Carol Anne Laletta Bond
was furious at her
husband and his
lover, who was pregnant
At issue is whether Bond
has a right -- called "standing" -- to challenge her
federal prosecution and argue that it should have been handled in state courts.
Oral arguments in the case will be heard by the justices Tuesday.
The implications go far beyond this case, and could establish important precedents on the strength and purpose of the Constitution's 10th Amendment, which limits federal authority.
It is also an issue roiling the current political debate, especially among Tea Party conservatives in this post-9/11, security-conscious environment.
The case, which barely made a ripple in local media, had been all but ignored until the high court stepped in last October and agreed to accept it.
Bond, a native of Barbados, lived outside Philadelphia and worked as a microbiologist.
As a federal appeals court succinctly summarized the relevant facts in the case: "Bond
was excited when her
closest friend, Myrlinda Haynes, announced she
Bond's excitement turned to rage when she
learned that her
husband, Clifford Bond, was the child's father.
-- known to her
family as Betty -- struck back by putting her
science training to ill use.
The 40-year-old stole dangerous chemicals -- arsenic-based 10-chloro-10H-phenoxarsine, to be exact -- from her
company, and also obtained potassium dichromate over the internet.
Both substances in heavy doses can cause toxic, even lethal harm with very little physical contact.
then tried to poison Haynes some two dozen times over several months, secretly sprinkling the chemicals on an apartment doorknob, car door handles and a mailbox.
suffered no more than a chemical burn on her
thumb, Haynes noticed something was amiss -- one of the chemicals is a bright orange powder -- and called local police in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, who merely suggested she
just wipe her
car and doors regularly.
Unhappy with that response, Haynes contacted her
local mail carrier, and federal postal inspectors quickly jumped into the mystery.
Surveillance cameras were set up and sure enough, Bond
was videotaped stealing mail and placing chemicals inside the mailbox and car muffler, court records show.
was soon arrested.
lawyer says Bond
guilt early on in what they considered a domestic dispute involving a woman emotionally traumatized by the betrayal of two people once very close to her
never meant to kill Haynes, but only wanted to cause her
"an uncomfortable rash.
The defendant also said her
friend's betrayal caused an "emotional breakdown" that made her
act in such a shocking fashion.
Instead of being charged with simple assault, which may have gotten her
six months to a year or two in state prison, Bond
was indicted in federal court on two counts of mail fraud and the bombshell: two counts of violating a federal law and international treaty for the possession and use of "chemical weapons."
When a judge denied her
motions to transfer the case to state court, Bond
pleaded guilty and immediately appealed.
received a sentence of six years behind bars and nearly $12,000 in fines and restitution.
is serving her
time in a federal prison in West Virginia, and could be released as early as next year.
An appeals court ultimately rejected her
claims, concluding that as an individual, Bond
could not challenge her
"A private party lacks standing to claim that the federal government is impinging on state sovereignty in violation of the 10th Amendment, absent the involvement of a state or its officers," said the three-judge panel.
"Law enforcement personnel legally obtained the evidence that led to her
indictment" and she
was "appropriately punished."
The strange case took an even stranger turn when the Supreme Court was asked to weigh in. After first adamantly claiming Bond
had no right to appeal, the Justice Department
Justice Department lawyers
"decided that was really not a position they wanted to defend, and they came around and they will actually be sitting at the counsel table with me, joining me in the argument that Ms. Bond
They see Bond
as an unexpected hero in that fight to return "the power back to the people."
declined an interview with CNN
lawyer says her
husband is supporting her
in the legal fight.
The couple is trying to overcome his
infidelity and has been working to rebuild their shaky marriage.
has even allowed him to visit her