On October 26, 2011, the United States Coast Guard observed a vessel in the international waters off the eastern coast of Jamaica. While the Coast Guard was pursuing the vessel, the three individuals aboard the vessel discarded dozens of bales into the water, which the Coast Guard later determined to be approximately 997 kilograms of marijuana. The vessel lacked all indicia of nationality: it displayed no flag, port, or registration number. Glenroy Parchment identified himself as the master of the vessel and claimed the vessel was registered in Haiti. The Coast Guard then contacted the Republic of Haiti to inquire whether the vessel was of Haitian nationality. The government of Haiti responded that it could neither confirm nor deny the registry. The other two individuals aboard the vessel, Christopher Patrick Campbell and Pierre Nadin Alegrand, as well as Parchment later admitted that they knew they were illegally transporting marijuana.
After a federal grand jury indicted Campbell, Alegrand, and Parchment under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, 46 U.S.C. § 70501 et seq., for conspiracy to possess and for possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, id. §§ 70503(a)(1), 70506(a), 70506(b); 21 U.S.C. § 960(b)(2)(G), Campbell filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction on three grounds: (1) that admission of a certification of the Secretary of State to prove a response to a claim of registry, see 46 U.S.C. § 70502(d)(2), would violate Campbell’s right under the Confrontation Clause and that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Campbell was aboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; (2) that the Act violated Campbell’s right to due process of law under the Fifth Amendment because he had no contacts with the United States; and (3) that Congress exceeded its constitutional power to define and punish felonies committed on the high seas when it enacted the Act. Campbell conceded that our precedents foreclosed his last two arguments, but he stated his intent to preserve his objections for further review.
Judge(s): Jill Pryor
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Related Categories: Constitutional Law , Criminal Justice
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