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Sai v. Trump

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 11, 2018

DAVID KEANU SAI, Ph.D., pro se Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          TANYA S. CHUTKAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court is David Keanu Sai's pro se Petition against Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America; Philip S. Davidson, Commander of the Indo-Pacific Command of the United States Navy; and David Ige, Governor of the State of Hawaii. Sai describes himself as the “Chairman of the acting Council of Regency” representing the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and body politic.” Petition ¶ 16. He alleges that the United States committed War Crimes, 18 U.S.C. § 2441, as well as acted in derogation of the Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention, and “international humanitarian laws, ” when it “invaded Hawaii” in 1893 and subsequently made the island a part of the U.S. See, e.g., Petition ¶¶ 5, 8, 79-92, 169-205. Citing the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 702, and the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), Sai asks this court to enjoin the President from continuing any actions with respect to Hawaii that allegedly violate these laws.

         Sai also names roughly thirty-four heads of state, leaders of the United Nations, and the Chairperson of the Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration as “Nominal Respondents. . . not ‘because any specific relief is demanded as against [them], but because [their] connection with the subject-matter is such that the [Petitioner's] actions would be defective . . . if [they] were not joined.'” Petition ¶ 14 (internal quotations and alterations in the original). Sai appears to contend that these foreign officials, entities and bodies failed to remain neutral with respect to U.S. and Hawaii relations, thereby becoming parties to the “war” between the United States and Hawaii and, consequently, violating both the Hague and Geneva Conventions. See id. ¶¶ 16, 18, 109.[1]

         For the reasons set forth below, the court will dismiss Sai's Petition sua sponte.

         I. ANALYSIS

         A. The All Writs Act

         The All Writs Act, in relevant part, states that “all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” 28 U.S.C. § 1651. However, a court must first determine if it has jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus. See In re Asemani, 455 F.3d 296, 299 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (“Before considering whether mandamus relief is appropriate, . . . we must be certain of our jurisdiction.”). “In other words, there must be an ‘independent' statute that grants us jurisdiction before mandamus can be said to ‘aid' it.” In re Al-Nashiri, 791 F.3d 71, 76 (D.C. Cir. 2015). As discussed below, Sai has not cited to a statute that grants this court jurisdiction to hear his claims. Accordingly, he cannot proceed under the All Writs Act.

         B. 18 U.S.C. § 2441

         Sai seeks relief against Defendants pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2441, which criminalizes various war crimes. But “[c]ourts are ‘quite reluctant to infer a private right of action from a criminal prohibition alone.'” Peavey v. Holder, 657 F.Supp.2d 180, 190-91 (D.D.C. 2009), aff'd, No. 09-5389, 2010 WL 3155823 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 9, 2010) (alterations omitted) (citing Cent. Bank of Denver, N.A. v. First Interstate Bank of Denver, N.A., 511 U.S. 164, 190 (1994)). Accordingly, “unless a specific statute provides for a private right of action, courts have found that violations of Title 18 are properly brought by the United States government through criminal proceedings and not by individuals in a civil action.” Hallal v. Mardel, No. 116CV01432DADSAB, 2016 WL 6494411, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 2, 2016) (citing Abou- Hussein v. Gates, 657 F.Supp.2d 77, 79 (D.D.C. 2009); Prunte v. Universal Music Grp., 484 F.Supp.2d 32, 42 (D.D.C. 2007); Smith v. Gerber, 64 F.Supp.2d 784, 787 (N.D. Ill. 1999)).

         Moreover, at least one other court has held that Section 2441 does not create a private cause of action, Jawad v. Gates, 113 F.Supp.3d 251, 259 (D.D.C. 2015), and Sai has not cited to any provision of Title 18 which would authorize such an action under Section 2441. Accordingly, the court will dismiss Sai's Section 2441 claim.

         C. Hague Convention and Geneva Convention

         “[T]he Geneva Convention does not [generally] create a right of action for private individuals to enforce its terms.” Nattah v. Bush, 770 F.Supp.2d 193, 204 (D.D.C 2011) (citing Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic, 726 F.2d 774, 808 (D.C. Cir. 1984). While the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006) held that the Geneva Convention can provide prisoners of war with a claim against the government in a petition for habeas corpus, Nattah v. Bush, 541 F.Supp.2d 223, 233 (D.D.C. 2008), rev'd in part on other grounds 605 F.3d 1052 (D.C. Cir. 2010), that ruling is inapplicable to Sai's claims here.

         Likewise, the Hague Convention does not afford relief for private individuals. Nattah, 770 F.Supp.2d at 206 (“The Hague Conventions cannot be construed to afford individuals the right to judicial enforcement as they have never been regarded as law private parties could enforce.”) (alterations and internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Tel-Oren, 726 F.2d at 810). Therefore, Sai may not seek relief under the Hague or the Geneva Conventions.

         D. Political ...


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