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United States v. Heard

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 26, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Lorenzo Eugene Heard, Jr., Defendant.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER

          DAVID T. SCHULTZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' pretrial motions (Dkt. Nos. 18-20, 22-25, 29, 43). In a letter dated July 22, 2019, Defendant Heard's then-counsel informed the Court that Heard wished to withdraw the one motion to suppress statements and requested the Court consider the remaining non-dispositive motions on the written submissions. Dkt. No. 32. These motions, including the Government's Motion for Discovery, are routine and the Court addresses them below without further discussion.

         After waiving his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, Heard filed one additional motion, titled a “Notice of Removal Based on Diversity of Citizenship, Writ of Habeas Corpus According to 28 U.S.C. 1331.” Dkt. No. 43. It is a nonsensical motion. It refers to admiralty law and the Roman Curia, accuses the police who arrested him of being “foreign commercial mercenaries, ” and contends that “crimes are contractual agreements.” See generally Id. The apparent upshot is that Heard challenges the jurisdiction of this Court and claims he is not subject to the criminal law identified in his indictment.[1]

         Whatever the source of his beliefs, Heard's arguments are effectively the same as those brought by so-called sovereign citizens, who challenge the authority of the United States government because they contend it “operates illegitimately and outside the bounds of its jurisdiction.” Waters v. Madson, 921 F.3d 725, 732 n. 4 (8th Cir. 2019). The Eighth Circuit has consistently rejected such arguments, finding them “meritless, ” “absurd” and “entirely frivolous.” United States v. Watson, 1 F.3d 733, 734 (8th Cir. 1993); see also United States v. Jagim, 978 F.2d 1032, 1036 (8th Cir. 1992); United States v. Kruger, 923 F.2d 587, 587-88 (8th Cir. 1991); United States v. Garcia, 684 Fed.Appx. 589 (8th Cir. 2017) (rejecting defendant's argument that “he is a ‘private, sovereign, flesh and blood man.'”). This Court agrees and recommends Heard's motion be denied.

         RECOMMENDATION

         The Court, being duly advised in the premises, upon all of the files, records and proceedings herein, hereby RECOMMENDS THAT:

         1. Defendant's Motion, “Notice of Removal Based on Diversity of Citizenship, Writ of Habeas Corpus According to 28 U.S.C. 1331” [Dkt. No. 43], be DENIED.

         ORDER

         The Court, being duly advised in the premises, upon all of the files, records and proceedings herein, now makes and enters the following Order.

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

         1. The Government's Motion for Discovery [Dkt. No. 29] is GRANTED. Defendant shall comply with Rules 16(b), 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, and 26.2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

         2. Defendant's Motion for Participation by Counsel in Voir Dire [Dkt. No. 18] is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The parties may address this matter with the District Judge.

         3. Defendant's Motion for Retention of Rough Notes [Dkt. No. 19] is GRANTED. The Government need not produce or disclose the rough notes at this time.

         4. Defendant's Motion for Pretrial Disclosure of 404(b) Evidence [Dkt. No. 20] is DENIED AS MOOT based upon the Government's representation that it shall disclose any then-known 404(b) evidence no later than fourteen days before trial ...


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