18 U.S. Code § 242.Deprivation of rights under color of law
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation, willfully subjects any person in any State to the deprivation of any rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
1663. PROTECTION OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY — PROTECTION OF PUBLIC RECORDS AND DOCUMENTS
The taking of a public record or document is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 641. The destruction of such records may be reached under 18 U.S.C. § 1361. In both instances, however, proving a $100 loss, the prerequisite to a felony conviction, may be difficult. Thus, neither of these statutes adequately protects government records.
The necessary measure of protection for government documents and records is provided by 18 U.S.C. § 2071. Section 2071(a) contains a broad prohibition against destruction of government records or attempts to destroy such records. This section provides that whoever: willfully and unlawfully; conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates or destroys; or attempts to conceal, remove, mutilate, obliterate or destroy; or carries away with intent to conceal, remove, mutilate, obliterate or destroy; any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document or other thing deposited in any public office may be punished by imprisonment for three years, a $2, 000 fine, or both.
Subsection (b) of 18 U.S.C. § 2071 contains a similar prohibition specifically directed at custodians of public records. Any custodian of a public record who “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys (any record) shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.” While the range of acts proscribed by this subsection is somewhat narrower than subsection (a), it does provide the additional penalty of forfeiture of position with the United States.
The United States Code is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is prepared by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives.