Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Illegal arrest does not destroy federal jurisdiction

United States v. Goode, No. 3:07cr298, 2011 WL 304459 (E.D. Va. Jan. 27, 2011):

Petitioner was pulled over by Fort Lee military police.  The federal Court asserted jurisdiction to sentence Petitioner pursuant to the Assimilative Crimes Act ("ACA"), 18 U.S.C. § 13.  The ACA "makes punishable acts which are offenses under state law but not under federal law if the offense occurs on lands reserved to the United States."  United States v. O'Byrne, 423 F.Supp. 588, 590 (E.D.Va.1973).

The traffic stop, however, presumably occurred off of Fort Lee.  Petitioner argues that because the military lacked jurisdiction to pull him over, the federal Court also lacked jurisdiction because the ACA would not apply.

The Court determined that "[e]ven if the arrest occurred outside the territorial jurisdiction of the military police, such defect reflects on the lawfulness of the arrest, but it does not deprive the Court of subject matter jurisdiction."  See United States v. Atwell, 470 F.Supp.2d 554, 570 (D.Md. 2007) (analyzing the Fourth Amendment implications of a military police officer's exercise of arrest authority outside of the military's territorial jurisdiction); 1 Charles Alan Wright & Andrew D. Leipold, Federal Practice & Procedure § 53 (4th ed. 2010) (“In most instances, the government's power to try an offender is not impaired by the fact that he is brought before the Court illegally.”).

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