Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Eley

United States District Court, D. Maine

March 9, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
NAQUAN ELEY, Defendant

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          D. Brock Hornby United States District Judge

         The federal grand jury sitting in Portland, Maine, indicted this defendant for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base and heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) & 846.[1] Indictment (ECF No. 3). His former lawyer filed on the defendant's behalf a pro se motion to dismiss the indictment (ECF No. 55). Ordinarily I would not entertain a defendant's pro se motion while he was represented by a lawyer. A defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to a lawyer, or to proceed on his own behalf (pro se), Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 835 (1975), but not both simultaneously. United States v. Betancourt-Arretuche, 933 F.2d 89, 94-95 (1st Cir. 1991) (characterizing “hybrid representation”-i.e., proceeding both pro se and with a lawyer-as an option within the sound discretion of the trial court, but not a right). In this case, however, the defendant's lawyer filed the pro se motion at a time when the defendant was seeking court appointment of a new lawyer (ECF No. 58), and the previous lawyer was seeking to withdraw because of a breakdown in communications between lawyer and client (ECF No. 56). The defendant now has a new lawyer, but the motion to dismiss has not been withdrawn, and I will therefore to proceed to rule on it. The motion is Denied, along with the government's motion for an extension of time to respond to it.

         The defendant correctly recognizes that the Portland grand jury is drawn from the Counties of Androscoggin, Cumberland, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc, and York. Plan for the Random Selection of Grand and Petit Jurors for Service in the District of Maine at 3 (Nov. 2, 2016).[2] He asserts that the government must “produce the title(s) and deed(s) listing the United States as the owner of all of the counties in Maine used to create the qualified wheel which ultimately produced the grand jury which indicted Mr. Eley.” Def.'s Mot. at 2 (ECF No. 55). He says that the government must also “produce the document signed by the Governor of Maine ceding those same Maine counties, whether exclusive, concurrent, or partial over to the United States prior to the date of the indictment.” Id.

         Although the defendant tries to frame his argument in the conventional language that “the grand jury was not selected from a fair cross section of the community, ” id. at 1, his argument is actually much different: he is challenging jurisdiction.[3] He says:

The defendant is now challenging the jurisdiction of the judicial district used to select the jurors who issued Mr. Eley's indictment. . . . The requested documents listing the United States as land owners of all aforementioned counties in Maine is necessary to prove that the grand jury was selected from a fair cross section of the community within the Judicial District.

Id. at 3.[4]

If it is determined that the United States did not have jurisdiction of every county in Maine used to create the Qualifying Wheel which produced the grand jury which indicted Mr. Eley, the defendant respectfully requests that the court dismiss the indictment against him . . . .

Id. at 5.

         In support of his argument challenging jurisdiction, the defendant cites 40 U.S.C. § 3112(b); Title 1, section 8 of the Maine Revised Statutes; and two Supreme Court decisions, Adams v. United States, 319 U.S. 312 (1943), and Mayor of New Orleans v. United States, 35 U.S. (10 Pet.) 662 (1836).

         The defendant is simply and unmistakably wrong. There is no requirement that the federal government be the landowner of all the Maine counties from which the grand jury was drawn.

         The federal statute to which the defendant refers, 40 U.S.C. § 3112, is concerned with the acceptance of federal jurisdiction over land the federal government has acquired. The drug conspiracy charge against this defendant has nothing to do with federal land.

         The Maine statute to which he refers, Title 1, section 8 of the Maine Revised Statutes, is concerned with federal jurisdiction over land acquired by the federal government under Article 1, section 8, clause 17, of the United States Constitution. That federal constitutional provision deals with acquisition of and jurisdiction over any places purchased from States “for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.”[5] U.S. Const. art. 1, § 8, cl. 17; see State v. Larson, 577 A.2d 767, 771-72 (Me. 1990); Brooks Hardware Co. v. Greer, 111 Me. 78 (1913). The drug conspiracy charge against this defendant has nothing to do with any such place purchased from the State of Maine.

         Adams is a case where the defendants were charged with rape within a federal government military camp in Louisiana under then-existing statutory provisions (formerly codified at 18 U.S.C. §§ 451 & 457) requiring that the rape occur “within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.” Adams, 319 U.S. at 312-13. At the time of the rape, the United States had not yet accepted jurisdiction of the military camp in question, and the Supreme Court held therefore that a federal court had no authority to try and sentence the defendants on a charge that required that the crime be committed within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction. Id. at 314-15. The drug conspiracy charge against this defendant does not depend on its being committed on a federal installation.

         Mayor of New Orleans is a case arising from the Louisiana Purchase. The Supreme Court decided that neither the treaty with France nor Article 1, section 8, clause 17, of the U.S. Constitution gave the United States government any rights over certain New Orleans lands in question. 35 U.S. (10 Pet.) at ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.