United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER DISMISSING MOTION FOR POST-CONVICTION
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
18, 2018, the Court sentenced defendant Digby Kerr
principally to a term of 12 months and one day of
imprisonment following his guilty plea to a charge of
interstate wire fraud. Doc. #1-1; United States of
America v. Digby Kerr, 18-cr-55(JAM) (D. Conn. 2018). As
part of his plea agreement, Kerr admitted that he owned and
operated a business involving the brokerage of shipping
contracts and that he fraudulently failed to remit more than
$600, 000 that several manufacturers gave to him with the
understanding that Kerr would use the money to pay trucking
companies for the shipping of the manufacturers' goods.
See Doc. #5 at 10-11 in United States of America
v. Digby Kerr, 18-cr-55(JAM). Kerr is now serving his
sentence at FPC Montgomery in Alabama.
December 11, 2018, Kerr filed a pro se motion for
post-conviction relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Doc. #1. Kerr argues that his wire fraud conviction is
invalid because the Government did not suffer an
“injury in fact” in order to have standing to
prosecute him in federal court under Article III of the U.S.
Court is required upon the filing of a motion for
post-conviction relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to
promptly examine it and to dismiss the motion if it
“plainly appears” to lack merit. See
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings Before
the United States District Courts. I have now conducted this
initial review and will dismiss this action on grounds that
Kerr's motion lacks any arguable basis in law.
III of the Constitution limits the jurisdiction of the
federal courts to “Cases” and
“Controversies, ” including “all Cases . .
. arising under . . . the Laws of the United States.”
U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. “This provision
embraces alike civil and criminal cases arising under the
Constitution and laws, ” and “a case arising
under the Constitution and laws of the United States may as
well arise in a criminal prosecution as in a civil
suit.” Tennessee v. Davis, 100 U.S. 257, 264
(1879). Congress in turn has granted the federal district
courts with original jurisdiction over all crimes against the
laws of the United States. See 18 U.S.C. §
ordinary course, a party who brings an action in federal
court must have case-or-controversy “standing” to
assert a claim. Specifically, “a plaintiff must show
(1) an injury in fact, (2) a sufficient causal connection
between the injury and the conduct complained of, and (3) a
likelihood that the injury will be redressed by a favorable
decision.” Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus,
573 U.S. 149, 157-58 (2014) (internal brackets and quotations
Kerr's fraud involved monetary loss only to private
parties and not to the Government, Kerr believes that the
Government lacked standing to prosecute him. This argument
overlooks the principle that, apart from any pecuniary or
other quantifiable harm that may result to the Government
when a defendant violates a federal criminal law, the
violation of a federal criminal law is itself an injury to
the very sovereignty of the United States and sufficient to
allow a criminal prosecution in a federal court. See
Vermont Agency of Nat. Res. v. U.S. ex rel. Stevens, 529
U.S. 765, 771 (2000) (noting it to be “beyond
doubt” that a complaint alleging a violation of a
federal law amounts to an “injury to its sovereignty
arising from violation of its laws (which suffices to support
a criminal lawsuit by the Government)” as distinct from
“the proprietary injury resulting from the alleged
fraud”). Thus, because “[a]s sovereign, the
United States has standing to prosecute violations of valid
criminal statutes, ” the “contention is
frivolous” that the Government lacks standing to
prosecute a federal crime if the defendant “did not
inflict the ‘concrete' and ‘imminent'
injury in fact on the United States that Article III requires
civil litigants to demonstrate to have their claims
adjudicated in federal court.” United States v.
Daniels, 48 Fed.Appx. 409, 418 (3d Cir. 2002) (per
curiam); Rios v. United States, 2016 WL
3702966, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. 2016) (same).
Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES the motion for
post-conviction relief (Doc. #1) on the ground that it
plainly lacks merit. The Court DENIES Kerr's motion to
dismiss (Doc. #4) as moot in light of the Court's sua
sponte dismissal of the motion for post-conviction
relief. Because Kerr has not made a substantial showing of
the denial of a constitutional right, see 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c)(2), no certificate ...