United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PETITIONER'S MOTION TO
COMPEL (DKT. NO. 511)
KATHERINE A. ROBERTSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Evripides Georgiadis (“Petitioner”), along with
three other individuals, was charged by indictment with
fourteen counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 1343 and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. In a superseding
indictment, Petitioner was charged with a sixteenth count of
conspiracy to commit money laundering. Petitioner, a Greek
national, was arrested at a border crossing in Croatia. The
United States requested his extradition for trial on the
charges in the superseding indictment and in December 2012,
the Croatian Minister of Justice authorized his extradition.
Petitioner's trial began on April 22, 2014. At the close
of the government's case, it dismissed three of the wire
fraud charges. On May 14, 2014, the jury convicted the
defendant on the remaining thirteen counts. The District
Court sentenced Petitioner to 102 months of imprisonment. On
appeal, Petitioner's convictions and his sentence were
affirmed in all respects. See United States v.
Georgiadis, 819 F.3d 4, 7-8 (1st Cir. 2016).
has now filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate,
set aside, or correct his sentence. In connection with his
§ 2255 petition, Petitioner sent a letter to an
Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted his case
requesting a lengthy list of documents. The court has treated
this letter as a motion to compel the government to produce
discovery and referred the motion to the undersigned for
decision (Dkt. Nos. 511, 513). For the reasons set forth
below, the court DENIES Petitioner's motion to compel
28 U.S.C. § 2255 sets forth four grounds upon which a
federal prisoner may base a claim for relief: (1) “that
the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or
laws of the United States;” (2) “that the court
was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence;” (3)
“that the sentence was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law;” and (4) that the sentence “is
otherwise subject to collateral attack.”
Knight v. United States, 37 F.3d 769, 772 (1st Cir.
1994) (quoting Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424,
426-27 (1962)). “A habeas petitioner, unlike the usual
civil litigant in federal court, is not entitled to discovery
as a matter of ordinary course.” Bracy v.
Gramley, 520 U.S. 899, 904 (1997). “Rather, the
petitioner must show ‘good cause' for discovery,
meaning that he must present ‘specific allegations'
that give the court a ‘reason to believe that the
petitioner may, if the facts are fully developed, be able to
demonstrate that he is . . . entitled to relief.'”
United States v. Castillo, Cr. No. 08-10122-MLW,
2018 WL 1542146, at *4 (D. Mass. Mar. 29, 2018) (quoting
Bracey, 520 U.S. at 908-09); see also Rule
6(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings (a party
requesting discovery in connection with a § 2255
petition “must provide reasons for the request”).
“Generalized statements regarding the possibility of
the existence of discoverable material will not be sufficient
to establish the requisite ‘good cause.'”
Velazquez-Rivera v. United States, 54 F.Supp.3d 168,
170 (D.P.R. 2014) (citing Pizzuti v. United States,
809 F.Supp.2d 164, 175-76 (S.D.N.Y. 2011)). Rather, a
petitioner bears the burden of showing that the requested
information is material, meaning that there is a reasonable
possibility that, had the information been disclosed, the
result of the trial would have been different. Id.
(quoting Murray v. United States, 704 F.3d 23, 30
(1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Smith v. Cain, 565 U.S. 73,
75 (2012) (quoting Cone v. Bell, 556 U.S. 449, 470
(2009))). The scope and extent of any such discovery is
committed to the discretion of the District Court.
Castillo, 2018 WL 1542146, at *4 (citing
Bracey, 520 U.S. at 909; Rule 6(a) of the Rules
Governing Section 2255 Proceedings). Because Petitioner is
self-represented, he is entitled to a certain amount of
leeway in the interpretation of his documents. See, e.g.,
Castillo, 2018 WL 1542146, at *3. Nonetheless,
“[t]he ‘right of self-representation is not
‘a license not to comply with relevant rules of
procedural and substantive law.'” Andrews v.
Bechtel Power Corp., 780 F.2d 124, 140 (1st Cir. 1985)
(quoting Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 835
(1975)), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1172 (1986); see
also Eagle Eye Fishing Corp. v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce,
20 F.3d 503, 506 (1st Cir. 1994).
Petitioner's letter to the government seeking production
of documents, he has not set forth any cause for his requests
or explained how the documents are material in his case. The
court reviewed Petitioner's Memorandum of Law in Support
of Motion Under § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct
Sentence (Dkt. No. 510) as well as the government's
opposition thereto (Dkt. No. 519) to place Petitioner's
document requests in context, and, to the extent possible
given difficulties in interpretation, has grouped the
requests by category based on the list, the content of
Petitioner's memorandum in support of his § 2255
petition, and the government's opposition.
Documents Related to Allegedly Unlawful
obvious that a majority of the documents Petitioner requests
are related to an attempt to argue that he was not lawfully
extradited to stand trial in this country on the ground that
there was no valid extradition treaty between the United
States and Croatia. Petitioner argues that, in the absence of
a valid treaty, the District Court lacked jurisdiction to try
him. In the court's judgment, Petitioner's requests
at items numbered 1-3, 6-8, 10-38, 42-44, and 57-64 are
related to this contention.
several reasons, the court denies Petitioner's motion to
compel the government to produce documents related to his
extradition arguments. First, Petitioner raised his
contentions or variations of his contentions about illegal
extradition on appeal and they were rejected by the United
States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. See
Georgiadis, 819 F.3d at 9-10 (“'[i]f
[Petitioner] falls within the treaty's scope, his
apprehension and return were entirely proper. If he falls
without the treaty's scope, the Ker rule makes
his jurisdictional claim groundless.'”) (quoting
Autry v. Wiley, 440 F.2d 799, 801 (1st Cir. 1971)).
To the extent Petitioner seeks documents to support claims he
raised and lost in his direct appeal, he is barred from
relitigating those claims in his § 2255 petition.
See United States v. Burdulis, 209 F.Supp.3d 415,
426 (D. Mass. 2016) (quoting United States v. Doyon,
16 Fed.Appx. 6, 9 (1st Cir. 2001)), and is not entitled to
compel production of supporting documents. To the extent
Petitioner now seeks to vary the arguments he previously
raised in support of a claim of unlawful extradition, he is
required to show cause for the failure to raise these issues
in his direct appeal and actual prejudice. See Id.
Petitioner's rote invocation of ineffective assistance of
counsel is unpersuasive. He ignores the breadth and basis of
the First Circuit's ruling on his extradition argument on
direct appeal. Based on the record before it, the First
Circuit concluded that Croatia had authorized
Petitioner's extradition for the offenses with which he
was charged. Georgiadis, 819 F.3d at 9 (“[T]he
decision of the Croatian Ministry of Justice . . . clearly
authorized [Petitioner's] extradition on all counts
charged in the indictment.”). The First Circuit further
held that as long as Croatia intended him to stand trial for
the offenses for which he was tried - and it plainly did -
his challenges to the bases for his extradition failed as a
matter of law. Id. at 9-10 (citing Ker v.
Illinois, 119 U.S. 436 (1886); Autry, 440 F.2d
at 801). This was so because even if the terms of the treaty
or treaties on which the United States and Croatia relied in
extraditing Petitioner did not authorize his extradition,
nonetheless “'neither the method by which an
accused is brought before a criminal court, nor the legality
of his forcible seizure or arrest . . . nor his subsequent
forcible and illegal transportation and confinement are
material to the question of the jurisdiction of a criminal
court before whom he is present.'” Id. at
10 (quoting Autry, 440 F.2d at 801). In view of the
First Circuit's rulings, Petitioner has not shown that
there is a reasonable possibility that any of the documents
related to extradition whose production he seeks to compel
would have changed the outcome of his case or justify relief
under § 2255.
Petitioner does not grasp the limits on the government's
discovery obligations. “The government's
obligations under Brady only extend to information
in its possession, custody, or control.” United
States v. Hall, 434 F.3d 42, 55 (1st Cir. 2006) (citing
United States v. Josleyn, 206 F.3d 144, 153-54 (1st
Cir. 2000)). “While a prosecutor must disclose
information maintained by government agents even if the
prosecutor herself does not possess the information . . .
this duty does not extend to information possessed by
government agents not working with the prosecution.”
Id. (citing Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S.
263, 280 (1999); United States v. Bender, 304 F.3d
161, 164 (1st Cir. 2002)). Some of Petitioner's document
requests related to extradition seek documents that are not
records of the United States and, therefore, would not likely
be in the government's possession, custody, or control.
See, e.g., items numbered 32-34; 40-41, 45 in Docket
Entry 511. Some requests seek documents that may be in the
possession of the United States government, but likely are
not in the possession of the team that prosecuted this case
or of government agents that worked with the prosecution.
See, e.g., items numbered 10-16, 18-21, 24-31 in
Docket Entry 511.
short, Petitioner's requests for information related to
his renewed challenge to his extradition go far beyond what
the government was, or is, required to produce and Petitioner
has not established the materiality of these documents. For
these reasons, the court denies Petitioner's motion to
compel production of the ...