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Monday, 8 August 2011

Feds can put Bloods leader on trial

02:30 |

federal judge today shot down an argument from the leader of all Bloods street gangs in New York City that the federal government has no authority to try him on drug trafficking and weapons charges.

Ronald Herron, who calls himself "Ra Diggs" and dabbles in rap music, claimed he is not bound by federal law.

"I am not a party to ... the Constitution of the United States of America," Herron had written to the judge.

But today Brooklyn federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis said he was not persuaded.

"I am denying your motion in its entirety," the judge told the gangster.

Herron - who could face the death penalty for allegedly unleashing a reign of terror over several city housing projects - had argued that he is a “sovereign inhabitant” not subject to federal jurisdiction.

He also made a contradictory argument that he’s governed only by the US Constitution and no other laws passed since the Founding Fathers penned that original document.

He "appears to contest the authority of the United States of America,” Assistant US Attorney Carter Burwell told judge when he argued against Herron's motion.

Herron’s philosophy includes concepts espoused by certain grass-roots political movements in the western US, which Constitutional law experts say is a “fascinating” development.

“Surprisingly, some of the things he says here are popular with white supremacist groups,” said Larry Solum, a professor at Georgetown University’s law school.

Herron’s challenge also uses “similar ideas to those associated with extremist and fringe movements,” such as the Patriot movement and militia groups," said Solum, a constitutional scholar.

It appears to be a growing trend - other Bloods gang members have made similar arguments, officials say.

Herron, a self-styled gangster who calls himself "The Big Homie," was busted by the Drug Enforcement Administration last October after a four-year joint probe involving more than 65 NYPD undercover drug purchases.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors say he threatened the police, vowed online to "turn the pigs kids into" orphans, and issued warnings against snitching.

He’s carried sub-machine guns, strapped on bulletproof vests, and authorities believe he's responsible for ordering murders and intimidating witnesses that doomed one homicide prosecution in New York state court.

The judge said he would consider another argument that Herron's made to dismiss his defense attorney and represent himself at trial.

Herron, who is not an attorney, also asked the judge to reconsider his arguments challenging federal authority before he was led from the courtroom by US Marshals.


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