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United States v. Class

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 16, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RODNEY CLASS, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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RODNEY CLASS, Defendant, Pro se, High Shoals, NC.

For RODNEY CLASS, Defendant: Lara Gabrielle Quint, LEAD ATTORNEY, FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER FOR D.C., Washington, DC.

For USA, Plaintiff: Peter C. Lallas, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Gladys Kessler, United States District Judge.

Pending before the Court are thirty-six Motions filed by Defendant Rodney Class [Dkt. Nos. 7, 10-14, 16, 20-22, 23, 25-49]. Upon consideration of the Motions, the Government's three Omnibus Responses, the arguments presented at the Motions Hearing on April 7, 2014, and the entire record herein, and for the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motions are granted in part, denied in part, and, pending further development of the record, deferred in part.

I. BACKGROUND

On May 30, 2013, Defendant was arrested by United States Capitol Police for possession of three firearms on United States Capitol Grounds. See Indictment [Dkt. No. 1].[1]

On September 3, 2013, a grand jury in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia indicted Defendant on two charges: (1) possession of three firearms on United States Capitol Grounds in violation of 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(1); and (2) carrying a concealed pistol outside of his home or business place in violation of D.C. Code § 22-4504(a).[2] On September 5, 2013, Defendant appeared before Magistrate Judge John Facciola for arraignment. The Federal Defender for the District of Columbia was appointed to represent him and he was released on his own recognizance and placed in the Court's High Intensity Supervision Program.[3]

Subsequently, Defendant indicated through written filings and oral requests at several court appearances that he wished to represent himself. On March 26, 2014, the Court held a status conference at which it advised Defendant in great detail of the risks of self-representation in order to ensure that, in the event he ultimately elected to waive his constitutional right to appointed counsel, such election would be " knowing, intelligent, and voluntary." United States v. Cunningham, 145 F.3d 1385, 1391, 330 U.S.App.D.C. 315 (D.C. Cir. 1998). The Court then asked Defendant to further consider whether he wished to represent himself in light of the risks identified by the Court, and to inform the Court of his final decision at his next court appearance.

Meanwhile, between January 3, 2014, and March 27, 2014, Defendant, although still represented by counsel, filed thirty-six pro se Motions. [Dkt. Nos. 7, 10-14, 16,

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20-22, 23, 25-49].[4] After he filed the first six of these Motions, the Court advised the Government at a status conference on February 3, 2014, that it could respond to the then-pending Motions with a single omnibus response indicating merely whether it opposed or did not oppose the requested relief. On February 7, 2014, the Government filed an Omnibus Response to the first six of these Motions (" Gov't's First Omnibus Resp." ) [Dkt. No. 17]. On March 7, 2014, after Defendant filed additional Motions, the Government filed a second Omnibus Response to four more of his Motions (" Gov't's Second Omnibus Resp." ) [Dkt. No. 24]. On April 4, the Government filed a third Omnibus Response to the remainder of Defendant's Motions (" Gov't's Third Omnibus Resp." ) [Dkt. No. 51].

Defendant did not file any formal Replies in further support of his Motions, despite being advised by the Court at a status conference on February 27, 2014, that he had a right to do so. He did, however, file various submissions styled as " objections" to the Government's Omnibus Responses. These submissions address the Government's various Omnibus Responses but also raise new arguments and requests for relief. See Dkt. Nos. 28, 32, 36. As a result, the Court shall treat them as independent " Motions," but shall also consider them in further support of each of Class's other Motions.

On April 7, 2014, the Court held a Motions Hearing at which Defendant presented argument on his Motions. He also informed the Court at that time that, having considered the risks of self representation, he still desired to waive his right to appointed counsel and proceed pro se. The Court accepted Defendant's waiver as knowing and voluntary, granted his request to proceed pro se, and appointed the Federal Defender, A.J. Kramer, as stand-by advisory counsel. The Government elected not to present any substantive argument on Defendant's Motions but requested the opportunity to submit additional briefing in the event the Court was inclined to grant any of the Motions.

At the conclusion of the Motions Hearing, in light of the voluminous submissions Defendant had already filed, the Court issued an Order requiring Defendant to seek express permission fro the Court prior to filing any additional Motions. See Order dated April 7, 2014 [Dkt. No. 52].

II. DISCUSSION

The Court construes Defendant's Motions liberally for any possible relief to which he might be entitled. See, e.g., Toolasprashad v. Bureau of Prisons, 286 F.3d 576, 583, 351 U.S.App.D.C. 64 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (court has an " obligation to construe pro se filings liberally" ). It observes, however, that although Defendant raises a few issues that bear further consideration, a number of his Motions are duplicative of each other, and many are, to a large extent, utterly incomprehensible. Furthermore, most of the Motions purport to cite legal principles that either do not exist or are provisions of civil law wholly inapplicable to the issues in this criminal case. With this background in mind, the Court addresses each Motion as follows.[5]

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1. Enter my Appearance: REQUIREMENT FOR MOTION FOR IN CAMERA HEARING; " CORPUS DELICTI" TO BE PRODUCED (HABEAS CORPUS) [Dkt. No. 7] (" Motion #1" )

In this Motion, Defendant objects to the appearance of his name in all capital letters in the indictment, contending that the capital letters apply only to a " fictional" entity or a corporation, and not a " a living flesh and blood man" such as himself. Mot. at 9. This objection and the related argument that the use of all capital letters somehow deprives the Court of subject matter jurisdiction find no support in the law and, in fact, have been squarely rejected by at least one court. See United States v. Mitchell, 405 F.Supp.2d 602, 603 (D. Md. 2009) (characterizing similar objections as " patently without merit" ).

To the extent Defendant seeks " declaratory judgment" as to the identity of the actual person charged in the indictment, such declaratory relief is not a cognizable remedy in a criminal case. However, the Court now clarifies, to the extent there is any doubt, that the person charged in this case is Rodney Class the human being, and not a corporation or any other " fictional entity," as Defendant suggests. See Gov't's First Omnibus Resp. ¶ 12.

Finally, Class also asks the Court to define the duties and obligations of his appointed lawyer. The Court described the duties of appointed counsel at the status conference held on March 26, 2014. To the extent Defendant seeks to understand the role of his advisory counsel, he should consult further with Mr. Kramer. If, after discussing the issue with Mr. Kramer, Defendant has further questions related to Mr. Kramer's role and duties, he may bring them to the attention of the Court at that time.

For all of these reasons, the Motion shall be denied.

2. Entry of Appearance Requirement and wish As a Living man with a (Soul) [Dkt. No. 10] (" Motion #2" )

The Court interprets this Motion as a request to permit Class to represent himself. As set forth on the record at the Motions Hearing on April 7, 2014, the Court finds that Class has made a knowing and voluntary decision to waive his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, having been informed of the dangers and disadvantages of doing so, and therefore, this Motion has been granted. See Cunningham, 145 F.3d at 1391-92.

3. Wish and just cause to belief and the Requirement of a Wavier [sic] for Release for Lawyer A.J. KRAMER [Dkt. No. 11] (" Motion #3" )

The Court interprets this Motion as another request to permit Class to represent himself. As discussed in Motion #2 above, Defendant has been granted permission to represent himself, and Mr. Kramer has been appointed as his stand-by advisory counsel. As the Court has already addressed these issues, and Defendant presents no new considerations in this Motion, this Motion shall be denied as duplicative.

4. Wish for Declaratory Judgment [Dkt. No. 12] (" Motion #4" )

The Court interprets this Motion as seeking the same relief as Motion #1 and, to that extent, it shall be denied for the reasons discussed in Paragraph 1, above.

To the extent Defendant also seeks clarification regarding the " remedies" at issue in this case, the Court clarifies that the

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maximum prison term that may be imposed on each of the two counts in the Indictment is five years, for a maximum total prison term of ten years. See 40 U.S.C. § 5109(a); D.C. Code § 22-4504.

To the extent Defendant seeks information related to other legal remedies that may be available to him, providing such information would be the role of his appointed counsel, not the Court. The Court has advised Defendant that, despite his election to proceed without counsel, the Court is unable to provide legal assistance of the type he seeks.

Consistent with the foregoing, this Motion shall be granted to the extent Defendant seeks clarification of the maximum penalties, which the Court has now provided, and otherwise shall be denied.

5. Requirement and wish Declaratory judgment for resurrection of the flesh and blood man with a soul to be made whole [Dkt. No. 13] (" Motion #5" )

The Court interprets this Motion as a request for the Court to take judicial notice that Defendant is a human being and is alive. The Government takes no position on this Motion, and therefore, the Motion shall be granted.

6. IN CAMERA HEARING " CORPUS DELICTI" [Dkt. No. 14] (" Motion #6" )

The Court interprets this Motion as a Motion to Dismiss and for miscellaneous relief. To the extent the Motion seeks to dismiss the indictment for failing to name an " indispensable party," the rules relating to dismissal for failure to join an " indispensable party" are civil rules and do not apply to a criminal case. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 19. To the extent Defendant seeks dismissal based on other alleged deficiencies in the indictment, the indictment is not required to include the information he requests, and there is no indication that the named defendant in the indictment is incorrect as he suggests. To the extent Defendant asks the Court to remove the conditions of his release or to expunge his record, he has identified no basis for the Court to do so.

To the extent Defendant alleges that the prosecutor has committed misconduct, he fails to identify any such misconduct whatsoever. Finally, to the extent Defendant argues that he is entitled to compensation for his time spent defending himself in this case, he is not so entitled. Defendant's remaining allegations are entirely inapposite to this case.

For the foregoing reasons, this Motion shall be denied.

7. IN CAMERA HEARING REQUIREMENT BURDEN OF PROOF " CORPUS DELICTI" TO BE PRODUCED (HABEAS) CORPUS WITH DECLARATORY JUDGMENT RULING [Dkt. No. 16] (" Motion #7" )

In this Motion, Class seeks to dismiss the case based on the indictment's purported failure to identify the " 'WHO' or 'WHAT'" of the crime. The indictment is crystal clear, however, that Defendant is the individual charged in this case, and that he is alleged to have possessed three firearms on United States Capitol Grounds in violation of 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(1). See Indictment at Count One [Dkt. No. 1]. The Indictment further alleges that Defendant carried a pistol " openly and concealed on or about his person, in a place other than his dwelling place, place of business or on other land possessed by him," in violation of D.C. Code § 22-4504(a). See id. at Count Two. Therefore, contrary to Defendant's contention, the indictment

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does identify both the " who" and " what" of the crimes alleged.


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