U.S. v. Adams, No. 97-2257.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBriscoe
Citation140 F.3d 895
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Martin H. ADAMS, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 97-2257.
Decision Date14 April 1998
140 F.3d 895
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Martin H. ADAMS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 97-2257.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.
April 14, 1998.

Kenneth E. Fladager II, Rio Rancho, NM, for Defendant-Appellant.

James Miles Hanisee, Special Assistant United States Attorney (John J. Kelly, United States Attorney, with him on the brief), Albuquerque, NM, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before ANDERSON, McKAY, and BRISCOE, Circuit Judges.

BRISCOE, Circuit Judge.


Martin Adams appeals his sentence for driving while under the influence and driving on a revoked or suspended license on a military installation. He contends he should have been sentenced under 32 C.F.R. § 210.3 rather than under state law applicable through the Assimilative Crimes Act (ACA), 18 U.S.C. § 13. We disagree and affirm.

Adams was issued a citation for driving on a revoked or suspended license and driving while under the influence on Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. Because the government invoked the ACA, Adams was charged under the New Mexico Traffic Code rather than under federal law. He pleaded guilty to both offenses. At sentencing, he argued he could not be given the state sentence under the ACA because the ACA can only apply when there is no federal law. Adams asserted the applicability of 32 C.F.R. § 210.3(d), a Department of Defense regulation that applies state traffic laws to military installations but provides a maximum punishment of thirty days in jail and a $50 fine. The district court disagreed and sentenced Adams to 300 days in jail followed by two

140 F.3d 896

years' probation, and fines of $1,050, a sentence permitted under state law.

The ACA provides:

Whoever within ... [a federal enclave] is guilty of any act or omission which, although not made punishable by any enactment of Congress, would be punishable if committed or omitted within the jurisdiction of the State, Territory, Possession, or District in which such place is situated, by the laws thereof in force at the time of such act or omission, shall be guilty of a like offense and subject to a like punishment.

18 U.S.C. § 13(a). The purpose of the ACA is to borrow state law to fill gaps in the federal criminal law that applies on federal enclaves. Lewis v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 118 S.Ct. 1135, 1139, 140 L.Ed.2d 271 (1998). The ACA provides "a method of punishing a crime committed on government reservations in the way and to the extent that it would have been punishable if committed within the surrounding jurisdiction." United States v. Garcia, 893 F.2d 250, 253 (10th Cir.1989) (quoting United States v. Sain, 795 F.2d 888, 890 (10th Cir.1986)). The ACA applies when there is no enactment of Congress making defendant's act or omission punishable. Even when there is an enactment of Congress that applies to the act or omission, the federal statute will not necessarily preclude application of state law through the ACA. Whether application of state law is precluded depends on the language and purpose of the federal statute. See Lewis, ___ U.S. at ___ _ ___, 118 S.Ct. at 1141-42.

Adams contends the ACA is inapplicable because his offense is punishable under 32 C.F.R. § 210.3. He asserts the regulation is "unquestionably" an enactment of Congress. Although courts have stated regulations can be enactments of Congress within the meaning of the ACA, see, e.g., United States v. Fox, 60 F.3d 181, 185 (4th Cir.1995); United States v. Hall, 979 F.2d 320, 322 (3d Cir. 1992), that conclusion is debatable, see Fox, 60 F.3d at 185-87 (Luttig, J., concurring). We need not decide this issue, however, because even if § 210.3 is an enactment of Congress within the meaning of the ACA, the regulation does not preclude application of state law.

32 C.F.R. § 210.1 provides:

This part establishes policies pursuant to the requirements of DoD Directive 6055.4, "Department of Defense Traffic Safety Program," November 7, 1978, and to authority delegated to the Secretary of Defense under Enclosure 1 for the enforcement, on DoD military installations, of those state vehicular and pedestrian traffic laws that cannot be assimilated under U.S.C., Title 18, section 13.

(Emphasis added.) 32 C.F.R. § 210.2 provides:

(a) The provisions of this part apply to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Military Departments, the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Unified and Specified Commands, and the...

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5 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Parker, No. 03-4119.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 24 Marzo 2004
    ...of the ACA is to borrow state law to fill gaps in the federal criminal law that applies on federal enclaves." United States v. Adams, 140 F.3d 895, 896 (10th Cir.1998). The ACA thus provides "a method of punishing a crime committed on government reservations in the way and to the ......
  • U.S. v. Pethick, No. 06-1525.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 17 Enero 2008
    ...was enacted to fill gaps in criminal law otherwise applicable to federal enclaves by incorporating state law. See United States v. Adams, 140 F.3d 895, 896 (10th Cir.1998). The Act provides "a method of punishing a crime committed on government reservations in the way and to the extent......
  • U.S. v. Guardia, No. CR 96-0244 BB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • 25 Junio 1998
    ...located, but only if the conduct is "not made punishable by any enactment of Congress." 18 U.S.C. § 13; United States v. Adams, 140 F.3d 895 (10th Cir.1998). Defendant's renewed motion to dismiss the counts relying on state law is based on a recent Supreme Court decision, Lewis v.......
  • U.S. v. Pethick, No. 09-1319 (10th Cir. 1/20/2010), No. 09-1319.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 20 Enero 2010
    ...enacted to fill gaps in the criminal laws otherwise applicable to federal enclaves by incorporating state law. See United States v. Adams, 140 F.3d 895, 896 (10th Cir. 1998). The Act provides "a method of punishing a crime committed on government reservations in the way and to the exte......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • U.S. v. Parker, No. 03-4119.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 24 Marzo 2004
    ...of the ACA is to borrow state law to fill gaps in the federal criminal law that applies on federal enclaves." United States v. Adams, 140 F.3d 895, 896 (10th Cir.1998). The ACA thus provides "a method of punishing a crime committed on government reservations in the way and to the ......
  • U.S. v. Pethick, No. 06-1525.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 17 Enero 2008
    ...was enacted to fill gaps in criminal law otherwise applicable to federal enclaves by incorporating state law. See United States v. Adams, 140 F.3d 895, 896 (10th Cir.1998). The Act provides "a method of punishing a crime committed on government reservations in the way and to the extent......
  • U.S. v. Guardia, No. CR 96-0244 BB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • 25 Junio 1998
    ...located, but only if the conduct is "not made punishable by any enactment of Congress." 18 U.S.C. § 13; United States v. Adams, 140 F.3d 895 (10th Cir.1998). Defendant's renewed motion to dismiss the counts relying on state law is based on a recent Supreme Court decision, Lewis v.......
  • U.S. v. Pethick, No. 09-1319 (10th Cir. 1/20/2010), No. 09-1319.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 20 Enero 2010
    ...enacted to fill gaps in the criminal laws otherwise applicable to federal enclaves by incorporating state law. See United States v. Adams, 140 F.3d 895, 896 (10th Cir. 1998). The Act provides "a method of punishing a crime committed on government reservations in the way and to the exte......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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