District Judge Valerie E. Caproni
Defendant moved to dismiss his indictment for one count of felon in possession of firearm, which defendant was charged with after Port Authority police officers pulled over his vehicle at the George Washington Bridge entrance and found a loaded handgun during a consented-to search. In support of his motion, defendant argued that venue was improper in the Southern District of New York. Defendant further moved to suppress the firearm, arguing that officers lacked probable cause to stop his vehicle. The court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss on venue grounds and therefore declined to reach the issue of the constitutionality of the traffic stop. The court ruled that venue was improper in the Southern District of New York because defendant was stopped immediately after passing through the George Washington Bridge toll booth while defendant was still in New Jersey. The court rejected the government’s assertion that plaintiff’s admitted intent to cross into New York meant that his possession of the weapon had an effect on the “commerce” of New York, noting that defendant’s charged offense merely criminalized possession, regardless of any effect on interstate commerce.