Court of Federal Claims Cannot Overturn a Criminal Conviction
To the extent a plaintiff attempts to use a suit to challenge his criminal conviction in the Court of Federal Claims, that court lacks jurisdiction to hear it, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently held.
In 2012, an Immigration Court judge granted Mohammed Ahmed Hassan Omran a voluntary departure from the United States. But Mr. Omran did not depart and he was later arrested and convicted for failing to depart the United States in district court.
Claiming his Sixth Amendment rights were violated when he was denied the right to call witnesses in his own defense at trial before the district court, Mr. Omran filed a complaint with the Court of Federal Claims. The Court of Federal Claims dismissed Mr. Omran’s suit for lack of jurisdiction, and Mr. Omran appealed to the Federal Circuit.
On appeal, Mr. Omran argued that the Tucker Act provided jurisdiction for the Court of Federal Claims to hear his suit, because his suit arose under the Constitution. But as the Federal Circuit noted in its opinion, the Tucker Act does not create causes of action or a right to monetary relief. To invoke the jurisdiction of the Court of Federal Claims, a claim must be one that is created by a provision allowing recovery of monetary damages, and the Sixth Amendment does not itself create a right to recover money damages.
Even if Mr. Omran’s claim was considered as a monetary claim based on unjust conviction, the Federal Circuit held, Mr. Omran’s appeal fails because he did not plead or show that his conviction had been reversed or set aside on the ground that he is not guilty of the offense of which he was convicted. In short, Mr. Omran was required to get his conviction overturned elsewhere before he could bring a monetary claim in the Court of Federal Claims for wrongful conviction.
The Federal Circuit thus denied Mr. Omran’s appeal and affirmed the Court of Federal Claims dismissal of his suit.
Read the full case: Omran v. United States
This case law update was written by James P. Garay Heelan, associate attorney, Shaw Bransford & Roth, PC.
For thirty years, Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C. has provided superior representation on a wide range of federal employment law issues, from representing federal employees nationwide in administrative investigations, disciplinary and performance actions, and Bivens lawsuits, to handling security clearance adjudications and employment discrimination cases.
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