United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER REGARDING VARIOUS PRETRIAL MOTIONS
S. Lasnik United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on various pretrial motions
filed by defendant Daniel Nix. In two motions, Mr. Nix
challenges the Court's original jurisdiction to hear this
case. Dkts. ## 115, 128. To the extent Mr. Nix argues that
the criminal laws he is charged with violating exceed
Congress's constitutional authority, that argument is
meritless. Congress has the constitutional authority to
collect taxes. U.S. Const. art. I § 8 (providing
“[t]he Congress shall have Power To lay and collect
Taxes”). Congress also has the power “[t]o make
all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying
into Execution [its enumerated] Powers.” Id.
That includes the authority to enact criminal laws to enforce
statutes enacted under the taxing power, see United
States v. Comstock, 560 U.S. 126, 134 (2010), in
particular the tax-related criminal statutes Mr. Nix is
charged with violating.
argues that the federal criminal law's application is
limited only to the District of Columbia and other areas of
exclusive federal jurisdiction. See Dkt. # 115. The
Court rejects that argument. Indeed, one of the cases Mr. Nix
cites explicitly refers to “statute[s] . . . of
universal application within the territorial limits of the
United States . . . [that are] not limited to those portions
which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the national
government, such as the District of Columbia.” Caha
v. United States, 152 U.S. 211, 215 (1894). The laws Mr.
Nix is charged with violating are of universal application
throughout the United States.
seems to argue that the Supreme Court has original
jurisdiction over this matter because he is an
“ambassador” within the meaning of Article III of
the Constitution, which provides that “[i]n all Cases
affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls . .
. the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction.”
U.S. Const. art. III § 2. Mr. Nix implies he qualifies
as an “Ambassador for Christ.” See Dkt.
# 130. “Manifestly, [the original-jurisdiction clause]
refers to diplomatic and consular representatives accredited
to the United States by foreign powers.” Ex parte
Gruber, 269 U.S. 302, 303 (1925). Mr. Nix is not such a
representative and his criminal charges are properly
adjudicated in this Court.
there is no other reason the Court lacks jurisdiction to
adjudicate the alleged violation of a federal criminal law
committed in this federal district. See 18 U.S.C.
§§ 3231, 3232. For these reason, the Court rejects
Mr. Nix's jurisdictional challenges.
also filed a motion in limine seeking to exclude the
testimony of William C. Kerr. Dkt. # 109. The government
expects Mr. Kerr to testify regarding the fictitious nature
of financial instruments at the heart of Counts 14 to 24.
See Dkt. # 132. Mr. Nix first takes issue with Mr.
Kerr's qualifications. Federal Rule of Evidence 702
witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education may testify in the form of
an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to
understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and
methods; and (d) the expert has reliably applied the
principles and methods to the facts of the case.
Fed. R. Evid. 702. The government asserts that Mr. Kerr's
testimony is based on his experience with and knowledge of
financial instruments and the United States banking system.
“If the witness is relying solely or primarily on
experience, then the witness must explain how that experience
leads to the conclusion reached, why that experience is a
sufficient basis for the opinion, and how that experience is
reliably applied to the facts.” Fed.R.Evid. 702
advisory committee's note to 2000 amendments. Mr. Kerr
has extensive experience related to fraud in the banking
industry, consulting on fraud-related banking matters, and
testifying as an expert in that capacity. See Dkt. #
132-1. The Court concludes that Mr. Kerr's background
adequately qualifies him to testify about the authenticity of
the financial instruments at issue.
takes issue with Mr. Kerr potentially testifying to Mr.
Nix's state of mind related to the financial instruments.
The government represents that Mr. Kerr will not testify to
Mr. Nix's state of mind. See Dkt. # 132 at 4.
For these reasons, the Court will not exclude Mr. Kerr's
testimony and will address any potential opinions on Mr.
Nix's state of mind at trial.
foregoing reasons, Mr. Nix's motions challenging the
Court's jurisdiction, Dkts. ## 115, 128, are DENIED. Mr.
Nix's motion in limine to exclude Mr. Kerr's
expert testimony, Dkt. # 109, is DENIED. The additional
pending motions will be ...