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U.S. v. RAMOS

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania


February 4, 2004.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MARIO RAMOS

The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRUCE KAUFFMAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Now before the Court are Defendant's pro se Motions to Dismiss Indictment (docket nos. 13, 15, and 19) and Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (docket no. 24). On June 6, 2003, Defendant was indicted for possession with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(a), and possession of firearms and ammunition in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). Defendant was appointed counsel and, at his request, the Court appointed different counsel for him.*fn1 Despite having counsel, Defendant has persisted in his pro se attempts to get his indictment dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, and for alleged violations of the Uniform Commercial Code and associated regulations. Even when Defendant's Motions are evaluated under the more lenient standard accorded pro se submissions, they are without merit.

Defendant's first ground for dismissal is lack of subject matter jurisdiction. He claims that this Court has no subject matter jurisdiction because neither the place of his arrest nor his home are on federal lands or within federal territories.*fn2 However, 21 U.S.C. § 841 and 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) do not rest on federal territorial jurisdiction, but rather on the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. U.S. Const. art. I, § 8 ("Congress shall have Power . . . To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several states . . ."); United States v. Orozco, 98 F.3d 105, 106-07 (3d Cir. 1996); Kuromiya v. U.S., 37 F. Supp.2d 717, 723-24 (E.D. Pa. 1999), citing United States v. Jackson. 111 F.3d 101, 102 (11th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 878 (1997). As the Commerce Clause grants federal legislative jurisdiction over the trade in illegal narcotics, no federal territorial jurisdiction is required in this case.*fn3 As both Bucks County and Philadelphia are within the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, this is the appropriate federal court to handle violations of federal law in those locations. Accordingly, subject matter jurisdiction is proper.

  Defendant also claims that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over him because he is not a citizen of the United States but rather "lives within his own skin." Affidavit of the Living Breathing Gensman by Special Visitation, Plain Statement of Facts, ¶ 3-4. However, a Defendant is not required to be a United States citizen in order for there to be personal jurisdiction over him.*fn4 Instead, the relevant question is whether his criminal behavior took place in the United States or directed his illegal acts at the United States. 18 U.S.C. § 3231-32; see, e.g., U.S. v. Yousef, 327 F.3d 56, 96 (2d Cir. 2003); U.S. v. Hill, 279 F.3d 731, 739-740 (9th Cir. 2002). Indeed, the docket of this Court contains numerous cases of criminal actions brought against non-citizens who violated federal law while in this country. Accordingly, the Court finds that it has personal jurisdiction over Defendant in this matter.

  Finally, Defendant makes several more claims, purportedly under the Uniform Commercial Code and other commercial statutes.*fn5 Suffice it to say that nothing in this case involves or is governed by the provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code or any other commercial statute or agreement, that surety is not required in a federal criminal case, and that the remainder of Defendant's allegations are equally meritless.

  Accordingly, Defendant's Motions and Petition will be denied.

  ORDER

  AND NOW, this ___ day of February, 2004, upon consideration of Defendant's pro se Motions to Dismiss Indictment (docket nos. 13, 15, and 19), Defendant's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (docket no. 24), and the Government's Response thereto (docket no. 22), it is ORDERED that the Motions and Petition are DENIED for the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum.


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