Archive for February, 2015

Camp Lone Star – “a Fundamental Right”

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Camp Lone Star – “a Fundamental Right”

second-amendment-rifle

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
February 21, 2015

 

It is normal, in any criminal proceeding, for the Defense Attorney to file a Motion to Dismiss. Most often, these are simple appeals about nothing of significance, though they do add chargeable hours.

In K. C. Massey’s case, however, we find a “Motion to Dismiss Indictment“, with merit. Perhaps not in a legal sense, but in a truly lawful sense – The difference that is anything can be enacted (legal), though unless it is firmly based upon the powers and authorities granted in the Constitution, it may be unlawful.

Constitutionality

Massey’s attorney, Louis S. Sorola, begins by explaining the Texas law (Texas Penal Code, §46.04) which allows Massey to possess a firearm, for his own protection. This and other aspects that will be addressed here are dealt with in detail at Liberty or Laws? “Felon in Possession of a Firearm” is Not Legal or Lawful.

He supports this by reference to, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”, in reference to the 2008 Supreme Court ruling in “District of Columbia v. Heller” (554 US 570), where the Court held that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to keep firearms at their homes for their self-protection. This decision is consistent with the Texas law that allows such possession five years after completion of a sentence as a result of a felony. However, the federal statute that Massey is charged with presumes a lifetime prohibition, if incorrectly interpreted (see Commerce Clause, below).

He further argues that the term “people”, as used in the Second Amendment is also used in the 1st, 4th, and 9th Amendments, and in none of those is there an exception that would allow rights to be taken away. The only notable legal exception is in the Supreme Court decision found in “Sampson v. California” (547 US 843), which allows a different criteria if one is a prisoner or a parolee. It does not extend beyond that period of time when the person is in custody, or is under conditions of parole, in which he can be searched outside of constitutional constraints.

Commerce Clause

The question as to what extent the Commerce Clause (Article I, §8, cl. 3, Constitution) grants authority to the federal government is raised. Heller addressed the Second Amendment, but did not address the Commerce Clause, however another decision, “United Sates v. Lopez” (514 US 549) addressed the Commerce Clause, but did not address the Second Amendment. In Lopez, the extent of the Commerce Clause did not grant blanket jurisdiction, which resulted in the overturning of the federal Gun-Free School Zone law. If the ruling in Lopez was applied to Massey’s case, it would necessarily require a “substantial effect on Interstate Commerce.

As Sorola argues, “[t]he interstate commerce began and ended with the Federal Firearm License dealers involved. After the importation into Texas the guns are under Texas jurisdiction. Thus the laws of Texas apply, not the federal government.”

Equal Protection Clause

What is meant by Equal Protection was best defined by the Supreme Court in their ruling in “Yick Wo v. Hopkins” (118 US 356 – 1886):

[E]qual protection and security should be given to all under like circumstances in the enjoyment of their personal and civil rights;… that no impediment should be interposed to the pursuits of any one, except as applied to the same pursuits by others under like circumstances; that no greater burdens should be laid upon one than are laid upon others in the same calling and condition; and that, in the administration of criminal justice, no different or higher punishment should be imposed upon one than such as is prescribed to all for like offenses.

Now, it must be understood that the Equal Protection requirement is federal, not to be confused with state laws. Otherwise, all state laws would be equal, but, they are not — they are enacted in accordance with the State’s constitution. (See Which Constitution Am I Protected By?) Where it does apply is in the application of federal laws, as described in Yick Wo.

If different states have different laws as to what a felony is and how much time is served, is it equal protection if one state might consider it third degree and have a light sentence while another state might hold a higher penalty and mandatory 1 year (federal criteria) in prison? The federal government has not even attempted to establish a uniform criteria for the applicability of 18 USC §922(g)(1) – the charge against Massey). This lends support to the Commerce Clause limitation, above, where the law would only apply to Interstate Commerce, not to the right of the people, in general.

In a Circuit Court decision, the court decided that, in enacting the statute, “Congress superimposed a patchwork of state law over a broad piece of federal legislation in a manner bound to produce anomalous results.” (McGrath v. United States, 60 F.3d 1005)

Perhaps what is most important about this Motion to Dismiss is the fact that it is, without a doubt, a challenge to federal jurisdiction, a preservation of State’s Rights, and the rights of the People.

Camp Lone Star – “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Camp Lone Star – “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

Bill of Rights

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
February 19, 2015

 

We are all familiar, at least to some degree, with the concept of chain of evidence, Miranda rights, and the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution.

Evidence has to be acquired by legal means. A warrant is required, except under certain circumstances, to seize evidence. So, what happens if there is an incident, whether accidental, or, perhaps, even set up, to create a situation where, by stealthy means, “evidence” is secured without a warrant, or a crime (certain circumstances) in which the evidence can be rightfully secured?

On August 29, 2014, a Border Patrol Agent, claiming that a weapon had been pointed at him, fired five shots, from about 30 feet distant from John Foerster. Surprisingly, he missed hitting Foerster, indicating both poor marksmanship, and suggesting that the agent committed a crime, in violation of BPS policy.

Foerster, Massey, and the third member of their group, Varner, had their five firearms taken from their 4-wheel “mule”, without a warrant – a violation of the 4th Amendment. Then, without being read their Miranda rights, questioned by BPS, a local Sheriff’s deputy, and an FBI agent.

From the Affidavit for a Search Warrant, item 5.

  1. During a post-shooting investigation, two of these armed individuals were identified as Kevin Lyndel MASSEY (aka KC Massey) and John Frederick FOERSTER, and both admitted to interviewing officers of the Cameron County Sheriffs Office (CCSO) and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to possessing some of the firearms seized.

From the Affidavit for a Criminal Complaint (arrest warrant):

  1. FBI Special Agent Caryn Chasteen and Cameron County Sheriffs Office Investigator Padilla interviewed FOERSTER. During the interview FOERSTER admitted to possessing the ZASTAVA, Model: PAP M92PV, 7.62 x 39mm pistol, SN: MP2PV005143; adding that he did not own this firearm but borrowed it from Kevin MASSEY.
  2. During the interview of MASSEY, by FBI Special Agent David Cordoba and HSI Special Agent Jeremy Bergeaux, MASSEY admitted to both the ownership of the ZASTAVA, Model: PAP M92PV, 7.62 x 39mm pistol, SN: MP2PV005143, and to lending this firearm to FOERSTER.

Now, in reviewing those documents, we find no claim that there was a search warrant to allow them to seize the firearms, or that Miranda rights were read to them before taking testimony.

Because of the illegal seizure of the weapons, and the illegally obtained statements by Massey, Foerster, and Varner, the subsequent Search Warrant and Criminal Complaint (arrest warrant) were secured. If the rights of Americans are as intended by the Founders, then the invalidity of the actions of August 29 leave no lawful justification (excuse) to obtain the subsequent warrants.

If we are a nation of laws, and the “supreme Law of the Land” is the Constitution, then by what right does the federal government pretend that they can walk over the Bill of Rights, imposing hardship and expense on K. C. Massey?

Massey’s attorney, Louis S. Sorola, has the same question, so he has filed a Motion to Suppress Illegally Seized Evidence and Illegally Obtained Statements. As he points out in the Motion,

The August 29, 2014 search and seizure was illegal and the evidence and statements should be suppressed along with any subsequent statements and evidence seized on October 20, 2014 as they are fruit of the poisonous tree.

The Honorable Andrew S. Hanen, United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division will hear this Motion. Judge Hanen recently ruled against the Obama Amnesty Plan, indicating a respect for both the Constitution and the fact that only Congress may legislate.