United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
Roderick C. Young, United States Magistrate Judge.
Jon Ransone, a Virginia state prisoner proceeding pro
se, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254 (hereinafter, "§ 2254 Petition, " ECF No.
3) challenging his conviction in the Circuit Court of the
City of Virginia Beach (hereinafter, "Circuit
Court") for possession of a firearm by a convicted
felon. For the reasons set forth below, the § 2254
Petition will be DENIED.
Pertinent Procedural History
March 23, 2010, Ransone was found guilty in the Circuit Court
of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Commonwealth v. Ransone, No. CR10-0053, at 1 (Va.
Cir. Ct. Aug. 12, 2010). The Circuit Court sentenced Ransone
to five years of imprisonment with two years suspended.
Id. at 2.
order entered on October 14, 2015, the Circuit Court found
that Ransone had violated the terms of his suspended sentence
and ordered him to serve six months of imprisonment. (Mem.
Supp. Mot. Dismiss ¶ 5, ECF No. 12; § 2254 Pet. 1.)
November 4, 2015, Ransone filed with this Court his §
2254 Petition on the standardized forms. In his § 2254
Petition, Ransone demands relief upon the following grounds:
Claim One "The Thirteenth Amendment Citizenship. I am a
Moorish American, one of nationality, under the common law,
the law of the land." (§ 2254 Pet.
Claim Two "Fourteenth Amendment, due process. Violation
of due process of law -trial held in admiralty, not common
law jurisdiction. No delegated authority." (Id.
Claim Three "Fourth Amendment - unlawful seizure, search
of my body. I was kidnapped for accusations of a corporate
citizen without a proper warrant." (Id. at 9.)
Claim Four "USC TITLE 18 - Part 1 >Chapter 13 >
§ 241 and § 242. Conspiracy against rights and
deprivation of rights under color of law." (Id.
moved to dismiss on the grounds that, inter alia,
Ransone's claims were unexhausted and/or defaulted.
Nevertheless, "[a]n application for a writ of habeas
corpus may be denied on the merits, notwithstanding the
failure of the applicant to exhaust the remedies available in
the courts of the State." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2).
Additionally, "federal courts are not required to
address a procedural-default issue before deciding against
the petitioner on the merits." Hudson v. Jones,
351 F.3d 212, 215 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Lambrix v.
Singletary, 520 U.S. 518, 525 (1997)). Given the utter
lack of substance of Ransone's claims, the Court will
simply reject them on the merits. See Raines v. United
States, 423 F.2d 526, 529 (4th Cir. 1970) (citations
omitted) ("If the petition be frivolous or patently
absurd on its face, entry of dismissal may be made on the
court's own motion without even the necessity of
requiring a responsive pleading from the government.").
order to obtain federal habeas relief, at a minimum, Ransone
must demonstrate that "he is in custody in violation of
the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United
States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). As discussed below,
for the majority of Ransone's claims, it is difficult to
discern how the Constitution is implicated, much less
violated, by the facts he recites. See Sanders v. United
States, 373 U.S. 1, 19 (1963) (finding denial of habeas
action appropriate where it "stated only bald legal
conclusions with no supporting factual allegations").
example, with respect to Claim One, Ransone states, "The
Thirteenth Amendment Citizenship. I am a Moorish American,
one of nationality, under the common law, the law of the
land." (§ 2254 Pet. 6.) The Thirteenth Amendment
provides in pertinent part: "Neither slavery nor
involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist
within the United States, or any place subject to their
jurisdiction." U.S. Const, amend. XIII, § 1.
Ransone provides no facts that indicate that he was enslaved.
Moreover, as this Court previously stated, an
individual's "purported status as a Moorish-American
citizen does not enable him to violate . .. state laws
without consequence. Thus, the argument that a person is
entitled to ignore the laws of the [Commonwealth of Virginia]
by claiming membership in the Moorish-American nation is
without merit...." Metaphyzic El-Ectromagnetic