Monday, March 23, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The federal government overreached when it used an anti-terrorism law to prosecute a jealous lab technician who tried to harm her husband’s mistress by leaving deadly chemicals on a door handle at her home and in the tailpipe of her car, a defense attorney argued on appeal Monday.

Carol Anne Bond, 37, of Lansdale, is serving a six-year prison term after admitting to trying to harm her romantic rival with toxic chemicals that she stole from her workplace. She also admitted to twice stealing the woman’s mail. The victim was not injured.

In arguments before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyer Robert E. Goldman challenged both the 1999 chemical-weapon law and its application in the Bond case.

“Obviously, this (statute) was intended to deal with a rogue state, intended to deal with terrorists. It wasn’t intended to deal with a housewife” in a love triangle, said Goldman, a former federal prosecutor.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Shapiro called the use of the statute appropriate in the case. However, he said he did not know if Bond could have been prosecuted federally if the statute was not in use. Goldman believes Bond at most violated a state law.

He also challenged the enhanced sentence Bond received for using a special skill to commit the crime. Bond had stolen the potassium dichromate _ which is potentially deadly if ingested _ from Rohm & Haas, where she worked.

He argued that Bond is a microbiologist, not a chemist, and had only the same routine training on chemical safety that 1,000 other employees received. The sentencing judge had found that Bond’s use of gloves while handling the chemical was evidence of her special skill.

Bond’s husband, Clifford, attended the arguments. He had a child with victim Myrlinda Haynes while married to Bond. At the December 2007 guilty plea, Goldman said the stress of the affair drove the law-abiding Bond to a psychological breakdown.

Bond has been in prison since her June 2007 arrest.

She had worked as a chemical technician at Rohm & Haas’ Spring House Technical Center from 2000 until November 2006, when she left on good terms, according to the company.

The three-judge panel did not indicate when they would rule.

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