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Kidnapping of Government Officials

In criminal law, kidnapping means taking away a person against the person’s will.  The kidnapping of government officials is proscribed by statute.[i] Attempt to kidnap and conspiracy to kidnap government officials are also prohibited.

The government officials prohibited from being kidnapped include:

  • the President, President-elect, Vice President, the Vice-President elect, , any person who is acting as President under the Constitution and laws of the United States, or any person appointed as specified by statute and employed in the executive office of the President or appointed and employed in the office of the Vice President.
  • Members and members-elect of Congress, heads of executive departments, directors of central intelligence, major presidential and vice-presidential candidates, federal justices.
  • Specified nominees or candidates for office.

In order to constitute the offense of kidnapping of government official, the person committing the offense need not know that the victim is protected under the law.

The person committing the offense will be punishable by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.  If kidnapping results in the death of the government official, the offender will be punishable to death.[ii]

[i] 18 USCS § 351

[ii] Id.

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