United States District Court, D. Colorado
JEFFREY T. MAEHR, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES, Defendant.
A. BRIMMER, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the magistrate judge's
Report and Recommendation on Plaintiff's Motion for
Summons of Grand Jury [Docket No. 26] entered on January 4,
2019, recommending the denial of plaintiff's Motion for
Summons of Grand Jury [Docket No. 24]. Docket No. 26 at 2.
Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Motion for
Summons of a Grand Jury Based on Standing Federal Law on
Grand Jury Contact [Docket No. 29] on January 11, 2019, which
the Court construes as objections to the magistrate
judge's recommendation. The United States filed a
response to plaintiff's objections on February 22, 2019.
Docket No. 43. Plaintiff then filed a reply. Docket No. 50.
Court will “determine de novo any part of the
magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly
objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). An objection is
proper if it is specific enough to enable the Court “to
focus attention on those issues - factual and legal - that
are at the heart of the parties' dispute.”
United States v. 2121 East 30th Street, 73
F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996). In light of plaintiff's
pro se status, the Court reviews his filings
liberally. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 n.3
(10th Cir. 1991).
recommendation, the magistrate judge found that the public
interest does not require convening a grand jury under Fed.
R. Crim. P. 6(a)(1) to investigate the IRS for collecting
income taxes and referring for prosecution those who fail to
pay income tax because those are not criminal acts. Docket
No. 26 at 1-2. Plaintiff argues that the magistrate judge
failed to address the “multiple standing statutes and
court precedent” that plaintiff cited in his motion.
Docket No. 29 at 2.
seeks the impaneling of a grand jury to investigate the IRS
for illegal taxation. Docket No. 24 at 3. The government
argues, and plaintiff agrees, that the requested relief is
“far beyond” the scope of his civil case. Docket
No. 43 at 1; Docket No. 50 at 2; see Winslow v.
Romer, 759 F.Supp. 670, 673 (D. Colo. 1991)
(“[C]riminal statutes cannot be enforced by civil
actions.”) (citing Bass Angler Sportsman Soc'y
v. United States Steel Corp., 324 F.Supp. 412, 415 (S.D.
Ala. 1971), aff'd, 447 F.2d 1304 (5th Cir.
1971)). Nevertheless, plaintiff contends that “there
must be some mechanism whereby the ‘private
citizen' can present criminal evidence to the Grand
Jury without being interfered with by defendant or the
courts.” Docket No. 50 at 5-6. He argues that private
citizens have a right to do so under the First Amendment,
which provides that “Congress shall make no law . . .
abridging . . .the right of the people . . . to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances.” U.S. Const.
amend. I. Plaintiff cites to no authority demonstrating that
this provision confers upon individuals the right to initiate
criminal proceedings. “[I]t is well-settled that a
private citizen does not have a constitutional right to bring
a criminal complaint against another individual.”
Price v. Hasly, 2004 WL 1305744, at *2 (W.D.N.Y.
June 8, 2004) (citing Leeke v. Timmerman, 454 U.S.
83 (1981)); Keyter v. 535 Members of 110th Cong.,
277 Fed.Appx. 825, 827 (10th Cir. 2008) (unpublished)
(“[A] private citizen has no standing to initiate
federal criminal prosecutions.”). Nor does this
provision confer the right of a citizen to present evidence
before a grand jury. “[A]n individual cannot bring
accusations before a grand jury unless invited to do so by
the prosecutor or the grand jury.” Application of
Wood, 833 F.2d 113, 116 (8th Cir. 1987). Plaintiff cannot
initiate a criminal investigation by filing a motion to
impanel a grand jury.
plaintiff cites no authority that permits the Court, in this
civil case, to impanel a grand jury to investigate alleged
criminal acts that plaintiff claims the IRS has committed.
The authorities plaintiff cites discuss the grand jury's
investigative powers generally or discuss federal courts'
authority to supervise grand juries. Docket No. 29 at 2;
see, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 3332(a) (”It shall
be the duty of each such grand jury impaneled within any
judicial district to inquire into offenses against the
criminal laws of the United States alleged to have been
committed within that district.”); Branzburg v.
Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 700 (1972) (discussing grand
jury's “broad” investigative power). These
authorities do not provide a basis to grant plaintiff's
does the Court have a statutory duty to inform a grand jury
of purported criminal offenses under 18 U.S.C. §
3332(a), as plaintiff suggests. Docket No. 29 at 4-5. This
statute requires a United States Attorney, upon receiving
information concerning an alleged criminal offense from any
person, to inform the grand jury of the alleged offense if so
requested by that person. 18 U.S.C. § 3332(a)
(“[A]lleged offenses may be brought to the attention of
the grand jury by the court or by any attorney appearing on
behalf of the United States for the presentation of evidence.
Any such attorney receiving information concerning such an
alleged offense from any other person shall, if requested by
such other person, inform the grand jury of such alleged
offense, the identity of such other person, and such
attorney's action or recommendation.”). It imposes
no duty on the Court to inform a grand jury of purported
criminal activity or authority to initiate a grand jury
investigation. “The commencement of a federal criminal
case by submission of evidence to a grand jury is ‘an
executive function within the exclusive prerogative of the
Attorney General.'” Baranoski v. U.S.
Attorney's Office, 215 Fed.Appx. 155, 156 (3d Cir.
2007) (quoting In re Persico, 522 F.2d 41, 54-55 (2d
Cir. 1975) (unpublished)); Maine v. Taylor, 477 U.S.
131, 136 (1986) (“[T]he United States and its attorneys
have the sole power to prosecute criminal cases in the
federal courts.”). “While district courts have
certain responsibilities in connection with selecting,
instructing, and supervising grand juries, . . . the
investigation of crime is primarily an executive function.
Nowhere in the Constitution or in the federal statutes has
the judicial branch been given power to monitor executive
investigations before a case or controversy arises.”
Jett v. Castaneda, 578 F.2d 842, 845 (9th Cir.
1978); see also Phillips v. City of Oakland, 2008 WL
1901005, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 28, 2008), aff'd
sub nom. Phillips v. City of Oakland, CA,
311 Fed.Appx. 14 (9th Cir. 2009) (unpublished) (“[T]o
enable individuals to present to a grand jury any complaint
of purported criminal activity would interfere with the
executive branch's prerogative to direct the enforcement
of the laws, and thus would not be an appropriate exercise of
has failed to establish that he has standing to initiate
criminal proceedings or that the Court has authority to do
so. Therefore, it is
that the Report and Recommendation on Plaintiff's Motion
for Summons of Grand Jury [Docket No. 26] is
ACCEPTED. It is further
that Plaintiff's Motion for Summons of Grand Jury [Docket
No. 24] is DENIED.
“When the public interest so
requires, the court must order that one or more grand juries
be summoned.” Fed. R Crim. P. 6(a)(1).
“A well-recognized exception to
this rule is that the court in its supervisory power can
authorize an individual to appear before a grand jury if it
feels that the circumstances require.” Wood,
833 F.2d at 116. The Court does ...