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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

July 1, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ANTHONY JONES,

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA M. KENDALL, District Judge.

On December 15, 2011, a federal Grand Jury indicted Defendant Anthony Jones in a one count Indictment charging that he distributed approximately 60 grams of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). In a series of "Affidavits of Fact, " Jones moved to dismiss the indictment for lack of jurisdiction. For the reasons set forth below, the "Affidavits" are denied.

BACKGROUND

The Indictment charges that Jones distributed approximately 60 grams of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base on July 8, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois. After Jones was indicted, he was arrested within the Northern District of Illinois on December 19, 2011.

Jones was arraigned on December 20, 2011 and appointed counsel at this time. (Doc. 8.) However, on January 23, 2012, appointed counsel moved to withdraw because she was unable to devote the time required to prepare Jones's defense. (Doc. 16.) The Court granted this motion and appointed new counsel from the Federal Defender program to represent Jones on February 1, 2012. (Doc. 18.) On October 19, 2012, this counsel moved to withdraw due to irreconcilable differences. (Doc. 33.) The appointed Federal Defender also represented that Jones directed her to file the motion to withdraw. ( Id. ) On October 25, 2015, Judge Pallmeyer granted this motion and appointed new counsel, Mr. Michael Falconer.[1] (Doc. 35.)

After Judge Pallmeyer appointed Mr. Falconer, Jones began to personally file documents with the Court titled either "Evidence: Affidavit of Fact" or "Commercial Affidavit of Truth and Fact." These affidavits all attacked the Court's jurisdiction over Jones. Specifically, the "affidavits" argue that: (1) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Jones's criminal case;

(2) Title 18 U.S.C. § 3231, the statute that gives United States district courts original jurisdiction over all offenses against the laws of the United States, is unconstitutional; (3) the Indictment is invalid because the identity of the grand jurors were never disclosed; and (4) the Court lacks jurisdiction over Jones because he is a "Moorish National of the Moorish National government of the Republic of Illinois, " i.e., a "sovereign citizen." Jones also filed an "Affidavit of Truth and Fact" that alleged that his attorney was incompetent and the case should be dismissed for this reason. (Doc. 54.)

The Court held a status hearing on February 7, 2013. (Doc. 47.) Jones's counsel informed the Court at this hearing that he was experiencing difficulties working with Jones. (Transcript of February 7, 2013 Status Hearing, at 3, 5.) However, the Court did not have the ability to question Jones about these difficulties because he refused to leave the Metropolitan Correction Center to attend the status hearing. The Court held another status hearing on February 14, 2013. (Doc. 48.) Jones refused to attend this hearing as well. ( See Transcript of February 14, 2013 Status Hearing at 2, 4.) Jones's counsel informed the Court at this hearing that Jones also refused to meet with him when he attempted to visit Jones at the jail. ( Id. at 3.) The Court then ordered Jones to be brought by the United States Marshals Service to Court for the next status hearing. ( Id. at 5; Doc. 48.)

The Court held a status hearing on March 4, 2013. (Doc. 57.) At the beginning of the hearing, the Court conveyed to Jones that it was concerned that he was not working with his attorney. ( See Transcript of March 4, 2013 Status Hearing, at 2.) The Court and Jones then had the following exchange:

The Court: Okay. So I really need to know whether you are going to use Mr. Falconer as your attorney. Are you going to do that?
Jones: No, I do not wish to enter into any contract with the corporation.
The Court: Well, I don't know if there's a contract involved in his representation of you, but certainly he has an obligation and a duty to represent you fully. And in order to do that, he needs to be able to talk to you about the facts of your case and about your - your theory of your defense. Are you talking with him about that?
Jones: No, I do not wish to enter in any contracts with your corporation.
The Court: I don't know what that means. You're just - you're just babbling ...

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