Roman Seleznev, the accused Russian hacker, sits in a cell in the US Territory of Guam,while his attorneys fight his removal to District Court in the State of Washington, where he faces major felony charges. He also has Federal criminal charges pending against him in Nevada. The defendant's attorneys have made serious accusations against the US Secret Service, regarding the circumstances surrounding his detention, and transport to Guam. Though most Federal decisions do not inquire into how a defendant was brought before the Court, there are some decisions where a defendant did receive relief for constitutional violations.
Seleznev's attorneys have filed a Motion for Discharge and Release, pursuant to Federal Criminal Rule 12(b)(3)(A). Their accompanying memorandum of law asserts:
(1) The Guam District Court lacks jurisdiction over Seleznev, because his abduction by us agents, in the Maldives, constitutes Outrageous Governmental Misconduct.
(2) The methods through which the US Government secured the defendant's presence violates due process, as well as the extradition law of the Maldives, which requires that the Court divest itself of jurisdiction over his person.
(3) Extraterritorial abduction violates customary international law.
(4) Alternatively, the Court should dismiss all the pending criminal charges, to implement a remedy for the violations, to preserve judicial integrity, and to deter future similar illegal conduct.
The US Government has responded; it its rebuttal, it states that the Rule 5 Identity Hearing, on confirming whether the detainee is the indicted Roman Seleznev, which is a removal proceeding, to decide whether to transfer him to the State of Washington for trial, limits the Guam Court's jurisdiction to the sole issue of identity for transfer. It is further suggested that only the District Court in Washington has jurisdiction over the discharge motion.
The reply of the defendant's counsel: Jurisdiction is a threshold issue. It is fundamental and primary, and cannot be deferred for a transferee court.
There are several issues of fact, regarding the circumstances of the defendant's detention, transport, and arrival in Guam, all of which have been raised by defense counsel, and which should be resolved, but whether this will occur now, or at the trial court in Washington, is now up to a Federal Judge in Guam. We shall continue to monitor this case, and update our readers on further rulings of the Court.