Criminal Provisions against Willful Interference with Federally Protected Activities (18 U.S.C.A. § 245)

18 U.S.C. § 245 prevents willful interference with certain federally protected activities.  The statute aims to prevent the abuse of an individual’s civil rights by force or threat of force, or disruptions or attempted disruptions that are not a part of the functioning of a state’s legal process.

18 U.S.C. § 245 prescribes criminal penalties for any person who by force, or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates, or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, any person or any class of persons from:

  1. voting, campaigning as a candidate or for a candidate to an elective office, acting as a poll watcher, or any legally authorized election official, in any primary, special, or general election;
  2. participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by the United States;
  3. applying for or enjoying employment, or any perquisite thereof, by any agency of the United States;
  4. serving, or attending upon any court in connection with possible service, as a grand or petit juror in any court of the United States; and
  5. participating in or enjoying the benefits of any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

18 U.S.C. § 245 also lays down criminal penalties for any person who, by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates, or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate, or interfere with any person because of his/her race, color, religion or national origin and because s/he has been:

  1. enrolling in or attending any public school or public college;
  2. participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility or activity provided or administered by any state or subdivision thereof applying for or enjoying employment, or any perquisite thereof, by any private employer or any agency of any State or subdivision thereof, or joining or using the services or advantages of any labor organization, hiring hall, or employment agency;
  3. serving, or attending upon any court of any State in connection with possible service, as a grand or petit juror;
  4. traveling in or using any facility of interstate commerce, or using any vehicle, terminal, or facility of any common carrier by motor, rail, water, or air; and
  5. enjoying the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, or of any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility which serves the public and which is principally engaged in selling food or beverages for consumption on the premises, or of any gasoline station, or of any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium, or any other place of exhibition or entertainment which serves the public, or of any other establishment which serves the public.

Inside Criminal Provisions against Willful Interference with Federally Protected Activities (18 U.S.C.A. § 245)