Nation e-Edition

Bajan case in US Supreme Court

Bajan case in US Supreme Court Carol Anne Bond (FP)

By Tony Best | Tue, December 10, 2013 - 12:04 AM

A Bajan in a love triangle will have the satisfaction of helping to write a major chapter in United States legal history.

Carol Bond, a microbiologist from Barbados who worked for a chemical manufacturer in Pennsylvania, has asked the United States Supreme Court to settle once and for all a key constitutional question which federal jurists have been trying to resolve since the 1920s.

The dispute: does the 10th Amendment to the United States constitution allow Congress to enlarge its powers by approving an international treaty whose provisions then become local law?

Just last month the Supreme Court in Washington heard evidence in the case but has reserved its judgment.

In the meantime, legal luminaries across the nation and commentators have joined the debate, with some backing the Barbadian and others opposing her. Backers are insisting the United States Justice Department went too far by making a federal case out of a simple matter that should have been settled in a Pennsylvania state court.

Incidentally, the public official who has considerable interest in the case is United States Attorney General Eric Holder, who like Bond, has strong Barbadian roots. Both his mother and father traced their lineage to Barbados.

“This case is definitely a blockbuster,” said Georgetown University law professor Nicholas Rosenkranz about the possible outcome of an issue that was heard twice by the nation’s top court.

“It raises a question of whether a treaty can increase the legislative power of Congress,” said Rosenkranz.

The history of the case, Carol Anne Bond vs United States, can be traced to the jealous rage of the Barbadian after she discovered that her husband had impregnated her best friend, Myrlinda Haynes. The wife became so angry that she allegedly threatened Haynes, vowing: “I am going to make your life a living hell.”

She allegedly stole her husband’s lover’s mail; reportedly put toxic chemicals in the woman’s car; and sprayed some of it on the door-knob of her home and the car handles. None of which had any lasting effect on the victim.

Bond was unaware that US postal investigators were watching and recording her actions as evidence. Federal prosecutors moved in and slapped the Bajan with charges brought under a statute that was passed in order to implement US obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998.

In the end, the Bajan pleaded guilty to causing a slight injury to Haynes but retained the right to appeal her case on 10th Amendment grounds.

That amendment holds that the “powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people”.

As punishment, Bond was sent to federal prison for six years but she appealed her case and it ended up before the Supreme Court, which decided unanimously that as an individual, the Bajan had a right to challenge federal court decisions using the 10th Amendment. When the case went back to a lower court, she lost and she returned it on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Conservative scholars and media gurus mounted a spirited national legal defence on Bond’s behalf, because they insisted the federal government and the Congress over-reached themselves and must be stopped from becoming too powerful.

“No one argues that Bond intended to kill with the bright orange chemical her victims detected,” George Will, perhaps America’s best known leading conservative pundit, wrote in a syndicated column.

“And the federal government didn’t intervene because her action threatened a distinct federal interest. It intervened because it thought it could.”

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Posted by Carl Harper 10 months, 2 weeks ago
When yuh best friend horn yuh and the matter ends up in the U.S. Supreme Court, yuh know dat is something big.

"...the jealous rage of the Barbadian after she discovered that her husband had impregnated her best friend...The wife became so angry that she allegedly threatened [the outside woman], vowing: 'I am going to make your life a living hell'.

"[The wife] allegedly stole her husband’s lover’s mail; reportedly put toxic chemicals in the woman’s car; and sprayed some of it on the door-knob of her home and the car handles."

Unfortunately, this is not a love triangle from a Stephenie Meyer's novel but a true story involving one of Barbados' brightest brains and best exports who served prison time for her crime.

Oftentimes we want to relegate these nefarious acts and ensuing domestic violence to the lower eschelons of the socioeconomic stratum. Here we have a highly educated woman, whom we think should know better, behaving in a most undignified manner.

This is a matter I would like to see the National Organization of Women (NOW) comment on because of its potential for more serious domestic violence. No need for MESA to make a statement because men find it hard to resist a woman's snare.

Just in case NOW pretends women having affairs with their best friend's husbands is a North American phenomenon, it happens right here in Barbados, daily. It only gets glib mention in "Puddin 'n' Souse" on Saturdays and is passed off as malicious gossip and entertainment, without any implications for domestic violence.

The point is, domestic violence can appear from any direction, and not only by crazy insecure men who want to control or dominate their girlfriends or wives.

Until NOW face the often unspoken (taboo) and hidden realities in relationships that can lead to precipitating domestic violence and engage men's groups in meaningful dialog, there is unlikely to be any solution to this societal scourge.

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Posted by june skeete 10 months, 2 weeks ago
Blah, blah, stuff...all she had to do was 'DEAL' with her husband!!!!!!!

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Posted by Bajan Fishermen 10 months, 2 weeks ago
This case, should never have been in the Federal Court at all. This is a case that ordinarily would have been handled in the State courts, and either tried, or a plea agreement to Probation since she had no priors.
What is interesting here, is that it has brought international treaties into the picture, as it relates to the laws of the USA.
If they rule in her favour, and it looks that they will as a constitutional issue, then all those treaties will have to be revisited.

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Posted by Pan Wallie 10 months, 2 weeks ago
All the legal jargon amounts to whether she committed an act of terrorism - that weapons of mass destruction thing. Now the only person she was at war with/intending punishing was her best friend, not even the indifffferent husband, but at the heart of the matter is the method she used. We all know that when it comes to matters of the heart, more often than naught the spirit of God does not dwell in man, but she has really hurt herself personally and professionally more than those two deceivers, whom I bet have gone on with their lives. The question is: should this be treated as an act of terrorism? I say no. I don't know if this friend or husband expected her to simply walk away or go to church and pray. Truth be told she might have been better off doing that or taking them to the cleaners.

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