Under 28 U.S.C. § 1355, the Federal district courts have jurisdiction over actions for the recovery of any penalties incurred under acts of Congress. A civil action for the recovery of a pecuniary penalty may, subject to the process provisions of Rule 4 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, be brought either in the district in which it accrues or in the one in which the defendant is found. See 28 U.S.C. § 1395(a). Since the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern actions brought pursuant to Pub.L. No. 89-64 (see Rules 1 and 81(a), Fed. R. Civ. P.; Rule 54(b)(5), Fed. R. Crim. P.; Reviser's Note, par. 4, under 28 U.S.C. § 2462), United States Attorneys should insure that civil complaints and summonses instead of information and warrants of arrest are employed in these cases. See Rules 3 and 4, Fed. R. Civ. P.
Section 1395(a) of Title 28 provides that a civil action for the recovery of a pecuniary penalty may be brought either in the district in which it accrues or in the one in which the defendant is found. Despite the language of this provision, the cases indicate that the process limitations contained in Rule 4, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, will govern the choice of forum in civil penalty "bomb hoax" cases, just as in ordinary litigation. As the Supreme Court said in Georgia v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 324 U.S. 439, 467 (1944), "(a)part from specific exceptions created by Congress the jurisdiction of the district courts is territorial." See Rule 4(f), Fed. R. Civ. P.; Ahrens v. Clark, 335 U.S. 188, 190 (1948). See also United States v. Congress Construction Co., 222 U.S. 199 (1911); Robertson v. Labor Board, 268 U.S. 619 (1924). Under Rule 4(e), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, in certain instances state "long-arm" statutes might per mit the commencement of a civil penalty suit in the district of the offense. Since only a few states have enacted such statutes, however, the interest in uniformity requires that all civil penalty actions under 18 U.S.C. § 35(a) be brought in the district in which the defendant resides. This policy comports with the general practice followed by other Divisions when enforcing civil sanctions.
[updated August 1999] [cited in JM 9-63.200; JM 9-63.251]