions like how much does the skin weigh not have a ref question today."

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