What crimes have been committed or attempted in space? What are the procedures that the various space agencies have for dealing with on-orbit crime, either on the ISS or on another spacecraft? Would the final say of punishment lie with the mission commander, or with someone on the ground? What if the mission commander were accused of a crime?
There's the following gem in the Apollo 13 transcript, regarding astronaut Jack Swigert:
024:18:10 CC Okay. Some truck lines are being struck in the Midwest, and the school teachers have walked off the job in Minneapolis. Today's favorite pasttime across the - Uh oh; have you guys completed your income tax?
024:18:28 CDR How do I apply for an extension?
024:18:31 CC (Laughter)
024:18:32 CMP Yes, Joe. I got to - hey, listen - It ain't too funny; things kind of happened real fast down there, and I do need an extension.
024:18:43 CC (Laughter)
024:18:44 CMP I didn't get mine filed. And this is serious; would you - -
024:18:47 CC You're breaking up the room down here.
024:18:49 CMP - - because I may be spending time in a - -
024:18:51 CC We'll see - -
024:18:52 CMP I may be spending time in a - I may be spending time in another quarantine besides the one that they are planning for me.
(To be fair to him, he was assigned to the mission 3 days before launch).
I'm not a lawyer, but from what I can find, the failure to file income tax is a criminal offence in the US.
In this case, this was sorted out by mission control helping him to get the IRS to grant him an extension.
In countries of law, the final say in punishment if someone goes through with a crime is up to the legal system.
The crew of Apollo 7 defied many orders from mission control, due to a crowded schedule, a lack of sleep, and the commander's head cold. Because all three were active members of the military at the time, they could have been subject to a military tribunal for insubordination.
Instead of a trial, they were never allowed to fly again. They were also the only crew to not be awarded the Distinguished Service Medal during the Apollo era.
Does mutiny count? If so, then I submit an incident back in 1973 involving the Skylab 4 crew who, citing excessive work load and not enough rest, stopped communicating with the ground stations and did not perform their scheduled duties.
Granted, some sources claim that the episode wasn’t a mutiny in the technical sense, but it did have the consequence of forcing NASA to reconsider how they had been treating crews.
I believe this has not been settled in court yet, but astronaut Anne McClain has been accused of illegally accessing her estranged spouse's bank account from a computer on the ISS:
Then, earlier this year McClain allegedly accessed Worden's bank account while the astronaut was at the space station.
Worden said her bank “did give evidence to my attorneys that she did access my bank accounts,” according to KPRC. “I was shocked and appalled at the audacity by her to think that she could get away with that, and I was very disheartened that I couldn't keep anything private.”
Worden's attorneys wrote to the NASA Office of Inspector General in July this year about the alleged breach.
Her attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. A copy of the letter obtained by KPRC gives computer details to show that McClain accessed Worden's bank account a few times from a NASA computer in January and February.
According to other press reports there's no issue of jurisdiction because both the astronaut and her alleged victim are US citizens, so US law applies. Apparently there is a small section of the treaty governing operation of the ISS that covers criminal disputes:
The International Space Station is governed by an international treaty called the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on Space Station Cooperation. The document does include a small section on criminal jurisdiction. It states very clearly that each country involved in the ISS has criminal jurisdiction over their own personnel in space, as long as they do not affect someone from another country. Both McClain and Worden are US citizens, which makes it clear that American laws would apply here.
Things would have been hairier, though, if this complaint had been lodged by an international partner aboard the ISS. If a dispute arises in orbit between two members of differing countries, the two governments would have to consult with one another and figure out which type of law to use. But there is a time limit on how long the countries can bicker over jurisdiction. If they can’t come to an agreement after three months, the government of the alleged victim is granted jurisdiction if the alleged perpetrator refuses to cooperate with the negotiations.
The bible-reading from lunar orbit on Apollo-8 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_8_Genesis_reading)lead to a court hearing claiming a violation of First Amendment separation of church and state.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair, founder of American Atheists, responded by suing the United States government, alleging violations of the First Amendment. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. It was submitted to a three-judge panel, which concluded that the case was not a three-judge matter, and dismissed the case for failure to state a cause of action. The direct appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Another appeal was heard before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court's dismissal per curiam. The Supreme Court declined to review the case
I don't know if these precisely match the original intent of the question, but for posterity's sake consider that:
There are some who feel that the constant presence of visible low-flying Starlink satellites to people gazing up at the evening or morning skies is a crime against humanity, and their impact even when at altitude on both visible and radio astronomy is a crime against science.
As a counterexample, here is a purported crime in space that was initially talked about in popular media for a few days but simply did not happen!
I am posting it here as a reminder so that it doesn't get posted twice.
I'd heard on a podcast a while back (maybe an episode of Star Talk?) that it was initially suspected that someone tried to sabotage the ISS. I don't remember the episode but apparently there was some damage to the inside walls that could have only been done intentionally.
At the time it wasn't known who had done it, and some ventured a guess that would constitute crimes in the jurisdictions of any of the crew members.
Later on cooler heads prevailed and it was generally accepted that the hole was an accident during manufacture and the makeshift plug put on it had fallen off during spaceflight.
Was that a crime? Hard to say, but either way it didn't take place in space and no astronaut was every considered as a perpetrator!