United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. LUNGSTRUM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is a pro se petition for habeas corpus filed under 28
U.S.C. § 2241. The Court has screened the Petition (Doc.
1) under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases,
foll. 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and dismisses the Petition as
March 6, 2001, a jury found Petitioner guilty of federal drug
violations. On December 19, 2002, he was sentenced to a term
of life without the possibility of parole with a 10-year term
of supervised release, and a concurrent 960-month sentence
with a 12-year term of supervised release. Petitioner
appealed, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed
the life sentence and remanded the concurrent sentence to
correct the sentence from 80 years to 60 years. On November
8, 2004, Petitioner filed a § 2255 motion, which was
dismissed on December 4, 2006. Petitioner was denied a
Certificate of Appealability.
brings the instant petition alleging that he has been falsely
imprisoned for more than nineteen years, because although the
district court had jurisdiction under Title 18 U.S.C. to
prosecute and sentence him, the district court did not have
jurisdiction to order him detained and imprisoned. Petitioner
argues that because Public Law 80-772 was not properly
enacted, his imprisonment is in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
4001 which states that “[n]o citizen shall be
imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except
pursuant to an Act of Congress.”
federal courts may issue a writ of habeas corpus only when
the petitioner is “in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Under governing provisions, the
Court must review habeas corpus petitions promptly and must
summarily dismiss a petition “[i]f it plainly appears
from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief . . . .” Rule 4 of
the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases, foll. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254; see Id. at Rule 1(b) (allowing the
district court to apply rules to petitions filed under other
argues that Article 1, § 5, Clause 1 of the Constitution
requires the presence of a majority of each house to be
present before business can be conducted. He argues that H.R.
3190 was passed without a quorum in the House and forwarded
to the Senate where it was passed with suggested amendments
and became Public Law 80-772. Petitioner argues that the next
day-June 20, 1948-a concurrent resolution (Joint Resolution
219) was passed stating that notwithstanding the adjournment
of the two houses until December 31, 1948, the Speaker of the
House and the President of the Senate are authorized to sign
enrolled bills and joint resolutions duly passed by the two
houses and found truly enrolled. Petitioner argues that on
that same day, the House concurred on the Senate's
amendments to Public Law 80-772 and promptly adjourned
without attending the signing of the bill. Petitioner argues
there is no record of a quorum being present to concur on the
Senate's amendments. Petitioner further argues that Joint
Resolution 219 was not validly passed either, because
Congress had adjourned on June 19, 1948, and was not in
session when the resolution was allegedly passed on June 20th
or when the bill was signed on June 25th.
3231 provides in pertinent part that “[t]he district
courts of the United States shall have original jurisdiction,
exclusive of the courts of the States, of all offenses
against the laws of the United States.” 18 U.S.C.
§ 3231. Section 4001(a) provides that “[n]o
citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the
United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.”
18 U.S.C. § 4001(a). Petitioner attempts to angle his
argument through 18 U.S.C. § 4001, presumably because
arguments attacking § 3231 have been universally
rejected as frivolous. See, e.g., United States v.
Armijo, 314 Fed.Appx. 113, 114 (10th Cir. 2008)
(unpublished) (finding contention that § 3231 was not
validly enacted is meritless); Cheatham-Bey v. U.S.
Dep't of Justice, 2008 WL 4951035, at * (D. Kan.
Nov. 18, 2008) (where plaintiff alleged that Public Law
80-772, 18 U.S.C. § 3231, was never enacted into law,
court held that claim was “patently frivolous”
and has been uniformly rejected) (citations omitted).
United States v. Risquet, defendant argued that his
conviction is invalid because the statute relied upon for
district court subject-matter jurisdiction, 18 U.S.C. §
3231, never passed both houses of Congress in 1948 and is
thus void. United States v. Risquet, 426 F.Supp.2d
310, 311 (E.D. Pa. 2006). Defendant argued that,
“because of a defect in the 1948 passage of Public Law
80-772, § 3231 as well as all subsequently enacted
statutes which rely upon § 3231 for district court
jurisdiction are similarly invalid.” Id. The
court in Risquet held that “[t]he 1948
amendment to § 3231 passed both houses of Congress and
was signed into law by President Truman on June 25,
1948.” Id. The court noted that defendant
“offered no legitimate case law to the contrary”
and that the Supreme Court's “discussion and
application of 18 U.S.C. § 3231 refute Defendant's
assertions.” Id. (citations omitted). The
court in Risquet also found that “[e]ven if
the 1948 amendment to § 3231 were somehow defective,
this court would retain jurisdiction over this case because
the predecessor to § 3231, which Defendant does not
challenge, provides for such jurisdiction as well.”
Id. at 311-12.
Petitioner's acknowledgement that an argument for the
invalidity of § 3231 is not viable, his argument
nevertheless relies on a finding that Public Law 80-772 was
not properly passed. Courts have refused to make such a
finding. In Cardenas-Celestino v. United States,
defendant argued that Public Law 80-772 was not properly
passed because “a different bill was passed by the
Senate than that passed by the House of Representatives; that
the bill signed into law was never ratified; and that
Congress was adjourned when the bill was purportedly
passed.” Cardenas-Celestino v. United States,
552 F.Supp.2d 962, 966 (W.D. Mo. 2008). The court in
Cardenas-Celestino found that:
This claim is part of a new rash of frivolous claims raised
by prisoners across the country, many of whom have copied the
arguments directly from Internet Websites which propound the
argument and [were] developed by a Texas firm, International
Legal Services. All of these allegations concerning the
supposed irregular adoption of Public Law 80-772 have been
firmly denied by every court to address them. The Supreme
Court denied all the petitions presented by International
Legal Services and those associated with them. See In re
Von Kahl, 552 U.S. 988, 128 S.Ct. 520, 169 L.Ed.2d 369
(2007) (denying writ of habeas corpus raising these same
arguments) (rehearing denied, 552 U.S. 1159, 128
S.Ct. 1113, 169 L.Ed.2d 842 (2008)); In re Miles,
552 U.S. 1037, 128 S.Ct. 689, 169 L.Ed.2d 540 (2007) (same),
rehearing denied, 552 U.S. 1225, 128 S.Ct. 1338, 170
L.Ed.2d 145 (2008).
Two federal circuit courts have recently addressed the
various arguments concerning the constitutionality of the
manner in which Public Law 80-772 was enacted, and both have
concluded that these challenges are meritless. See United
States v. Collins, 510 F.3d 697, 698 (7th Cir. 2007)
(argument “that Title 18-the federal criminal code-is
unconstitutional because of supposed irregularities in its
enactment” is “unbelievably frivolous”);
United States v. Campbell, 221 Fed.Appx. 459, 461
(7th Cir. 2007) (claim that Title 18 was not properly enacted
is “factually incorrect”); United States v.
Potts, 251 Fed.Appx. 109, 111 (3d Cir. 2007) (18 U.S.C.
§ 3231 was “properly enacted and is
binding”; arguments to the contrary are
“frivolous”); Benjamin v. Miner, 256
Fed.Appx. 554, 555 (3d Cir. 2007) (“there is no merit
to Benjamin's assertion that both houses of Congress did
not properly enact 18 U.S.C. § 3231”); United
States v. Johnson, 270 Fed.Appx. 191, 2008 WL 761109 (3d
Cir.2008) ([t]he statute relied upon for jurisdiction [§
3231] in this case was properly enacted and is binding).
Cardenas-Celestino's frivolous claims have been routinely
rejected out of hand by an extremely large number of district
court[s], some of which have provided a thorough debunking of
his particular arguments about the enactment of Public Law
80-772. See United States v. McCuiston, CR. No.
C-04-676, C.A. No. C-07-I93, 2007 WL 2688502 (S.D. Tex. Sept.
12, 2007); United States v. Felipe, CR. No.
05-711-1, Civ. A. No. 07-061, 2007 WL 2207804, at *2 (E.D.
Pa. July 30, 2007) (“There was no sine die
recess between the votes of the House and Senate; rather,
there was an inter-session adjournment between these
events”); United States v. Martinez, CR No.
C-04-157, C.A. No. C-05-423, 2006 WL 1293261 (S.D. Tex. May
6, 2006); Derleth v. United States, Crim. No.
L-03-1745-6, Civ. No. L-05-205, 2006 WL 1804618 (S.D. Tex.
June 27, 2006); Mullican v. Stine, Civ. A. No.
07-129-KKC, 2007 WL 1193534 (E.D. Ky. Apr. 23, 2007);
Campbell v. Gonzalez, Civ. A. No. 07- 36-GFVT, 2007
WL 1035021 (E.D. Ky. Mar. 29, 2007); Cullum v. Fox,
Civ. A. No. 1:06cv309, 2006 WL 3691170 (E.D. Tex. Dec. 11,
2006); Bledsoe v. Levi, Civ. A. No. 07-4543, 2007 WL
3408449 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 15, 2007); Goncalves v.
Gonzales, Civ. A. No. 06- CV-275-GFVT, 2007 WL 628142
(E.D. Ky. Feb. 26, 2007); Lister v. United States,
Nos. 3:06-CV-1355-N, 3:03-CR-374-N, 2006 WL 3751324 (N.D.
Tex. Dec. 20, 2006); Irizarry v. United States,
Crim. No. 05-44-4, Civ. A. No. 06-05333, 2007 WL 1720429
(E.D. Pa. June 11, 2007); Laroque v. United States,
Crim. No. 2:04- 81, Civ. No. 2:05-104, 2007 WL 1652260
(D.N.D. June 7, 2007); United States v. Castaneda,
Crim. No. 04-500016-004, Civ. No. 07-5070, 2007 WL 3094377
(W.D. Ark., Oct. 19, 2007); Little v. Levi, Civ. A.
No. 07-4604, 2007 WL 4255265 ...