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United States v. Bennett

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 7, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ADRIAN BENNETT (08) Defendant.

          ENTRY ON DEFENDANT BENNETT'S MOTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, United States District Court Judge

         Before the Court is pro se Defendant Adrian Bennett's (“Bennett”) Motion of Constitutional Challenges to all Federal Statutes (Filing No. 765). The Third Superseding Indictment in this case (Filing No. 595) charges Bennett with Count One, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Controlled Substances; Count Eight: Possession with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances; and Count Nine: Felon in Possession of a Firearm. In his Motion, Bennett alleges violations of Amendments II, IV, V, VI, VIII, IX, and XIII to the United States Constitution. For the reasons stated below, the Motion is denied in all respects except for Bennett's Fourth Amendment challenge, which is taken under advisement.

         I. DISCUSSION

         In his Motion, Bennett lists verbatim language from Constitutional Amendments II, IV, V, VI, VIII, IX, and XIII and fails to provide any analysis or bases for his challenges. The Government asserts that because Bennett does not explain on what bases any of his rights have been violated, or what grounds his arguments rest on, his claims are entirely undeveloped and should be deemed waived. And as the Seventh Circuit has “said numerous times, undeveloped arguments are deemed waived.” United States v. Foster, 652 F.3d 776, 793 (7th Cir. 2011); see United States v. Hassebrock, 663 F.3d 906, 916 (7th Cir. 2011).

         Although Bennett did not elaborate on his arguments in the pleadings, he did state on the record at the final pretrial conference the basis for some of his challenges. Accordingly, the Court will attempt to rule on the merits of Bennett's motion.

         A. Amendment II

         Bennet asserts the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Specifically, he argues that the Second Amendment should allow one to have firearms at a residence where they reside, especially when someone at the residence has a firearm permit. Like most rights, Second Amendment rights are not unlimited. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008). The Second Amendment does not prohibit the establishment of federal gun laws, including 18 U.S.C. 922(g) that is charged against Bennett this case. Accordingly, Bennett's Second Amendment challenge, as the Court understands it, is overruled.

         B. Amendment IV

         Bennett challenges the right of the people to be secure in their persons and houses against unreasonable searches and seizures, and that no warrants shall issue except upon probable cause.

The Fourth Amendment provides, The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

         U.S. Const. Amend. IV. “If the search or seizure was effected pursuant to a warrant, the defendant bears the burden of proving its illegality.” United States v. Longmire, 761 F.2d 411, 417 (7th Cir. 1985). At the final pretrial conference, Bennett noted that he was moving to suppress the search warrant and seizure of property, but he has offered nothing else in support of his motion. The Government responds to this challenge by reiterating that Bennett's argument is underdeveloped and should be considered waived. Because of the importance of this right and based on Bennett's pro se representation, the Court determines that Bennett should have an opportunity to develop his Fourth Amendment argument and the Government should have an opportunity to respond. Accordingly, the Court takes under advisement a ruling on Bennett's Fourth Amendment challenge.

         C. Amendment V

         Bennett challenges that no person shall be held to answer for a crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury. A federal grand jury issued all indictments that have been filed in this case, therefore Bennett's Fifth Amendment challenge on this issue is overruled. Bennett also appears to make a due process challenge. The Court overrules this challenge because it has afforded Bennett his due process rights and will continue to do so.

         D. ...


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