Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Betancourth: Subject Matter Jurisdiction Can't be Waived by Guilty Plea

In U.S. v. Betancourth, No. 07-14710 (Jan. 13, 2009), the Court held that a defendant cannot waive, by pleading guilty, an objection to the district court’s subject matter jurisdiction under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Law, 46 U.S.C. § 70501. However, the Court held that under the facts presented – certifications from the United States Department of State stating that the government of Ecuador had waived objection to the enforcement of United States law against the apprehended vessels – jurisdiction existed.