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Archive for the month “April, 2012”

I AM NOT CRAZY I’M A Moorish American!!




LILIANA ARRAMBIDE, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 10-3535.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Submitted March 28, 2012.

Decided April 3, 2012.

Before FRANK H. EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, RICHARD A. POSNER and DIANE S. SYKES, Circuit Judges.

To be cited only in accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1.
Liliana Arrambide pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining a house for the purpose of distributing controlled substances. See 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(1). She was sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment and two years’ supervised release. She filed a notice of appeal, but her appointed counsel contends that the appeal is frivolous and seeks permission to withdraw under Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967). Arrambide did not respond to counsel’s motion to withdraw. See CIR. R. 51(b). We confine our review to the potential issues identified in counsel’s facially adequate brief. See United States v. Schuh, 289 F.3d 968, 973-74 (7th Cir. 2002).
As part of her plea agreement, Arrambide admitted that she allowed drug trafficker Lutgardo Chavez, Jr., and his accomplices to use her home for the storage and preparation for sale of the controlled substances cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. She stipulated that her crime involved 92 kilograms of cocaine and 4.5 kilograms of fentanyl. The probation officer calculated her guidelines imprisonment range at 108 to 135 months based on her criminal history category of I and total offense level of 31 (which reflects a base offense level of 33, see U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(a)(3)(B)(ii), (c)(2) (2008), with reductions of two levels each for the “safety valve,” 18 U.S.C. § 3553(f); U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(11) (2008), and for being a minor participant in the offense, id. § 2B1.2(b), plus a two-level increase for obstructing justice by flushing some of the drugs down the toilet, id. § 3C1.1).
Before sentencing, Arrambide invoked her right to self-representation. See Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). The district court found that she was competent to represent herself but tried to discourage her from doing so by describing the pitfalls of going pro se. Arrambide was unmoved. At sentencing she made just one argument: Because she belongs to the Moorish Science Temple of America—a religious organization that teaches that United States courts do not have jurisdiction over its members—the district judge lacked the power to sentence her. The court rejected this contention and encouraged her to argue for a particular sentence or to ask for leniency, but she declined.
In his Anders submission, appellate counsel briefly discusses Arrambide’s guilty plea but notes that she does not want to challenge the plea on appeal. Thus counsel appropriately refrains from discussing the adequacy of the plea colloquy or the voluntariness of the plea. See United States v. Knox, 287 F.3d 667, 671-72 (7th Cir. 2002).
Counsel does address whether Arrambide could raise a nonfrivolous challenge to her prison sentence but concludes that the answer is no. We agree. Counsel has not identified any potential error in the guidelines calculations, all of which Arrambide agreed to as part of her plea agreement. (The district court applied the 2008 guidelines rather than the 2009 guidelines, which were in effect when Arrambide was sentenced, but the oversight was harmless because the relevant provisions were not amended by the 2009 guidelines, though some section numbers were changed.See United States v. Viemont, 91 F.3d 946, 948 n.4 (7th Cir. 1996).) Arrambide’s sentence of 108 months falls at the bottom of the imprisonment range and enjoys a presumption of reasonableness, see Rita v. United States, 551 U.S. 338, 350-51 (2007); United States v. Hurn, 496 F.3d 784, 790 (7th Cir. 2007). Counsel has not found any basis to challenge that presumption.

We GRANT counsel’s motion to withdraw and DISMISS the appeal.

Fake Moorish Scientists Driving Courts Nuts

Fake Moorish Scientists Driving Courts Nuts

Saying you follow the Moorish Science faithhas become the new “I’m 1/16th Cherokee,” at least among financial fraudsters. All across our great, greedy nation, people are falsely claiming Moorish Scientist status in order to file phony legal documents, avoid paying taxes, and declare one’s self above the law, among other illegal things.

Why do the fake Moorish Scientists believe such tactics will work in their favor? Apparently because it sometimes does work, or at least does them no harm; some states don’t recognize filing fake documents as a crime. And many jurisdictions are legally required to file their phony papers, even if the content of such documents is, as ABC reports, “often outlandish and includes strange punctuation and capitalization or lengthy digressions about the 14th Amendment, the Constitution or maritime law.”

Strange punctuation? Rambling screeds about the Constitution? If this all sounds suspiciously Tea-Partyesque, well, you might not be off the mark:

“These are people who engage in the most bizarre leaps of logic. They literally believe that if you lowercase the ‘u’ in the phrase United States, you will break the bonds of government tyranny and become a free man,” said [Mark] Potok, [an] expert with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Unsurprisingly, for-real Moorish Scientists aren’t very pleased by their sudden popularity with the fakester crowd. In a statement to the Charlotte Observer newspaper, the Moorish Science Temple of America—which is based in Charlotte—rails against all the recent crime-oriented trademark dilution afflicting their tiny, somewhat splintered sect, founded in 1913 by North Carolina native Timothy Drew:

“Today, some people are under the misconception and erroneous notion that the Moorish Science Temple of America Inc. is a place where one can learn how to forgo their civic duty paying taxes … and assert their so-called sovereignty,” the statement said. “We assertively declare that the Moorish Science Temple of America Inc. is in no form or fashion a Sovereign Citizen Movement or a Tax Protestor Movement; consequently, our teachings are diametrically opposed to that ideology.”

Fake Moorish Scientists Driving Courts NutsWhat do Moorish Scientists believe in, if not wildly distorted interpretations of the Constitution? One belief that followerssubscribe to is that African-Americans are descendants of “Asiatic Moors” or Moroccans; members commonly add either “Bey” or “El” to their last names to denote their heritage. Their holy book, the Holy Koran (also called the Circle 7 Koran), follows a set of principles heavily influenced by Islam but also drawing from other faiths. Temple leaders like Charlotte-based Christopher Bennett-Bey, pictured above, go by the job title “grand sheikh” and, like other Moorish Scientist men, wear fezzes; women wear turbans.

If your crazy uncle who stockpiles ammunition in his basement starts wearing a fez on Tax Day instead of a Paul Revere hat, at least now you’ll know why.

[ABC NewsCharlotte ObserverImage of Christopher Bennett-Bey via AP]

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