U.S. v. Fields, No. 05-7128.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtTacha
Citation516 F.3d 923
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Edward Leon FIELDS, Jr., Defendant-Appellant. State of Oklahoma, Amicus Curiae.
Decision Date25 February 2008
Docket NumberNo. 05-7128.
516 F.3d 923
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Edward Leon FIELDS, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.
State of Oklahoma, Amicus Curiae.
No. 05-7128.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.
February 25, 2008.

[516 F.3d 926]

Vicki Mandell — King, Assistant Federal Public Defender (Raymond P. Moore, Federal Public Defender; James L. Hankins, Ogle & Welch, P.C., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her on the briefs), Denver, Colorado, appearing for Defendant — Appellant.

Libra Lange, United States Department of Justice, Capital Case Unit (Jeffrey B. Kahan, United States Department of Justice, Capital Case Unit; Sheldon J. Sperling, United States Attorney Eastern District of Oklahoma, Muskogee, Oklahoma, with her on the briefs), Washington, D.C., appearing for Plaintiff — Appellee.

W.A. Drew Edmondson, Attorney General of Oklahoma, Sandra D. Rinehart, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, filed an amicus curiae brief for the State of Oklahoma.

[516 F.3d 927]

Before HENRY, Chief Circuit Judge, TACHA, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

TACHA, Circuit Judge.


Edward Leon Fields killed Charles and Shirley Chick at the Winding Stair Campground in the Ouachita National Forest on July 10, 2003. He had seen the couple there days earlier and drove there the evening of July 10 with a homemade ghillie suit (a covering for head and body made to resemble underbrush that Fields referred to as his sniper suit) and a camouflaged and powerfully scoped rifle in his truck. He found the Chicks on a vista some distance from their campsite. He retrieved the rifle, put on the ghillie suit, and hid near their campsite as it grew dark. In time, the Chicks came back to the campsite and sat at a table. Fields waited and watched them for about twenty minutes. When Charles told Shirley he was going to the tent, Fields shot him in the face. As Charles slumped to the table, Shirley got up and began running toward the couple's van. Fields shot at her and a bullet tore through her foot. She reached the passenger door of the van, but was shot again, on the side of her head. Fields caught up and shot her once more, in the back of the head, in the doorway of the van. Shirley died as a result of both head wounds. Fields returned to the table and shot Charles a second time in the head. Charles also died as a result of both of his wounds.

Physical evidence indicated that Fields then left the campsite and only returned hours later, when he broke the driver's window of the van and stole some items. He rummaged through only the driver's area of the van; the rest of the van and the Chicks' tent were untouched. A tip eventually led police to Fields' truck, where they found the rifle, the ghillie suit, and some of the items stolen from the Chicks' van. In the meantime, Fields had been taken in for questioning. He initially denied any connection to the crime, but confessed when confronted with the evidence taken from his truck.

An indictment was obtained in the Eastern District of Oklahoma against Fields charging, among other crimes, two first-degree murder counts under 18 U.S.C. § 1111. Fields pled guilty and a capital sentencing proceeding was conducted pursuant to the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 (FDPA),1 in particular 18 U.S.C. §§ 3591-94. At the conclusion of the proceeding, the jury determined that Fields was eligible for a death sentence under §§ 3591(a)(2) and 3593(e)(2) by finding, unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt, (1) that he possessed the requisite homicidal intent, and (2) the presence of one (here, two) statutorily defined aggravating factors ("statutory aggravators"): substantial planning and premeditation to cause death (§ 3592(c)(9),), and multiple intentional killings committed in a single episode (§ 3592(c)(16)).

The jury then turned to the ad hoc nonstatutory aggravators framed and formally noticed by the government under § 3593(a). Such aggravators do not affect a defendant's eligibility for a death sentence, but contribute to the jury's assessment of whether a death sentence, if available, should be imposed. The jury found, again unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt, that Fields (1) posed a future danger to the lives and safety of other persons; (2) caused permanent loss to Charles Chick's family, friends, and community; (3) caused permanent loss to Shirley

516 F.3d 928

Chick's family, friends, and community; and (4) inflicted mental anguish on Shirley Chick before her death.

Next, the jury considered a host of mitigating factors offered by the defense. At least one juror found, by the required preponderance of the evidence, that (1) Fields did not have a significant prior criminal history; (2) Fields served in and was honorably discharged from the Navy; (3) Fields had worked as a state prison guard; (4) Fields has special talents in cooking, art, and computers; (5) Fields is a loved father; (6) Fields is a loved brother; (7) Fields is a loved son; (8) Fields is a valued friend; (9) Fields' father died months before the offenses; (10) Fields' mother moved away weeks before the offenses; (11) Fields' ex-wife and their children moved away months before the offenses; (12) Fields' ex-wife recently had cancer that may or may not be in remission; (13) Fields' death will impact his children, family, and friends; (14) Fields cooperated with authorities after his arrest; (15) Fields confessed to the crimes; (16) Fields pled guilty to the crimes; and (17) Fields sought treatment for mental illness. All jurors, however, rejected several mitigators, including that (1) Fields' capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct and conform his conduct to the law was significantly impaired; (2) Fields committed the offenses under severe mental or emotional disturbance; (3) Fields expressed remorse for the crimes; and (4) Fields will not present a future danger to society by being imprisoned for life without possibility of release.

Finally, pursuant to § 3593(e), the jury weighed all of the aggravating and mitigating factors to determine whether the aggravators sufficiently outweighed the mitigators to justify a sentence of death. The jury concluded, unanimously, that they did. Thereafter, the district court imposed death sentences on both murder counts.

Fields now appeals, challenging the jurisdictional basis for his federal conviction, which is a matter not waived by his guilty plea, see, e.g., United States v. Kunzman, 125 F.3d 1363, 1365 (10th Cir.1997), abrogated on other grounds by Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 478, 120 S.Ct. 1595, 146 L.Ed.2d 542 (2000), and raising many other objections with respect to the sentencing proceeding. Addressing each of these matters in turn, we conclude that federal jurisdiction was properly exercised and that no reversible error occurred in the proceedings.

I. FEDERAL TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION

Fields was convicted of murder "[w]ithin the ... territorial jurisdiction of the United States." 18 U.S.C. § 1111(b). Under 18 U.S.C. § 7(3) that territorial jurisdiction includes "lands reserved or acquired for the use of the United States, and under the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction thereof." Thus, satisfaction of the latter conditions is a jurisdictional element of the offense of conviction. See United States v. Young, 248 F.3d 260, 275 (4th Cir.2001).

Fields challenges federal territorial jurisdiction here on three alternative grounds: (1) Oklahoma either reserved exclusive jurisdiction over the national forest land where the murders took place, or ceded only a limited proprietary jurisdiction to the United States, in neither case allowing for the exercise of federal territorial jurisdiction; (2) if Oklahoma purported to cede true concurrent jurisdiction, federal statutes controlling at the time the land was acquired did not authorize the United States to exercise concurrent territorial jurisdiction over the national forest land; and/or (3) the United States in any event did not accept such jurisdiction. We reject

516 F.3d 929

all of these contentions and hold that the United States properly exercised its concurrent territorial jurisdiction to prosecute Fields for murdering the Chicks on national forest land. Our conclusion is consistent with the only cases closely on point See United States v. Raffleld, 82 F.3d 611, 612-13 (4th Cir.1996); United States v. Gabrion, No. 1:99-CR-76, 2006 WL 2473978, at *2-*10 (W.D.Mich. Aug.25, 2006) (unpublished decision).

A. Oklahoma's Cession of General Concurrent Jurisdiction

1. Language of the Cession Act

Oklahoma consented to federal acquisition of its land for the creation and expansion of national forests in 1925, through legislation that also specified both the territorial jurisdiction retained by the State and the territorial jurisdiction ceded to the federal government:

That the consent of the State of Oklahoma be and is hereby given to the acquisition by the United States ... of such lands in Oklahoma, as in the opinion of the Federal Government may be needed for the establishment, consolidation and extension of National Forests in the State; provided, that the State of Oklahoma shall retain a concurrent jurisdiction with the United States in and over the lands so acquired, so far that civil process in all cases, and such criminal process as may issue under the authority of the State of Oklahoma against any person charged with the commission of any crime without or within said jurisdiction, may be executed thereon in like manner as if this Act had not been passed.

Power is hereby conferred upon Congress of the United States to pass such laws and to make or provide for the making of such rules and regulations of both a civil and criminal nature, and provide punishment therefor, as in its judgment may be necessary for the administration, control and protection of such lands as may be from time to time acquired by the United States under the provisions of this act.

Act effective April 8, 1925...

To continue reading

Request your trial
84 practice notes
  • United States v. Johnson, No. CR 01–3046–MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • March 5, 2013
    ...was properly submitted, [915 F.Supp.2d 1023]even without a limitation to future dangerousness in prison); accord United States v. Fields, 516 F.3d 923, 942–43 (10th Cir.2008) (agreeing with Allen that due process did not require limitation of the evidence of “future dangerousness” to “futur......
  • U.S. v. Gabrion, Nos. 02–1386
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 17, 2011
    ...18 U.S.C. § 3593(e). 7. The Fifth Circuit's reasoning in Fields was adopted wholesale by the Tenth Circuit in United States v. Fields, 516 F.3d 923, 950 (10th Cir.2008), a case concerning an unrelated defendant. In addition, other courts have reached analogous conclusions on this issue, but......
  • United States v. Mikhel, No. 07-99008
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • May 9, 2018
    ...a friend and coworker was admissible, but was unwilling to extend the victim-impact inquiry further to "community-level consequences." 516 F.3d 923, 946–48 (10th Cir. 2008).24 Mikhel objected four times in penalty-phase closing arguments; Kadamovas objected zero times. None of Mikhel's obje......
  • United States v. Gabrion, Nos. 02–1386
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • May 28, 2013
    ...makes here—six circuits so far—has rejected it. See United States v. Runyon, 707 F.3d 475, 516 (4th Cir.2013); United States v. Fields, 516 F.3d 923, 950 (10th Cir.2008); United States v. Mitchell, 502 F.3d 931, 993–94 (9th Cir.2007); United States v. Sampson, 486 F.3d 13, 31 (1st Cir.2007)......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
84 cases
  • United States v. Johnson, No. CR 01–3046–MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • March 5, 2013
    ...was properly submitted, [915 F.Supp.2d 1023]even without a limitation to future dangerousness in prison); accord United States v. Fields, 516 F.3d 923, 942–43 (10th Cir.2008) (agreeing with Allen that due process did not require limitation of the evidence of “future dangerousness” to “futur......
  • U.S. v. Gabrion, Nos. 02–1386
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 17, 2011
    ...18 U.S.C. § 3593(e). 7. The Fifth Circuit's reasoning in Fields was adopted wholesale by the Tenth Circuit in United States v. Fields, 516 F.3d 923, 950 (10th Cir.2008), a case concerning an unrelated defendant. In addition, other courts have reached analogous conclusions on this issue, but......
  • United States v. Mikhel, No. 07-99008
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • May 9, 2018
    ...a friend and coworker was admissible, but was unwilling to extend the victim-impact inquiry further to "community-level consequences." 516 F.3d 923, 946–48 (10th Cir. 2008).24 Mikhel objected four times in penalty-phase closing arguments; Kadamovas objected zero times. None of Mikhel's obje......
  • United States v. Gabrion, Nos. 02–1386
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • May 28, 2013
    ...makes here—six circuits so far—has rejected it. See United States v. Runyon, 707 F.3d 475, 516 (4th Cir.2013); United States v. Fields, 516 F.3d 923, 950 (10th Cir.2008); United States v. Mitchell, 502 F.3d 931, 993–94 (9th Cir.2007); United States v. Sampson, 486 F.3d 13, 31 (1st Cir.2007)......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT