Salvadore Sciandra Attorney at Law 2300 Tulare Street, Suite 230 Fresno, California 93721 Tel: 209-233-1000 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CR F. 95-5174 OWW Plaintiff, NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO DISMISS THE INDICTMENT v. Time: Robert McKendrick and Date: Janice Mallen, Dept: Defendants _____________________________/ STATEMENT OF FACTS Defendants were indicted on June 22, 1995. The only count against them is Count 5 of the indictment wherein they are alleged: "[C]orruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impede the due and proper administration of the law under which a pending proceeding, an IRS wage levy on Terry Ingram, was being had before the (IRS) by preparing and mailing, and causing to be prepared and mailed, to the offices of the IRS... a fictitious warrant for the arrest of an employee of the IRS in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1505." A copy of the "fictitious warrant" is Exhibit 1. It is NOT a "warrant for the arrest of an IRS employee," fictitious or otherwise. It is a facetious political expression sarcastic of government's delusions of self importance. It is obviously an example of political expression. To treat it as "threat," or as "interference" with government functions, not only violates the First Amendment, but it should also embarrass government to so expose its paranoid delusions of persecution. These delusions make it "a federal crime" for people to poke fun at federal government clumsiness. Anyone reading it absolutely knows Exhibit 1 is not authority to arrest or to interfere with government agents. But, before examining it in detail, let us examine the fundamental right to create and send such an expression to government in the first place. THE BASIC RIGHT TO POLITICAL SPEECH Specifically, the First Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The U.S. DoJ wants an exception: "EXCEPT that it is a crime to poke fun at government, especially its IRS." But its absolute prohibition is written into international law, ratified by the U.S. Senate and signed by President Bush in June of 1992. Article 19 of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. [emphasis added] While a similarly worded Article 19 of the Declaration of Human Rights has no restrictions at all, Article 19, Section 3 of the International Covenant contains the following language: "3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary." Of particular interest is what Our United States Senate had to say about those "restrictions" in its Instrument of Ratification. It is recorded in the instrument at item III(2), as follows: "(2) That it is the view of the United States that States Party to the Covenant should wherever possible refrain from imposing any restrictions or limitations on the exercise of the rights recognized and protected by the covenant, even when such restrictions and limitations are permissible under the terms of the Covenant. For the United States, Article 5, paragraph 2, which provides that fundamental human rights existing in any State Party may not be diminished on the pretext that the Covenant recognizes them to a lesser extent, has particular relevance to Article 19, paragraph 3 which would permit certain restrictions on the freedom of expression. The United States Declares that it will continue to adhere to the requirements and constraints of its Constitution in respect to all such restrictions and limitations." What does our Constitution require when a statute is so broad that it violates freedoms of expression, as DoJ has interpreted 18 U.S.C. 1505 in this case? It not only invalidates the indictment, but statutes that are so vague as to chill freedom of expression are invalid. (See United States v Reeves, infra at page 9-10; U.S. v De Cadena, 105 F.Supp. 202, 204 (1952); Connally et al. v General Construction Co., 269 US 391 (1926).) In a case relevantly similar, Watts v United States, 394 US 705 (1969), The Supreme Court determined that a person who made a public statement, after receiving his A-1 draft classification, that "I'm not going. If they ever make me carry a rifle, the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J. (President Johnson)" did not in fact "threaten the President." Said the Court at 394 US 708: "The majority below seemed to agree (that only an apparent determination to carry out the threat is required). Perhaps this interpretation is correct, although we have grave doubts about it. See Dissenting opinion 402 F2d at 686-693 (Wright J.) But whatever the "willfulness" requirement implies, the statute initially requires the Government to prove a true "threat". We do not believe the kind of political hyperbole indulged in by petitioner fits within that statutory term. For we must interpret the language Congress chose "against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials." (Cites Omitted) The language of the public arena, like the language used in labor disputes (cites omitted) is often vituperative, abusive, and inexact. We agree with petitioner that his only offense here was "a kind of very crude offensive method of stating a political opposition to the President." Taken in context, and regarding the expressly conditional nature of the statement and the reaction of the listeners, we do not see how it could be interpreted otherwise." [emph. added] What would Americans say about Russia's putting Russians in jail for a like political expression directed at the KGB? Does the United States really want to set this standard for political persecution of persons who "crudely state their political opposition" to government bureaucracies? Not according to The U.S. Senate's Ratification of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, supra. EXAMINE THE "WARRANT" ON ITS FACE On its face, the "warrant" calls itself a "judgment" and does NOT pretend to authorize arrest. Read what it "orders" on page two: "Court of Conscience: Assembled in Article 1, Sec. 2 Government by Authority of JURY Article IV Sec. 23, (symbol for paragraphs) 9, 14 Mandated in all jurisdiction by equal I, IX, X, POWERS to Amend Administrations District of Columbia jurisdiction." Where's the order for arrest? Whatever it means, it does not purport to authorize an arrest. Anyone "threatened" by it is only threatened by his own conscience. Examine the Face Page. Note under the "DoJ address": "Ex rel: Form 668-A (c) 71589". Whatever that means, it seems to be gibber-ish. My, oh, my: Such a high quality of IRS agents to be "threatened" by ramblings from Alice in Wonderland. Next, as part of the address "c/o (delta, symbol for change) Government Article I, (symbol for section) 2." Such begins a factious political dialogue carried on immediately under the title USA: "(symbol for change) U.S.C. TITLE 18 Sec. 336". The court is asked to read 18 U.S.C. 336. Anyone who issues or accepts a check for less than a dollar is jailable for six months. That is a federal law. Can anyone be blamed for poking fun at it? Now, note the next two lines in combination with the DoJ address: "SUPREME COURT, OCTOBER TERM 1993". The combination is a political pundit at the DoJ's enforcing ludicrous laws in the Supreme Court. Instead of a separation of powers, this sarcastically refers to the combination of judicial and executive powers against the smallest details of human liberties, like "paying private debts with checks under a dollar." Again, in the case title there is a reference to a form and the phrase: "Change Government Article I Sec. 2". Whatever that means, it is in the context of the opposing party: "Federal agent M. Ryan dba Modesto Toyota et al does 1- 999 U.S.C. T 18 336 syndicate." It is plainly just making fun of an all-important federal government harassing people over the most petty things - like this prosecution - in blatant violation of political rights. In effect, it is saying: "Who can really take the 'big bad federal wolf' seriously when it wastes all this federal money and prosecutorial power, over nothing; while real gangsters roam free." The document title again refers to the Form 668-A (c) 71593 and then says "CAVEAT EMPTUS UCC T 5-104". While exact interpretation is difficult, it is obviously saying, "Buyer Beware, Uniform Commercial Code Title 5 Section 104." That section deals with the "Formal Requirements" of letters of credit, from which we know that the author is making fun of government's efforts to control the people in the most minute details, as in the next phrase "Warrant for Arrest," followed by "SS" and the spaces for a social security number. Whatever it means, this too is so obviously political expression that even this court ought to be embarrassed to have allowed the persecution to go this far. The court is asked to read the "judgment." It simply pokes sarcastic fun at a government agent. It cannot be construed any other way. She is "guilty of carrying a U.S.C. Title 18 Sec 336 instrument with intent to pass" it as a Treasury Note! Now, look at the back page: "Warranted this 3 SONday of August in Jesus Christs 1993 year of (symbol for change) Government for Article I, Sec. 2 JURY." Then note the titles of the "JURY PEERS". If there need be any proof that the author is correct, that government deserves this kind of criticism and that people should not take it seriously, it is prosecutions like this. ISSUES ON THE MOTION TO DISMISS Defendants raise Three Issues which are all a part of the major issue: Did the DoJ violate both the rights of the accused and the rights of the Grand Jury by failing to advise the Grand Jury that the First Amendment protects the People's Right peacefully to poke fun at government agencies, even if the agency has no sense of humor? 1. The acts alleged + of "preparing and mailing" the document alleged + is like filing a "declaration of trespass," and is protected by the Petition Clause as in U.S. v Hylton, 710 F2d 1106. 2. Given cases like Hylton supra, are the acts alleged so APPARENTLY protected by the First Amendment, that even if they are not, prosecution for such acts and such associations violates the due process of law? That is, 18 U.S.C. 1505, taken in combination with Hylton and Reeves and the Petition and Free Speech Clauses, does not give fair warning that the conduct alleged is prohibited by them, or even prohibitable. 3. Does the use of general laws like 18 U.S.C. 1505 (directed at prohibiting obstruction of justice by use of force or threats) to intimidate and punish people for exercising political speech rights not render such general statutes violative of the First Amendment and thus unconstitutional? The issue is not just "as applied in this case." DoJ systematically uses these laws to chill Petition and political speech rights. Are they not "void for vagueness and overbreadth" because DoJ interprets "threat" to include "poking fun at government in a way no rational person could take as a threat?" POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF MOTION 1. The Act Alleged Is a "Peaceable Assembly to Petition" The act alleged is, in effect, an allegation that Defendants corruptly assembled to petition government for a redress of grievances, where "corruptly" means "the IRS agent disagrees that they have a right to redress" ... or that the petition should be mailed to the particular agency; or that it should be published; or that ... or that ... all the endless "or thats" which make a difference, in a self-serving agent's subjective mind, between a "bona fide" exercise of First Amendment Rights, and a crime punishable by five years in jail. IF ANY AGENTS mistook this document as a threat within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 1505, they should be terminated as so paranoid they cannot be trusted to deal with the Public under the Constitution. Under Hylton, and the face of the First Amendment, the crime alleged is political speech to government, albeit sarcastically. When Agents, who naturally feel their conduct is justified, are free to decide that a highly protected right is "really" a criminal offense that can put a person in jail for five years, it is not called "prosecution," but "political persecution." U.S. v Hylton elaborated on protected status at 710 F2d 1111: "As the U.S. Supreme Court has held, the right to petition for redress of grievances is 'among the most precious of the liberties safeguarded in the bill of rights.' (Cites) Inseparable from the guaranteed rights entrenched in the First Amendment, the right to petition for redress of grievances occupies a 'preferred place' in our system of representative government and enjoys a 'sanctity and a sanction not permitting dubious intrusions.' Thomas v Collins, 323 US 516; 65 S.Ct. 15, 322. Indeed, '[i]t was not by accident or coincidence that the rights to freedom in speech and press were coupled in a single guarantee with the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition for redress of grievances.' Id. at 323." What is the essence of the "crime"? It is a difference of ideas on "proper" ways to Petition Government, and IRS Agent Mary Ryan wants to make a crime of Defendants' idea of how to get the attention of a government that systematically refuses to listen. Said Justice Holmes in his acclaimed dissent in U.S. v Abrams, 250 US 616 at 630: "Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart, you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition. To allow opposition by speech seems to indicate that you think the speech impotent as when a man says that he has squared the circle; or that you do not care whole heartedly for the result; or that you doubt either your power or your premises. But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe, even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct, that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas -- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes can be safely carried out. That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution." Imagine: The conduct is a peaceful and sarcastic petition to government for redress of grievances, but Mary Ryan & Company think that the great force and might of the United States is required to stop it by criminal persecution, because she does not think that such sarcastic speech, to her or about her, is a good idea. First, federal agents got special immunities; now it is a crime to even complain about their conduct; and that does not abridge the Petition Clause? We must be looking at a different constitution from the one that Justice Holmes knew. 2. The Statutes Give No Warning for the Conduct Indicted 18 U.S.C. 1505 states: "Whoever corruptly or by threats of force or by threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct or impede the due and proper administration of law ...." The Court is asked to read United States v Reeves, 752 Fed 995 (1985), and apply it to the facts of this Case and 18 U.S.C. 1505. The indictment violates due process in that the conduct it indicts is apparently protected under Hylton. The Reeves case holds that even a "frivolous lien" is close enough to the gray area to be protected, saying: "'The Court has a duty to construe a federal statute to avoid constitutional questions where such a construction is reasonably possible.' Arnett v Kennedy, 416 US 134 (1974). This constitutionally based duty reaffirms our interpretation of the language of the statute and its legislative history." U.S. v Reeves, 752 F2d at 1001. The Reeves court went on: "Thus, even if the filing of a frivolous common law lien is not protected by the first amendment guarantee, such filings are at least adjacent to areas of protected activity. It is possible that where the filer has a "bad" motive, the only factor distinguishing a protected from an unprotected filing would be the frivolousness of the lien were we to adopt the trial court's definition of 'corruptly.' In addressing the free speech guarantee of the first amendment, the Court has noted that over breadth is possible where conduct 'falls close to the line separating the lawful and unlawful, the possibility of mistaken fact-finding -- inherent in all litigation -- will create the danger that ... legitimate action will be penalized.' Speiser v Randall, 357 US 513, 526. Similar considerations apply to the guarantee of freedom to petition." U.S. v Reeves, 752 F2d at 1001. 3. The Statutes Are Unduly Vague and Unconstitutional One problem is in the disjunct: "corruptly OR by means of force." That leaves it up to the agent to interpret "corruptly" as she pleases. This chills persons from complaining of an agent's conduct. If the agent disagrees, it is "corrupt" because the statute states no standard and agents are free to create their own. The void for vagueness doctrine requires that a statute must be precise enough to give fair warning to actors that "the contemplated conduct is criminal," and it must provide adequate standards to enforcement agencies, fact finders and reviewing courts. See Connally v Gen. Const. Co., 269 US 385; Lanzetta v N.J., 306 US 451; Coluatti v Franklin, 439 US 379; Village v Flipside, 455 US 489. An over broad statute which sweeps under its coverage both protected and unprotected speech and conduct will normally be struck down as facially invalid, although in non-first amendment situations the Court would simply void its application to protected conduct. See Kunz v NY, 340 US 290; Aptheker v Secretary, 378 US 500; U.S. v Robel, 389 US 258; Lewis v City of New Orleans, 415 US 130. Due process requires that courts strike down vague criminal statutes: "The essential purpose of the "void for vagueness doctrine" with respect to interpretation of a crimninal statute, is to warn individuals of the criminal consequences of their conduct. ... Criminal statutes which fail to give due notice that an act has been made criminal before it is done are unconstitutional deprivations of due process of law." U.S. v De Cadena, 105 F.Supp. 202, 204 (1952) "That the terms of a penal statute creating a new offense must be sufficiently explicit to inform those who are subject to it what conduct on their part will render them liable to its penalties is a well- recognized requirement, consonant alike with ordinary notions of fair play and the settled rules of law; and a st atute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application violates the first essential of due process of law." Connally et al. v General Construction Co., 269 US 385, 391 (1926) Does DoJ's use of general laws like 18 U.S.C. 1505 to intimidate and threaten Citizens with punishment for exercising Petition Rights not render such laws unconstitutional? Reeves says that it does: "In addition, we have upheld sec. 1503 as not unconstitutional on vagueness grounds largely because the statute covers only actions related to pending judicial proceedings, thus providing adequate notice to potential violators. (U.S. v Howard, 569 F2d 1331, 1336, n.9) In contrast, the IRS is permitted great power to intrude on, and investigate virtually every aspect of economic life to effect its purpose of administering the tax laws; thus, the narrow circumstances in which Sec. 1503 applies have no parallel in cases involving sec. 7212(a). We have noted in the past that except for those narrow circumstances, "we would tend to agree ... with the claim that the statute (1503) ... is unconstitutionally vague (Howard at 1336). Since sec. 7212(a) is not restrained by the fact that it is narrowly applicable, we cannot say with as much assurance that potential violators will be put on notice that their conduct is 'corrupt' in the eyes of the law as is the case under Sec. 1503." U.S. v Reeves, 752 F2d at 999 DoJ/IRS continue to create broad interpretations of statutes like 18 U.S.C. 1505 to oppress First Amendment expression, in total disregard of the Court's teaching to construe those statutes narrowly. By force of its continued violation of First Amendment rights, 18 U.S.C. 1505, and all statutes DoJ regularly uses for political oppression, are all void for vagueness. It is necessary and proper that statutes which DoJ/IRS interpret with such liberty as to intentionally chill petition and speech rights be declared unconstitutional, not because of any fault of Congress, but because of the repeated abuse by DoJ/IRS. Dated: December 28, 1995 ______________________________ # # #
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U.S.A. v. McKendrick et al.