United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION & ORDER
Michael L. Brown United States District Judge
recommended by Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman, the Court
denies Defendant Antoine Morrison's and Defendant
Shanquita Potts's motions to dismiss the charges against
them for failure to state an offense that invokes the
jurisdiction of the Court. (Dkt. 501 at 6.)
United States charged Defendant Morrison and Defendant Potts
in Counts Three and Four of the superseding indictment with
conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute
marijuana. (Dkt. 287 at 2-4.) While represented by lawyers in
the matter, Defendants Morrison and Potts filed pro se
motions to dismiss the charges for failure to state an
offense that invokes the jurisdiction of the Court. (Dkts.
477 at 1; 486 at 1.) The Magistrate Judge issued an order
recommending denial of their motions. (Dkt. 501 at 6.)
Defendants filed separate objections. (Dkts. 510,
conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and
recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or
modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Crim. P. 59;
Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir.
1982) (per curiam). A district judge “shall make a de
novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The
district judge should “give fresh consideration to
those issues to which specific objection has been made by a
party.” Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of Educ. of
Ga., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir. 1990) (citation
omitted). For those findings and recommendations to which a
party has not asserted objections, the court must conduct a
plain error review of the record. See United States v.
Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983).
filing objections to a magistrate's report and
recommendation must specifically identify those findings to
which they object. See Marsden v. Moore, 847 F.2d
1536, 1548 (11th Cir. 1988). “Frivolous, conclusive, or
general objections need not be considered by the district
court.” Id. Since Defendants filed objections,
the Court conducted a de novo review of their motions to
Magistrate Judge recommends denial of Defendants
Morrison's and Potts's motions for two reasons.
First, he concluded they cannot file pro se motions because
they are already represented by counsel. (Dkt. 501 at 1.)
Second, he concluded that the Court has subject matter
jurisdiction because the superseding indictment charges
Defendants Morrison and Potts with violations of a federal
law - the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).
(Id. at 4.)
Morrison and Potts raised six objections. (Dkts. 510 at 7-12;
514 at 7-12.)
Morrison and Potts claim the Magistrate Judge erred in
denying the motions to dismiss, because the indictment fails
to state a charge. (Dkts. 510 at 7; 514 at 7.) They question
whether the fifty counties in the Northern District of
Georgia are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
(Dkts. 510 at 7-8; 514 at 7-8.) They claim federal
jurisdiction is lacking. They point to 21 U.S.C. §
802(28), which provides that “[t]he term ‘United
States', when used in a geographic sense, means all
places and waters, continental or insular, subject to the
jurisdiction of the United States.” (Dkts. 510 at 2-3;
514 at 2-3.) They argue that this provision limits the
territorial application of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846,
841(a)(1), and 841 (b)(1)(B)(vii) to possessions and
conspiracies that have a criminal effect in federal lands
where states have ceded jurisdiction. (Dkts. 510 at 7-8; 514
at 7-8.) They are wrong.
Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power to
create inferior federal courts and determine their
jurisdiction. See U.S. Const. art. III, § 1.
Under Article III, § 2, cl. 1 of the Constitution,
federal courts have jurisdiction in all cases “arising
under” the Constitution and laws of the United States.
And 18 U.S.C. § 3231 vests federal district courts with
original jurisdiction, “exclusive of the courts of the
States, of all offenses against the laws of the United
States.” See Alikhani v. UnitedStates, 200 F.3d 732, 734 (11th Cir. 2000); see
also, e.g., Marion v. UnitedStates,
No. 16-15971-G, 2017 WL 8233896, at *2 (11th Cir. Oct. 24,
2017). Article I, § 8, of the Constitution ...