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Title 18

From my e-mail today...

From: Larry Becraft

*Since Congress met in 1789, it has passed large numbers of laws setting forth federal crimes and giving certain federal courts jurisdiction to
try such cases. It is not the purpose of this note to provide a comprehensive outline of such, but only to address in summary fashion that popular contention that 18 USC 3231 does not exist, or that there is no such existing law granting jurisdiction over crimes to federal courts.

On Sept 24, 1789, Congress adopted an act creating the federal courts. See 1 Stat 73. In § 9 of that act, Congress provided: "That the district courts shall have, exclusively of the courts of the several States, cognizance of all crimes and offences that shall be cognizable under the authority of the United States, committed within their respective districts * * *". That page, 1 Stat. 76, is attached.

Omitting intervening laws, when the Revised Statutes of 1873 were enacted, Title XIII, § 563 provided: "SEC. 563. The district courts shall have jurisdiction as follows: First. Of all crimes and offenses cognizable under the authority of the United States, committed within their respective districts," which is also attached hereto.

In 1909, Congress engaged in a comprehensive revision of the federal criminal laws and provided as follows in §340 of that act: "SEC. 340. The crimes and offenses defined in this Title shall be cognizable in the circuit and district courts of the United States," which page is also attached hereto.

In 1911, Congress enacted a revision of the federal laws regarding the federal courts, and in § 24 of that act, the district courts were given jurisdiction of "all crimes and offenses cognizable under the authority of the United States." The relevant page from that act is attached.

In 1926, Congress adopted a law to create the US Code, and the titles we have today have their origins in this law. The first version of the US Code (in 1 volume) is posted on Jon Roland's website.

In 1948, Congress decided to enact Title 18 into positive law. If 18 USC 3231 was not valid because title 18 was not legally adopted in 1948, then the prior sections providing jurisdiction to federal district courts of federal crimes would now become effective again.

This whole contention about the failure to adopt 18 USC I simply a whole lotta smoke with no substance.