MSU College of Law News

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 25, 2007

CONTACT: KATIE GALLAGHER
517/432-6848, galla145@law.msu.edu

MSU LAW PROFESSOR DISCUSSES YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK’S “ZONE OF DEATH”
Professor Kalt’s Article Inspires Novel and Possible Legislation

EAST LANSING, MI – Michigan State University College of Law Professor Brian C. Kalt’s 2005 article “The Perfect Crime,” which was published in the Georgetown Law Journal, has inspired mystery writer C.J. Box’s seventh installation of his famed Joe Pickett novel series.

In the article, Professor Kalt uncovered Yellowstone National Park’s “Zone of Death,” a 50-square-mile strip of land in the remote Idaho portion of the park that contains a potentially deadly loophole.

"In 1894, Congress put this part of Idaho in the judicial district of Wyoming," Professor Kalt explains. "Because it sits in one state, but in the district of another, the Sixth Amendment requires that any crime committed there must be tried before a jury drawn from that strip of land – but nobody lives there. Also, because it is in a federal park, there is no state jurisdiction."

Free Fire unfolds as protagonist Joe Pickett is called to investigate an attorney who admitted to murdering four campers in the remote area of the park, but convinced the courts that he could not be prosecuted.

Professor Kalt assisted Box with the technical legal aspects of Free Fire and as a result of the novel, inspired U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) to take interest in possibly fixing the loophole.

Box’s Joe Pickett series was described by The Wall Street Journal as “outstanding” and Free Fire has already received starred reviews in Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus listed it as one of the "Hot Releases of 2007."

Free Fire goes on sale May 10 and its official unveiling takes place at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park on May 18.  Box will sign books at Schuler Books & Music in Grand Rapids on May 13 and in Okemos on May 14.  Professor Kalt will be on hand to explain Yellowstone's "Zone of Death" at the May 14 and 18 events.

MSU College of Law was in founded in 1891 and is a private institution of higher learning devoted exclusively to professional education in law.  The Law College is one of only a few private law schools to be affiliated with a research university, enabling it to provide a comprehensive interdisciplinary legal education program.  Classes offered in its state-of-the-art facilities provide students the benefits of a Big Ten campus while maintaining the small school culture.  Its 2006 graduates achieved a 93 percent bar examination passage rate nationwide and the Law College’s Intellectual Property and Communications Law Program falls in the nation’s top-20 according to U.S. News & World Report.  The Law College is one of the oldest continuously operating independent law colleges in the nation.  For more information about the Law College, visit www.law.msu.edu .

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