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United States v. Coleman

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

September 13, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Airiz A. Coleman, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: August 3, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Youngstown. No. 4:16-cr-00046-1-James S. Gwin, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          Benjamin Beaton, SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

          Karrie D. Howard, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Allison L. Ehlert, EHLERT APPEALS, El Cerrito, California, for Appellant.

          Laura McMullen Ford, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

          Before: NORRIS, SUHRHEINRICH, and GRIFFIN, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          SUHRHEINRICH, Circuit Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Defendant Airiz Coleman (Coleman) was convicted by a jury of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). On appeal, he faults the district court for failing to order sua sponte a mental competency evaluation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). We find no error and affirm.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Pretrial Filings and Proceedings

         On November 17, 2015, Defendant pointed a gun at Garry Valentine (Valentine), a recovery agent with a vehicle repossession company, and threatened to shoot him. As a result, he was indicted on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). At his arraignment, Defendant acknowledged his presence in federal court, but challenged the court's jurisdiction over him. Specifically, he contended that the government was "trying to charge [him] with" a "commercial crime" and that the United States could not be the victim of a commercial crime. Defendant also asked the magistrate judge if he was "forcing [Defendant] to contract, " and referred to himself as a "flesh and blood living being." He claimed that his detention on "U.S. soil" was unconstitutional.

         Several weeks later, Defendant's appointed counsel, Assistant Federal Public Defender Charles Fleming, moved to withdraw as counsel after Defendant became "combative" and "confrontational" during a meeting. At the hearing on the motion, Defendant told the court that he was present "on special appearance, [as a] third-party intervenor" and claimed that he was a "beneficiary and executor to the legal estate of the decedent[.]" Defendant stated that he had surrendered his birth certificate "to the Court for set-off, settlement[.]" He contended that he was not a corporation, an estate, or a legal fiction, but rather, was "a living man, . . . living private on the land." And he "authorized" the court "to settle and close the account, case, constructive trust." Defendant also claimed that the court lacked "jurisdiction" and referenced his "copyright." The district court granted Fleming's motion, and ordered that Defendant receive other counsel.

         Several days before trial, Defendant filed a pro se notice reiterating his challenge to the district court's jurisdiction. In it he explained that he is "a living man . . . not a 'corporate fiction' . . . [who] never signed any 'Contract' with the Public Defender's Office[.]" He also indicated that he had "appointed" "Respondent: James S. Gwin" "as Trustee to settle and close" the case. Defendant signed the notice as his own "Authorized Representative" and listed an address in "Warren, Ohio Republic, " with a zip code in brackets. Defendant included an "AFFIDAVIT OF OWNERSHIP[, ] Declaration of Nationality[, ] Certificate/s of Titles[, ] Birth Certificates" stating that he was a "Moorish American National, " and claiming that using any of his titles mention in the declaration required payment of "1, 000, 000, 000.00 PER HOUR UPON OCCURANCE [sic]." He further included several documents from the State of Ohio, his original birth certificate, and a "Common Law Copyright Notice" for his name. Finally, he attached a proposed "Order of Dismissal With Prejudice" ...


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