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United States v. Henery

United States District Court, D. Idaho

October 13, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JONATHAN LYNN HENERY and BEAU EDWARD HANSEN, Defendant

For Jonathan Lynn Henery, Defendant: Thomas B Dominick, LEAD ATTORNEY, DOMINICK LAW OFFICES, PLLC, Boise, ID.

For Beau Edward Hansen, Defendant: Mark J Ackley, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Defender Services Of Idaho, Boise, ID.

For USA, Plaintiff: Aaron N Lucoff, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Boise, ID; Ali Ahmad, LEAD ATTORNEY, Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

Page 1127

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. Lynn Winmill, Chief United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it defendant Jonathan Lynn Henery's motion to dismiss the indictment. Dkt. 29. Defendants are charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(1). Defendant Henery filed this motion arguing that Congress's enactment of § 249(a)(1) is unconstitutional. For the following reasons the Court will deny Defendant's motion.

BACKGROUND

The government alleges that on October 20, 2013, defendants Henery and Hansen physically attacked an African American man at a club while yelling gang calls and racial slurs. Gov.'s Resp. at 3, Dkt. 31. Defendants were charged with willfully causing bodily injury to another because of the victim's perceived race and color in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(1). Dkt. 1. Defendant Henery filed this motion to dismiss the indictment, claiming that § 249(a)(1) of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Act (hereinafter " Shepard-Byrd Act" ) is unconstitutional because Congress lacked authority to enact such legislation under enforcement clause of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Def.'s Mot. at 1, Dkt 29. Co-defendant Hansen joined this motion in full. Dkt. 30.

LEGAL STANDARD

Henery brings a facial challenge to the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(1), arguing that its passage overstepped Congress's authority under the Thirteenth Amendment. Def.'s Br. at 1-6, Dkt. 29-1. Section 249(a)(1) is distinct from the rest of the Shepard-Byrd Act, in that, it relies solely on Congress's authority under Section 2 of the Thirteenth Amendment. U.S. v. Cannon, 750 F.3d 492, 497-98 (5th Cir. 2014). The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

In Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., the Supreme Court found that Section 2 of the Thirteenth Amendment " clothed Congress with power to pass all laws ...


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