Atty. Francis L. Holland
During the hearing, prosecutors introduced several recordings of telephone conversations between Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, made while he was in jail. In one such recording, they can be heard speaking cryptically about a second passport in his possession. Zimmerman was ordered by the judge to hand over his passport so he couldn’t flee the country, but Zimmerman applied for a second passport after the shooting, saying his first one had been stolen. (Emphasis added.)
Whoever willfully and knowingly makes any false statement in an application for passport with intent to induce or secure the issuance of a passport under the authority of the United States,either for his own use or the use of another, contrary to the lawsregulating the issuance of passports or the rules prescribed pursuant to such laws; or
Whoever willfully and knowingly uses or attempts to use, orfurnishes to another for use any passport the issue of which wassecured in any way by reason of any false statement - Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 25 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate an act ofinternational terrorism (as defined in section 2331 of this title)), 20 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate adrug trafficking crime (as defined in section 929(a) of this title)), 10 years (in the case of the first or second such offense, if the offense was not committed to facilitate such an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime), or 15 years (in the case of any other offense), or both. (Emphasis added.)
Section 1542 proscribes "willfully and knowingly" making a false statement in a passport application. The crime is complete when one makes a statement one knows is untrue to procure a passport. See Browder v. United States, 312 U.S. 335, 337, 61 S.Ct. 599, 601, 85 L.Ed. 862 (1941); United States v. Winn, 577 F.2d 86, 91 (9th Cir.1978). Good or bad motives are irrelevant. Browder, 312 U.S. at 337-38, 61 S.Ct. 599, 601, 85 L.Ed. 862; United States v. Washington, 705 F.2d 489, 493-94 (D.C.Cir.1983).
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Section 1542 of Title 18 proscribes both false statements made to obtain a passport, and use of any passport so obtained.The false statement against which this section is most commonly used is the use of a false name in obtaining a passport. United States citizens attempt to obtain passports using false names in order to conceal criminal activity. A problem of proof can arise when the passport applicant has routinely used aliases and now seeks to obtain a passport in one of those aliases. See, e.g., United States v. O'Bryant, 775 F.2d 1528 (11th Cir.1985); United States v. Cox, 593 F.2d 46 (6th Cir.1979); United States v. Wasman, 641 F.2d 326 (5th Cir.1981), aff'd, 464 U.S. 932 (1984).
Browder v. United States, 312 U.S. 335 (1941), is the leading case on use of a passport, the application for which contained a false statement. Browder obtained a passport in his real name, but in the portion of the application asking when his last passport was obtained, he falsely stated, "none." This statement was false because he had previously obtained a passport in a false name. He then used the new passport to enter the United States. The Supreme Court upheld Browder's conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1542 for innocent use of a passport secured by a false statement. See 53 A.L.R.Fed. 507.
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) amended this statute to provide for enhanced penalties if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime.[cited in USAM 9-73.600]