District Court Rejects Fogle’s ‘Sovereign’ Challenge

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Olivia Covington for www.theindianalawyer.com

Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle will continue to serve his nearly 15-year prison term for multiple child pornography charges after a district court judge struck down his “sovereign” pro se motion challenging her subject matter jurisdiction as frivolous.

Fogle pleaded guilty in 2015 to two criminal charges against him – conspiracy to distribute/receive child pornography and distribution/receipt of child pornography, and traveling and attempting to travel in interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. Fogle, who was then represented by counsel, was sentenced to 188 months in prison. He appealed, arguing his above-guidelines sentence was improper, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence in June 2016.

Fogle then filed a pro se motion to correct error, relying on a document filed with the court in which Frank Edwin Pate, an inmate in the same prison where Fogle is being detained, argued the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Fogle. Specifically, Pate wrote, “whether a judicial judgment is lawful depends on whether the sovereign has authority to render it.”

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt struck down the contention that she lacked subject matter jurisdiction in a succinct two-page order on Wednesday.

“If Fogle is now claiming to be ‘sovereign,’ the Seventh Circuit has rejected theories of individual sovereignty, immunity from prosecution, and their ilk,” Pratt wrote. “The Seventh Circuit has instructed that these theories should be rejected summarily, however they are presented.”

“Regardless of his theory, Fogle’s challenge of this Court’s jurisdiction is rejected and his Motion to Correct Clear Error Pursuant to Rule 52(b) … is denied,” she said.

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