United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION 
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge.
Government charged Defendant Derrin Abbott with being a felon
in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of
stolen firearms, and possession with intent to distribute
marijuana. Abbott has moved to dismiss the indictment
pursuant to 40 U.S.C. § 3112(b) - (c) and Article 1,
Section 8, Clause 17 of the United States Constitution for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. For the reasons stated
below, the Court will deny the motion.
officers executed state search warrants at Abbott's XXX39
and XXX45 Arlington Street residences in Detroit, Michigan
and recovered evidence that included marijuana, firearms, and
ammunition. The Government charged Abbott with Felon in
Possession of a Firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g), Felon in Possession of Ammunition, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 922(g), Possession of a Stolen Firearm, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(j), and Possession with
Intent to Distribute Controlled Substance (marijuana) in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a). ECF 13. The Court
granted Abbott's ex parte application for a Rule 17
subpoena. ECF 46. His motion to dismiss followed.
United States Constitution created a federal system of
government in which both the national government and state
governments maintain sovereignty over the same territory.
See, e.g., Printz v. United States, 521
U.S. 898, 918 (1997). States have general authority to create
laws to punish criminal offenses in their territory as part
of the "police power." United States v.
Morrison, 529 U.S. 598, 618 (2000). And the federal
government has authority to the create and punish criminal
offenses as "necessary and proper" to the execution
of their enumerated powers. See United States v.
Comstock, 560 U.S. 126, 135-36 (2010) ("[T]he
Constitution, which nowhere speaks explicitly about the
creation of federal crimes . . . nonetheless grants Congress
broad authority to create such crimes."); United
States v. Worrall, 2 U.S. 384, 394 (1798) (Acknowledging
the "power granted to Congress to create, define, and
punish, crimes and offences, whenever they shall deem it
necessary and proper by law to do so, for effectuating the
objects of the government.").
person in the United States is therefore subject to the
jurisdiction of two sovereigns-the government of the United
States and the government of the state in which he or she is
located-and may be liable under the criminal laws of both. As
the exclusive forum for federal crimes, Congress has vested
the federal district courts with "original jurisdiction,
exclusive of the courts of the States, of all offenses
against the laws of the United States." 18 U.S.C. §
argues that the federal government lacks jurisdiction to
prosecute him because it failed to obtain permission from the
State of Michigan. In support of his motion, Abbott points to
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution, the
Exclusive Legislation Clause, in conjunction with 40 U.S.C.
§ 3112 (b) and (c). The former gives Congress the
authority to exercise exclusive legislation and authority
over land purchased for specific purposes, and the latter
requires the federal government to file a notice of
acceptance of jurisdiction over newly acquired land with the
governor of the state from which the land was acquired. Based
on the combination of these two provisions, Abbott concludes
that "the United States' government is without
jurisdiction to investigate, prosecute or punish him for
offenses committed in the state of Michigan . . . unless they
have obtained express consent of the governor of the state of
Michigan[.]" ECF 47, PgID 306.
argument lacks merit because "the permission of the
states is not a prerequisite to exercise [federal]
jurisdiction." United States v. Hamilton, 263
F.3d 645, 655 (6th Cir. 2001). Abbott "allegedly
violated the laws of two sovereigns, [Michigan] and the
United States. Either or both could have prosecuted
him." United States v. Sitton, 968 F.2d 947,
953 (9th Cir.1992). Abbott's arguments to the contrary
"ignor[e] the basic principles of federalism."
Hamilton, 263 F.3d at 655.
to Abbott's argument, neither the Exclusive Legislation
Clause nor § 3112 applies because "the United
States has not claimed it has the exclusive right to
promulgate laws over the lands where the crimes were
committed[.]" United States v. Gerhard, 615
F.3d 7, 26 (1st Cir. 2010). "The fact that [Michigan]
has sovereignty within its boundaries does not bar the United
States from having concurrent jurisdiction to indict and
prosecute [Abbott] for federal crimes occurring within those
same boundaries." Hamilton, 263 F.3d at 655.
Thus, the federal government does not need to obtain the
consent of the governor of Michigan to prosecute Abbott.
also argues that federal prosecutions can only occur for
crimes committed on federal land. In support, Abbott points
to United States v. King. 781 F.Supp. 315 (D.N.J.
1991) and United States v. Gabrion, 517 F.3d 839
(6th Cir. 2008). In King the defendant was charged
under the Assimilative Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 7, 13(a),
which allows the federal government to adopt state criminal
law and to prosecute individuals for crimes committed within
the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the
United States. Similarly in Gabrion, the federal law
at question related to crimes that occur within special
maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
18 U.S.C. § 1111(b). But the statutes at issue here-18
U.S.C.§ 922 and 21 U.S.C. § 841-impose criminal
liability regardless of whether the offense occurred on
federal land. See, e.g., United States v.
Yannott, 42 F.3d 999, 1004 (6th Cir. 1999).
Abbott makes the sweeping argument, relying on the Tenth
Amendment and United States v. E.C. Knight Co., 156
U.S. 1 (1895), that "'police powers' were
delegated to the state governments to be exercised
exclusively within their boundaries, to the exclusion of any
federal police powers." ECF 47, PgID 309. Abbott is
incorrect. The federal government shares concurrent
jurisdiction with the states. United States v.
Hamilton, 263 ...