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CRM 500-999

668. Limited Criminal Jurisdiction Over Property Held Proprietorially

Although it has been continually emphasized in the preceding material that the United States may not exercise criminal jurisdiction over property that it holds only in a proprietorial capacity, it would be more accurate to state that the United States is not wholly without the power to protect its property and control its use. State jurisdiction "does not take from Congress the power to control their occupancy and use, to protect them from trespass and injury and to prescribe the conditions upon which others may obtain rights in them, even though this may involve the exercise in some measure of what is commonly known as the police power." See Utah Power & Light Co. v. United States, 243 U.S. 389, 405 (1917) (finding constitutional authority in the Property Clause, Art. IV, Sec. 3, cl. 1).

There are a number of specific statutes that are applicable independently of 18 U.S.C. 7(3) and the acquisition of legislative jurisdiction. Included among these statutes is 18 U.S.C. § 1382 (entering military, naval or Coast Guard property). See United States v. Holmes, 414 F. Supp. 831, 837 n. 9 (D.Md. 1976)(finding constitutional authority for 18 U.S.C. § 1382 in the Property Clause and/or the military power clauses, Const., Art. I, Sec. 8, cls. 12 and 14, aided by the Necessary and Proper Clause, Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 18).

On occasion, courts have upheld convictions for trespass and minor police offenses that violated regulations made criminal by statute when the offenses were committed on land and facilities held proprietorially finding the authority to punish the offense in the Property Clause and/or in the specific constitutional provision authorizing the performance of the function. See, e.g., United States v. Seward, 687 F.2d 1270, 1277 (10th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1147 (1983) (conviction for trespass on NRC facility upheld on basis of Property Clause); United States v. Gliatta, 580 F.2d 156 (5th Cir. 1978) (conviction of traffic offenses on postal facility upheld on basis of Property Clause and/or postal power, Art. 1, Sec. 8, cl. 7, aided by the Necessary and Proper Clause).

[cited in JM 9-20.100]