Archive | extraterritorial jurisdiction

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

In an Extraterritorial Duel of Canons, the Aversion to Superfluity Trumps Expressio Unius and the Presumption against Extraterritoriality.

Last week, the Second Circuit decided United States v. Epskamp, No. 15-2028.   The Court affirmed the district court’s decisions regarding the extraterritoriality of 21 U.S.C. 959.  The appeal followed a trial in front of Judge Sullivan and concerned the use of an aircraft registered in the United States as part of a scheme to fly drugs from the Dominican Republic to Amsterdam.

Section 959(b) makes it unlawful for any person on board an aircraft registered in the United States to (1) manufacture or distribute a controlled substance or (2) possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute.  [NB:  the statute has since been amended, so that the old section (b) is now section (c) and the old section (c) is now section (d).  Because the amendments did not result in substantive changes, the Court referred to the old version of the statute.]  Section 959(c), entitled “Acts committed outside territorial …

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Monday, October 10th, 2011

A Bridge To FARC

United States v. al Kassar, No. 09-1051-cr (2d Cir. September 21, 2011) (Jacobs, Hall, CJJ, Scheindlin, DJ)

Defendants were convicted of various terrorism offenses in connection with a sting operation in which a CI, who was working for the DEA, introduced al Kassar to two undercover DEA agents posing as members of FARC, the left-wing Colombian guerrilla group. The defendants agreed to supply FARC with weapons, including surface to air missiles (“SAM”s) to use against United States military personnel and equipment in Colombia.

All of the criminal conduct occurred outside of the United States – mostly in Lebanon, Spain, Bulgaria and Romania. The district court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss the indictment on jurisdictional grounds, and in this opinion, the circuit affirmed.

There is a presumption that acts of Congress do not apply extraterritorially, but even if the statute is not explicit, an intent can be inferred from the …

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