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Zaidi v. United States Sentencing

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

July 22, 2015

SYED HAIDER KARRAR ZAIDI, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES SENTENCING, COMMISSION, et al., Defendants

Page 81

SYED HAIDER KARRAR ZAIDI, Plaintiff, Pro se, LORETTO, PA.

For UNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, II, President of the United States, ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., Attorney General of the United States, JAMES B. COMEY, FBI Director, Defendants: Kenneth A. Adebonojo, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

Page 82

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

JOHN D. BATES, United States District Judge.

Over a two-year span beginning in 2008, Plaintiff Syed Haider Karrar Zaidi was arrested, convicted, and sentenced for illicit conduct involving a minor. But since then he has spent his time in various courts challenging his conviction and sentence on the ground that his actions did not actually involve a minor--an argument which those courts have rejected. This case is no different. Zaidi once again argues that his conviction and sentence are improper, because (he says) the United States Sentencing Commission's definition of " minor" is unlawful. But Zaidi has made these arguments before, and he has not shown that this Court has subject-matter jurisdiction to hear his claim this time around. The Court will therefore dismiss his complaint in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

In January 2008, Zaidi began communicating online with an undercover police officer, who was pretending to be the mother of a thirteen-year-old girl. Ex. A to Def.'s Mot. [ECF No. 10-1] at 3. After two months of corresponding, the two met at a restaurant in Ohio, where Zaidi had agreed to meet the (fictitious) mother and daughter. Id. at 3-4. But the encounter Zaidi expected never happened; he was arrested instead and later convicted for the attempted coercion and enticement of a minor under 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b), and for traveling interstate for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor under 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b). Id. at 3-4. He was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to two concurrent terms of 128 months of imprisonment and ten years of supervised release. Id. at 4. And on appeal, the Sixth Circuit rejected Zaidi's objections to his conviction and sentence, concluding that no actual victim is required to support a conviction under sections 2422 and 2423. Id. at 5.

Zaidi subsequently filed a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the Northern District of Ohio, claiming that his Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights were violated on various grounds, and raising several claims concerning the legality of his sentence--all of which the court denied. Id. at 10-11. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of his petition, explaining that Zaidi's claims had already been adjudicated and decided against him, or should have been brought (but were not) during the pre-trial or trial phase of his case, or on direct appeal. Id. at 11.

That brings the Court to this litigation, where Zaidi yet again challenges his continued imprisonment. This time invoking the Declaratory Judgment Act, Zaidi seeks to obtain a declaration from this Court that the definition of a " minor" set forth in the Commission's guidelines is " unlawful and unconstitutional," because these provisions " constitute new 'laws' which only the United States Congress has the power to make." Compl. [ECF No. 1] at 2. In response, the Commission moved to dismiss Zaidi's complaint, arguing that this

Page 83

Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over Zaidi's claim, that it is barred by res judicata, and that the claim fails on the merits because precedent establishes that the Commission's guidelines are constitutional. See Def.'s Mot. [ECF No. 10] at 3-4. Zaidi countered by filing a motion for summary judgment, doubling down on his argument that the Commission's definition of a minor is unconstitutional. See Pl.'s Opp'n & Mot. for Summ. J. [ECF No. 13] at 1-2 (" Pl.'s Opp'n" ).

ANALYSIS

Aside from the merits, the Commission believes that Zaidi's complaint should be dismissed for two reasons: the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over Zaidi's claim, and res judicata bars relitigation of his claim.[1] ...


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