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United States v. Henley

April 9, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WANDA HENLEY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Victoria A. Roberts

ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant filed a Motion for Witness List [Dkt #77]; Motion for Severance [Dkt #78]; and Motion to Dismiss for Want of Jurisdiction [Dkt #83], on December 31, 2009. The Government filed Responses [Dkt #90-92].

The motions were referred to Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub for report and recommendation. On March 4, 2010, the Magistrate entered her Report and Recommendation ("R & R"), denying the Motion to Dismiss [Dkt #98]. On the same date, the Magistrate entered an Order denying Defendant's Motion for Witness List and Motion for Severance [Dkt #99]. On March 19, 2010, Defendant filed Objections to the R & R and to the March 4, 2010 Order [Dkt # 100-102]. The Government did not respond to the Objections.

The matter is now before the Court on Defendant's Objections. For the reasons stated, the Court ADOPTS the R & R and the findings in the Magistrate's March 4, 2010 Order.

II. BACKGROUND

Defendant, Wanda Henley, and co-defendants Jonathone Johnson, Chaka Powell, Erica Walters, Aronzo Johnson, and Nyesha Noaks, are charged in a 54-count Indictment filed July 16, 2008. Henley is charged with 30 counts of Wire Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343. Henley is a licensed real estate appraiser, who, along with her co-defendants, is alleged to have participated in a mortgage fraud scheme in the metro Detroit area, from 2003 to 2005. Only one co-defendant, Aronzo Johnson, advised the Court he intends to plead guilty. A joint trial for Henley and the other co-defendants is scheduled for April 20, 2010.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

This Court reviews de novo those portions of an R&R to which specific objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). See also U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co. v. Thomas Solvent Co., 955 F.2d 1085, 1088 (6th Cir. 1992) (noting that a district court conducts de novo review of magistrate judge's rulings on dispositive motions); Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 380 (6th Cir. 1995) ("[A] general objection to a magistrate's report, which fails to specify the issues of contention, does not satisfy the requirement that an objection be filed. The objections must be clear enough to enable the district court to discern those issues that are dispositive and contentious."). The Court may accept, reject or modify any or all of the Magistrate Judge's findings or recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Motion to Dismiss

Henley says she is a regional diplomat of the Washitaw Nation and that the federal government and courts have no jurisdiction over her. She asserts that the Muurish Empire Washitaw ("Uaxashaktun") exists as the world's oldest sovereign and independent nation. Because Henley did not provide legal support to show that the Washitaw Nation is a recognized sovereign, the Magistrate Judge concluded that her motion should be denied. Henley says that ruling was in error.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals characterized the Nation of Washitaw as fictional. Bybee v. City of Paducah, 46 Fed. Appx. 735, 736 (6th Cir. 2002), unpublished. Other federal courts decline to recognize the Washitaw Nation as a legitimate sovereign. See Sanders-Bey v. United States, 267 Fed. Appx. 464, 466 (7th Cir. 2008)("[t]he Washitaw Nation, however, is not recognized by the United States government. . ."); United States v. Gunwall, 1998 WL 482787 at *3 (10th Cir. Aug. 12, 1998)(claim that defendant was "a member of a sovereignty known as 'Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah,' over which the government has no jurisdiction" was frivolous"); Khattab El v. U.S. Justice Dep't, No. 86-6863, 1988 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 544, 1988 WL 5117 at *5 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 22, 1988) (holding that "the United States has not recognized the sovereignty of the Moorish Nation, thus precluding sovereign immunity claims").

This Court also rejects Henley's claim that the Court lacks jurisdiction over her and this case based on her membership in the Washitaw Nation. The Magistrate correctly decided ...


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