The conviction of a Lansdale, Pennsylvania woman was thrown out by the United States Supreme Court on Monday, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The court unanimously said that federal prosecutors from Philadelphia should not have used a chemical weapons treaty to go after a woman who attempted to poison the mistress of her husband.
The Justice Department was reprimanded by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for raising the specter of terrorism in the case that has been described as “a two-bit local assault.” Roberts went on to write in the opinion that the laws of Pennsylvania are strong enough to handle any threats posed by a woman in a love triangle.
Carol Anne Bond entered a guilty plea in 2007 to two counts of using a chemical weapon. She received a sentence of six years in prison for her plea. She was released in August of 2012 from a federal prison in West Virginia, but is still under supervision as ordered by a court.
Bond admitted that she attempted to poison the mistress of her husband eight years ago when she spread toxic chemicals around the Norristown home of the woman. She argued that the Philadelphia prosecutors were reaching when they tied the case to a 1997 chemical weapons treaty. Bond argued that the case was of domestic nature.
The prosecution of Bond was defended by the Justice Department, saying that she and others should be prosecuted with more dangerous terrorists. In the opinion, Roberts wrote that treaties involving foreign nations do not always beat out the authority of local and state police. Roberts also wrote that the injuries of the victim were no worse than a burned thumb. Roberts said that these injuries were not the kind of injuries addressed by the treaty.
Roberts went on to write that prosecuting Bond on these grounds would elevate common household products to chemical weapons status. The products he mentioned included vinegar, detergent and bleach.
The incident stemmed from Bond finding out her husband, Clifford, fathered the child of her best friend, Myrlinda Haynes. Bond stole a bottle of an arsenic-based compound from her employer, Rohm & Haas. She mixed it with potassium dichromate, which she bought from Amazon. She attempted to poison Haynes 24 times over the next couple of months by spreading the mixture on her door knobs, handles of her car doors, and mailbox.
Had Bond been prosecuted in state court, she would have faced a maximum of two years in prison. But, Haynes enlisted the help of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which discovered Bond placing the mixture on the mailbox.