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United States v. Kilmartin

United States District Court, D. Maine

March 25, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
SIDNEY P. KILMARTIN

For SIDNEY P KILMARTIN, Defendant: JAMES A. BILLINGS, LEAD ATTORNEY, MATTHEW D. MORGAN, WALTER F. MCKEE, MCKEE BILLINGS, AUGUSTA, ME.

For USA, Plaintiff: HALSEY B. FRANK, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, PORTLAND, ME.

Page 181

ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

JOHN A. WOODCOCK, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Sidney Kilmartin moves to dismiss the indictment on the theories that the Court lacks federal subject matter jurisdiction in

Page 182

this case, and that the statute under which he has been charged, 18 U.S.C. § 1716, is unconstitutionally vague in violation of his due process rights. The Court denies Mr. Kilmartin's motion to dismiss, concluding that it has subject matter jurisdiction and that 18 U.S.C. § 1716 is not unconstitutionally vague.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On November 4, 2014, a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Kilmartin on two counts of depositing for mailing and delivery a nonmailable substance, with the intent to kill or injure Andrew Denton of Hull, England, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1716. Indictment (ECF No. 3). Count I of the indictment reads:

On about November 16, 2012, in the District of Maine and elsewhere, the defendant Sidney P. Kilmartin knowingly, and with the intent to kill or injure another, deposited for mailing and delivery something declared nonmailable by Title 18, United States Code, Section 1716, not in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the United States Postal Service, in other words, potassium cyanide, a poison, which Kilmartin mailed to Andrew Denton of Hull, England.
All in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1716(j)(2).

Indictment at 1. Count II reads:

On about December 11, 2012, in the District of Maine and elsewhere, the defendant Sidney P. Kilmartin knowingly deposited for mailing and delivery something declared nonmailable by Title 18, United States Code, Section 1716, not in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the United States Postal Service, in other words, potassium cyanide, a poison, which resulted in the death of a person, Andrew Denton.
All in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1716(j)(3).

Indictment at 2.

On January 30, 2015, Mr. Kilmartin moved to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that federal subject matter jurisdiction is lacking and that the § 1716(j)(3) is unconstitutionally vague. Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 36) ( Def.'s Mot.). The Government responded on February 20, 2015. Gov't's Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 38) ( Gov't's Opp'n ). Mr. Kilmartin replied on March 6, 2015. Def.'s Reply to Gov't's Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss (ECF No. 42) ( Def.'s Reply ).

II. THE PARTIES' POSITIONS

A. Sidney Kilmartin's Motion

Mr. Kilmartin first argues that subject matter jurisdiction is lacking in this case because the mailing was not made with an intent to kill and did not result in death. Def.'s Mot. at 7-11. Mr. Kilmartin contends that the legislative history laying out the federal interest supporting § 1716 " focus[es] on the use of the mails as an instrumentality to cause injury or death", but does not mean to include harm that occurs " once the mail has been opened and the recipient endeavors to use the contents of the package at some later point to commit suicide of his own free-will." Id. at 9-10.

Second, Mr. Kilmartin argues that 18 U.S.C. § 1716(j)(3), the violation of which is alleged in Count II, violates his due process rights under the Constitution because it is overly vague. Id. at 12. Specifically, Mr. Kilmartin argues that the statutory language " resulted in the death of any person" is ambiguous because it is unclear from the face of the statute whether a mailed item later used voluntarily by the recipient to kill himself qualifies as " results" in the death of a person. Id. at 14-15. He maintains that the statute does not

Page 183

expressly and unambiguously prohibit mailing something that later results in a death preceded by intervening and voluntary act of ...


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