743 F.3d 802 (11th Cir. 2014), 12-13647, United States v. Campbell

Docket Nº:12-13647
Citation:743 F.3d 802
Opinion Judge:PRYOR, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CHRISTOPHER PATRICK CAMPBELL, Defendant-Appellant
Attorney:For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee: Jonathan Colan, Kathleen Mary Salyer, Evelyn Baltodano-Sheehan, Dustin M. Davis, Wifredo A. Ferrer, Anne Ruth Schultz, U.S. Attorney's Office, MIAMI, FL. For CHRISTOPHER PATRICK CAMPBELL, Defendant - Appellant: Robin J. Farnsworth, Daryl Elliott...
Judge Panel:Before PRYOR, JORDAN, and FAY, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:February 20, 2014
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 802

743 F.3d 802 (11th Cir. 2014)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

CHRISTOPHER PATRICK CAMPBELL, Defendant-Appellant

No. 12-13647

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

February 20, 2014

Petition for certiorari filed at, 05/21/2014

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 4:11-cr-10021-JEM-2.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee: Jonathan Colan, Kathleen Mary Salyer, Evelyn Baltodano-Sheehan, Dustin M. Davis, Wifredo A. Ferrer, Anne Ruth Schultz, U.S. Attorney's Office, MIAMI, FL.

For CHRISTOPHER PATRICK CAMPBELL, Defendant - Appellant: Robin J. Farnsworth, Daryl Elliott Wilcox, Federal Public Defender's Office, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL; Michael Caruso, Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, MIAMI, FL.

Before PRYOR, JORDAN, and FAY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 803

PRYOR, Circuit Judge:

Two changes in law--a statutory change and a decisional change--require us to reconsider whether the admission of a certification of the Secretary of State to establish extraterritorial jurisdiction for a prosecution of drug trafficking on the high seas violates a defendant's right to confront the witnesses against him at trial. U.S. Const. Amend. VI. In United States v. Rojas, we held that the admission at trial of a certification to establish jurisdiction over a Panamanian vessel laden with cocaine and seized on the high seas did not violate the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. 53 F.3d 1212, 1216 (11th Cir. 1995). After we decided Rojas, Congress amended the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act to provide that " jurisdictional issues arising under this chapter are preliminary questions of law to be determined solely by the trial judge," and that the " [j]urisdiction of the United States with respect to a vessel subject to this chapter is not an element of an offense." Pub. L. 104-324, § 1138,

Page 804

110 Stat. 3901, 3988-89, (1996) (codified as amended 46 U.S.C. § 70504(a)). Also after we decided Rojas, the Supreme Court overruled its decision in Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56, 100 S.Ct. 2531, 65 L.Ed.2d 597 (1980), and held that the Confrontation Clause bars the admission of a testimonial statement by " a witness who did not appear at trial unless he was unavailable to testify, and the defendant had had a prior opportunity for cross-examination." Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 53-54, 124 S.Ct. 1354, 1365, 158 L.Ed.2d 177 (2004). In the light of these changes in law, we reach the same decision we reached in Rojas, but for a different reason. Because the certification proves jurisdiction, as a diplomatic courtesy to a foreign nation, and does not prove an element of a defendant's culpability, we conclude that the pretrial admission of the certification does not violate the Confrontation Clause.

I. BACKGROUND

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.

The district court referred the motion to a magistrate judge, who held a hearing about whether the certification of the Secretary of State established jurisdiction. At the hearing, the United States introduced into evidence the certification of the Secretary of State, which included the statement of Commander Daniel Deptula of the United States Coast Guard that he had contacted the Republic of Haiti to inquire whether the vessel was registered there and that Haiti responded that it could neither confirm nor deny the registry of the vessel. Campbell objected to

Page 805

the admission of the certification on the ground that it violated his right under the Confrontation Clause, but the magistrate judge overruled the objection because the certification was " self-authenticating" and " whether there should be further proof beyond the State Department document is really a separate question and does not go to the admissibility of the certification." The magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation that the certification of the Secretary of State established extraterritorial jurisdiction over the vessel and that the Act was constitutional both on its face and as applied to Campbell. The district court adopted the report and recommendation.

Campbell waived his right to a trial by jury in a written statement signed by him, his counsel, the prosecutor, and the district court judge, and at a bench trial, the parties stipulated to the material facts. But Campbell maintained at trial that the stipulation about the communication between Commander Deptula and Haiti proved only the representation by the Coast Guard that a Haitian official could neither confirm nor deny the registration of the vessel and not that the communication from a Haitian official actually occurred. Campbell acknowledged that the district court had already determined its jurisdiction based only on the certification of the Secretary of State, but he argued " that there was nobody from Haiti that actually signed a certificate or provided any documents." The district court found Campbell guilty on both the conspiracy and possession counts.

II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

We review questions of law de novo and findings of fact for clear error. For example, we review " de novo a district court's interpretation and application of statutory provisions that go to whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction.... The district court's factual findings with respect to jurisdiction, however, are reviewed for clear error." United States v. Tinoco, 304 F.3d 1088, 1114 (11th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks omitted). " We review de novo the legal question of whether a statute is constitutional." Id. at 1099. And we review constitutional objections de novo. United States v. Brown, 364 F.3d 1266, 1268 (11th Cir. 2004).

III. DISCUSSION

The Constitution empowers Congress " [t]o define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations." U.S. Const. Art. I, § 8, cl. 10. The Supreme Court has interpreted that Clause to contain three distinct grants of power: to define and punish piracies, to define and punish felonies committed on the high seas, and to...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP