18 U.S. Code § 1388 - Prohibition on disruptions of funerals of members or former members of the Armed Forces
(a) Prohibition.— For any funeral of a member or former member of the Armed Forces that is not located at a cemetery under the control of the National Cemetery Administration or part of Arlington National Cemetery, it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in an activity during the period beginning 120 minutes before and ending 120 minutes after such funeral, any part of which activity—
(A) takes place within the boundaries of the location of such funeral or takes place within 300 feet of the point of the intersection between—
(3) is on or near the boundary of the residence, home, or domicile of any surviving member of the deceased person’s immediate family and includes any individual willfully making or assisting in the making of any noise or diversion—
(b) Penalty.— Any person who violates subsection (a) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both.
(c) Civil Remedies.—
(1) District courts.— The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction—
(3) Claims.— Any person, including a surviving member of the deceased person’s immediate family, who suffers injury as a result of conduct that violates this section may—
(A) sue therefor in any appropriate United States district court or in any court of competent jurisdiction; and
(4) Estoppel.— A final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the United States in any criminal proceeding brought by the United States under this section shall estop the defendant from denying the essential allegations of the criminal offense in any subsequent civil proceeding brought by a person or by the United States.
(d) Actual and Statutory Damages.—
(1) In general.— In addition to any penalty imposed under subsection (b), a violator of this section is liable in an action under subsection (c) for actual or statutory damages as provided in this subsection.
(2) Actions by private persons.— A person bringing an action under subsection (c)(3) may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the violation or, instead of actual damages, an award of statutory damages for each violation involved in the action.
(3) Actions by attorney general.— In any action under subsection (c)(2), the Attorney General is entitled to recover an award of statutory damages for each violation involved in the action notwithstanding any recovery under subsection (c)(3).
(e) Rebuttable Presumption.— It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the violation was committed willfully for purposes of determining relief under this section if the violator, or a person acting in concert with the violator, did not have reasonable grounds to believe, either from the attention or publicity sought by the violator or other circumstance, that the conduct of such violator or person would not disturb or tend to disturb the peace or good order of such funeral, impede or tend to impede the access to or egress from such funeral, or disturb or tend to disturb the peace of any surviving member of the deceased person’s immediate family who may be found on or near the residence, home, or domicile of the deceased person’s immediate family on the date of the service or ceremony.
(f) Definitions.— In this section—
(1) the term “Armed Forces” has the meaning given the term in section 101 of title 10 and includes members and former members of the National Guard who were employed in the service of the United States; and
(2) the term “immediate family” means, with respect to a person, the immediate family members of such person, as such term is defined in section 115 of this title.
Source(Added Pub. L. 109–464, § 1(a),Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3480; amended Pub. L. 112–154, title VI, § 601(b),Aug. 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 1196.)
2012—Pub. L. 112–154amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section prohibited disruptions of funerals of members or former members of the Armed Forces during period beginning 60 minutes before and ending 60 minutes after such funerals within funeral boundaries, within 150 feet of certain intersections or within 300 feet of funeral boundaries and provided criminal penalties and definitions.
Purpose and Authority
“(1) Purpose.—The purpose of this section [amending this section and section 2413 of Title 38, Veterans’ Benefits] is to provide necessary and proper support for the recruitment and retention of the Armed Forces and militia employed in the service of the United States by protecting the dignity of the service of the members of such Forces and militia, and by protecting the privacy of their immediate family members and other attendees during funeral services for such members.
“(2) Constitutional authority.—Congress finds that this section is a necessary and proper exercise of its powers under the Constitution, article I, section 8, paragraphs 1, 12, 13, 14, 16, and 18, to provide for the common defense, raise and support armies, provide and maintain a navy, make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces, and provide for organizing and governing such part of the militia as may be employed in the service of the United States.”
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