It is doubtful the the U.S. Dept of Justice will Prosecute the New York City Police Officers who shot and killed Sean Bell under 18 U.S.C. Section 242 for willfully violating his constitutional rights. The Guidelines in the U.S. Attorney’s manual governing Dual and Successive Prosecutions known as the Petite Policy require that three substantive prerequisites be satisfied;
1. The matter must involve a substantial Federal interest.
2. The prior prosecution must have left that interest demonstrably unvindicated.
3. The government must believe that the defendant’s conduct constitutes a federal offense and that the admissible evidence probably will be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction to an unbiased trier of fact.
Since The Clinton U.S. Department of Justice refused to prosecute the officers in the Amadou Diallo case it is doubtful that this Justice Dept will do so. For a full explanation of the factors to be considered by the Justice Dept. see United States Attorney’s Manual USAM Sec. 9-2.031.
For more information on civil rights cases under 42 U.S.C. §1983 click here.