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U.S. Marshals and the Federal Executions

The Judiciary Act of 1789 assigned to the U. S. Marshals the task to conduct the death sentence on the federal prisoners condemned by the federal courts. Dave Turk, U. S. Marshals Service’s Historian wrote that it was U. S. Marshal Henry Dearborn of Maine who executed Thomas Bird for the murder on the high seas on June 25, 1790, which was considered to be first federal execution ever conducted.

To fulfill the task, the US Federal Marshals Service procured permanent equipment like a portable scaffold that could be easily packed for travel as used by US Marshal E.D. Nix of Oklahoma Territory. In 1953, U. S. Marshals Wiliam A. Carroll of New York attended and carried out the famous federal executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were sentenced to death under § 2 of the Espionage Act under Title 18, § 794 of the U. S. Code, which prohibits transmitting or attempting to transmit government information that affect national defense. Mr. Carroll rented an electric chair at Sing Sing Prison to effect Rosenberg’s execution (Freedom of Information Privacy Act 2005).

In 2001, US Marshal Frank Anderson of Northern Indiana attended the Timothy McVeigh’s and Juan Raul Garza’s executions at the Federal Penitentiary at Terre Haute. McVeigh’s death sentence was for the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City (Historical Federal Execution n. d. ) The Counterfeiters The lack of a standardized form of currency on the part of the federal government and the financial institutions coupled with frequent recession produced uncertainty to the early American people.

The absence of stringent and unified banking regulations concerning issuance of bank notes had created an opportunity for counterfeiters in the 1830s. It was told that almost half of the currencies in circulation during those times were counterfeit, thus, in order to minimize circulation of these “notes” and “currencies,” the Treasury Department relied on the U. S. Marshals’ help to pursue and capture these counterfeiters.

In 1989, Jackson in an article appearing in the Smithsonian Magazine on the Bicentennial year of the U. S. Marshals described the Marshals work to help the federal government in its fight to curve counterfeiters. Jackson (1989) opened the public’s eye to one particular “coneyman” named James Burns. Burns was Ohio Marshal Daniel Robertson’s obsessions in the 1840s for being a manufacturer of bogus coins. Unable to track Burns, Robertson and his deputies persuaded Burn’s wife that he was a business associate.

Having won her trust, Burn’s wife told everything regarding her husband’s present location and operation, which resulted to the arrest of her husband in Virginia. In the Line of Duty Like any federal or state law enforcement agencies, death or physical harm is to be expected by every member. In the US Federal Marshals’ entire history there were 214 Marshals killed in the line of duty. In 1989, Calhoun’s recounted the extent of physical harm a U. S. Marshals received as an enforcer and personified authority of Federal government in their local communities.

American peoples’ outbursts towards the federal government were often directed to the Marshals’ and their deputies as a federal enforcer, and these frictions often resulted to interference in their functions, arrests, and imprisonments. The 1809 Olmstead’s case brought many troubles in Marshal John Smith’s life when the Court ordered him to collect money from the State of Pennsylvania. Marshal Smith defied the Pennsylvania state legislature passed resolution calling to defy him in his collection efforts.

Without fear from the General Bright’s men for his life, he enforced the writ of attachment to the defendant via the backdoor. In some instances marshals sacrificed their lives in line of duty. Robert Forsyth. While trying to serve a civil paper to Allen brothers, Beverly and William, on January 11, 1794, U. S. Marshal for the District of Georgia Robert Forsyth was shot and sustained a fatal head injury that killed him instantly. Mr. Forsyth was the first US federal law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty (U. S. Marshals Roll Call of Honor n. d. ). Kenneth Muir.

The refusal to pay taxes of a federal fugitive Gordon Kahl, leader of a violence-prone Posse Commitatus group caught the ire of US Marshal Kenneth Muir and his deputies. Being a federal fugitive, Muir pursued Kahl relentlessly, which resulted to an encounter in a roadblock on the outskirt of Medina, North Dakota on February 13, 1983. Kahl’s group opened fire with Muir team resulting to Muir and his deputy’s death. The circumstances surrounding the death of Marshal Kenneth Muir and his deputies were considered one of the violent in the U. S. Marshals’ history (U. S. Marshals Roll Call of Honor n. d. ).

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