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United States v. Beane

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

November 16, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RANDALL KEITH BEANE, and HEATHER ANN TUCCI-JARRAF, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          C. CLIFFORD SHIRLEY, JR., UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         All pretrial motions in this case have been referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) for disposition or report and recommendation regarding disposition by the District Court as may be appropriate. This case is before the Court on Defendant Tucci-Jarraf's pending pro se filing entitled Praecipe to Enter Dismissal with Prejudice and Declaration of Due Cause, “Praecipe and Declaration of Facts” [Doc. 43] (“Praecipe to Dismiss”) and Defendant Beane's Request to Join in Co-defendant Filing [Doc. 44].[1] The Defendants' joint filing[2] appears to contend that the Court lacks personal and subject matter jurisdiction in this case. The Government responded [Doc. 46] in opposition on October 12, 2017. The parties appeared for a hearing on these filings on October 18, 2017. Assistant United States Attorneys Cynthia F. Davidson and Anne-Marie Svolto appeared on behalf of the Government. Defendant Randall Keith Beane represented himself, assisted by elbow counsel Attorney Stephen G. McGrath. Defendant Heather Ann Tucci-Jarraf also represented herself, with the assistance of elbow counsel Attorney Francis L. Lloyd, Jr.

         The Court has considered the parties' filings and arguments at the hearing in light of the Constitution of the United States and the relevant statutes and case law. For the reasons set out below, the undersigned finds that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee has jurisdiction over both the subject matter of this case and the persons of Randall Keith Beane and Heather Ann Tucci-Jarraf. Accordingly, the Court recommends that their pro se request to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On July 18, 2017, the Grand Jury returned an Indictment [Doc. 3] charging Randall Keith Beane and Heather Ann Tucci-Jarraf with federal crimes. Defendant Beane stands charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud for an alleged scheme to purchase certificates of deposit (“CDs”) via electronic financial transactions using funds from the Federal Reserve Bank, which funds did not belong to Beane; to liquidate the CDs immediately; and to use the funds from the liquidation of the CDs to purchase a motorhome and to pay personal expenses. The Indictment also charges that Defendant Beane and Defendant Tucci-Jarraf conspired to launder the funds from the alleged scheme. Warrants issued for the arrest of Defendants Beane and Tucci-Jarraf on July 19, 2017.

         Defendant Beane was arrested in this district and brought to court from state custody on a Writ of Habeas Corpus ad Prosequendum [Doc. 7]. He made an initial appearance and was arraigned on July 27, 2017. At that time, the Court appointed Assistant Federal Defender Bobby Hutson, Jr., to represent Defendant Beane. Attorney Hutson moved [Doc. 20] the Court to review the attorney-client relationship, stating that Defendant Beane no longer wanted Mr. Hutson to represent him and, instead, wanted to represent himself. The parties appeared for a hearing on the motion on August 29, 2017. At that time, the Court advised Defendant Beane of the risks and perils of self-representation, using the questions provided in United States v. McDowell, 814 F.3d 245, 251 (6th Cir. 1987). The undersigned found [Doc. 37] that Defendant Beane knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to counsel and permitted Defendant Beane to represent himself. At Defendant Beane's request, the Court subsequently appointed [Doc. 41] elbow counsel to assist Defendant Beane.

         Defendant Tucci-Jarraf was arrested in Washington D.C. on July 26, 2017. She had an initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Defendant Tucci-Jarraf also had an identity hearing on August 4, 2017. Judge Robinson ruled that the individual before her was Heather Ann Tucci-Jarraf and committed the Defendant to this district. On August 24, 2017, Defendant Tucci-Jarraf appeared before United States Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton for her arraignment in this district. At that hearing, Defendant challenged the jurisdiction of the Court over her person and requested a hearing on jurisdiction and a detention hearing.

         Defendant Tucci-Jarraf appeared before the undersigned for a detention hearing on August 29, 2017. At that hearing, the undersigned released Defendant Tucci-Jarraf on an Order Setting Conditions of Release [Doc. 35]. Defendant Tucci-Jarraf asked to represent herself. The Court advised Defendant Tucci-Jarraf of the risks and perils of self-representation, using the McDowell litany. 814 F.3d at 251. The Court determined [Doc. 37] that Defendant Tucci-Jarraf knowingly and voluntarily waived her right to counsel, permitted her to represent herself, and appointed Attorney Francis L. Lloyd, Jr., to be her elbow counsel. At the detention hearing, Defendant Tucci-Jarraf again sought to challenge the Court's jurisdiction over her. The Court informed Defendant that she could raise her jurisdictional challenge in a motion, which the Court would hear on October 18, 2017.

         II. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

         In the Praecipe to Dismiss [Doc. 43], the Defendants state that the United States, the prosecutors, the judges in this district, the Clerk of Court, the FBI agent, the Grand Jury foreperson, and the victim banks have no authority or jurisdiction over them. They assert that the party claiming jurisdiction has the burden of proving jurisdiction exists and that a sworn declaration stands as law, if it is not specifically rebutted. As a part of their Praecipe to Dismiss, the Defendants provide a “Declaration of Facts, ” consisting of fifty-five pages of UCC Financing Statement Amendments and Addenda. The Praecipe to Dismiss concludes by stating that Defendant Tucci-Jarraf (and presumably also Defendant Beane, who has joined in this filing) does not consent to any individual having jurisdiction or authority over her.

         The Government responds [Doc. 46] that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction in this case pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3231, which gives the Court exclusive jurisdiction over crimes against the United States. The Government argues that the Defendants are charged with crimes against the United States. The Government also contends that the Court has personal jurisdiction over the Defendants. It maintains that federal courts have uniformly rejected arguments that a defendant is sovereign and beyond the jurisdiction of the courts.

         Both Defendants filed several other documents after the Government's response:

(1) Due Cancellation of True Bill [Doc. 42], filed by Defendant Beane on September 26, 2017;[3]
(2) Notice of Filing of Request for Due Identification and Verification of Authority and Jurisdiction [Doc. 45], by Defendant Beane, filed on October 2, 2017;[4]
(3) Notice of Filing of Original Instrument Cancelled Truebill [Doc. 48], filed by Defendant Tucci-Jarraf on October 13, 2017;[5]
(4) Notice of Filing of Original Instrument Rejected without Dishonor [Docs. 49 & 53 (duplicate)], filed by Defendant Tucci-Jarraf on October 13, 2017;[6]
(5) Notice of Filing of Original Instrument Cancelled Truebill [Doc. 50], filed by Defendant Beane on October 16, 2017;[7]
(6) Notice of Filing of Original Instrument Rejected without Dishonor [Doc. 51], filed by Defendant Beane on ...

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