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United States v. Lund

United States District Court, D. Oregon

September 3, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ROBERT A. LUND, Defendant.

          Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney, and Seth D. Uram and Clemon D. Ashley, Assistant United States Attorneys, United States Attorney's Office, Of Attorneys for United States of America.

          Robert A. Lund, pro se.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Michael H. Simon United States District Judge

         On April 24, 2018, a federal grand jury in the District of Oregon indicted Robert A. Lund (“Lund”) in No. 3:18-cr-180-SI (“Case '180”). In that case, the grand jury charged Lund with one criminal count of filing false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 152(2). On June 12, 2019, a federal grand jury in the District of Oregon indicted Lund on additional criminal charges in No. 3:19-cr-244-SI (“Case '244”). In that case, the grand jury charged Lund with six criminal counts: (1) tax evasion from 1994-1996, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201; (2) failure to file an individual tax return for calendar year 2013, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203; (3) failure to file an individual tax return for calendar year 2014, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203; (4) obstructing or impeding the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a); (5) theft of government funds relating to the Oregon Health Plan, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641; and (6) theft of government funds relating to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641. On July 10, 2019, Lund had his initial appearance and arraignment in both cases before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of Oregon. Lund recently filed in both cases a Verified Motion to Dismiss for Want of Original Jurisdiction and a separate Motion for Order of Involuntary Dismissal for Want of Jurisdiction. For the following reasons, Lund's motions are denied.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Original Jurisdiction

         In his motions, Lund asserts that he is a “Minister of the Church of Philadelphia” and “an Ambassador for Christ.” Case '180 ECF 14 at 1-2; Case '180 ECF 17 at 7; Case '244 ECF 18 at 1-2; Case '244 ECF 15 at 7. Article III, section 2, clause 2 of the United States Constitution provides, in relevant part: “In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction.” U.S. Consti., Art. III, sec. 2, cl. 2 (emphasis added). Invoking this provision, Lund argues that this district court lacks original jurisdiction because Lund is an “Ambassador for Christ.”

         Although the Court is skeptical that Lund is an “ambassador, ” as that term is used in the Constitution, the Court need not reach that issue to reject Lund's argument. In Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 264, 392-405 (1821), the United States Supreme Court held that it could hear appeals in cases that also fit within its original jurisdiction. “This opened the door for Congress to vest concurrent jurisdiction over matters within the original jurisdiction in the state and lower federal courts.” Erwin Chemerinsky, Federal Jurisdiction § 10.3 at 711 (7th ed. 2016), citing California v. Arizona, 440 U.S. 59, 65 (1979) (“It is similarly clear that the original jurisdiction of this Court is not constitutionally exclusive-that other courts can be awarded concurrent jurisdiction by statute.”). In 28 U.S.C. § 1251, Congress did precisely that.

         Section 1251(b) states, in relevant part:

(b) The Supreme Court shall have original but not exclusive jurisdiction of:
(1) All actions or proceedings to which ambassadors, other public ministers, consuls, or vice consuls of foreign states are parties

28 U.S.C. § 1251(b)(1) (emphasis added). Thus, the Constitution does not preclude this district court from exercising concurrent jurisdiction in this matter, even if Lund were considered an “ambassador, ” as that term is used in the Constitution.

         B. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         Lund also argues that Congress has not conferred subject matter jurisdiction on this district court. He is mistaken. In 18 U.S.C. § 3231, ...


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