FRANCIS H. WOODWARD, Petitioner, Appellant,
UNITED STATES, Respondent, Appellee.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS Hon. Douglas P. Woodlock, U.S. District Judge
A. Singal, with whom Lauren E. Dwyer and Barrett & Singal
were on brief, for appellant.
M. Ralston, Attorney, Criminal Division, Appellate Section,
U.S. Department of Justice, with whom John P. Cronan, Acting
Assistant Attorney General, Matthew S. Miner, Deputy
Assistant Attorney General, and Jenny C. Ellickson, Attorney,
were on brief, for appellee.
Torruella, Selya, and Barron, Circuit Judges.
TORRUELLA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
1996, a jury convicted former Massachusetts state
representative Francis H. Woodward of, among other crimes,
honest-services mail and wire fraud. He appeals to us from
the district court's denial of his most recent petition
for a writ of error coram nobis. We conclude that the
district court did not err in denying that petition.
opinion addressing Woodward's direct appeal from his
conviction lays out the underlying facts in considerable
detail. See United States v.
Woodward (Woodward I), 149 F.3d 46, 51-54
(1st Cir. 1998). We provide only a brief recap of those facts
was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in
1977. Id. at 51. He served on the Joint Committee on
Insurance (the "Committee") from 1985 to 1991.
Id. During that time, William Sawyer served as the
senior legislative counsel in the Government Relations
Department of John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company
("Hancock"). Id. Sawyer was also an
"active participant" in the Life Insurance
Association of Massachusetts (LIAM), an industry association
-- of which Hancock was a member -- that employed lobbyists
"who worked on Massachusetts legislation."
Id. "From 1984 through 1992, Woodward accepted
in excess of $9, 000 in gratuities from Hancock and LIAM
through their lobbyists Sawyer and William F. Carroll, the
president of LIAM. Hancock provided the majority of this
largesse, at least $8, 740 in meals, rounds of golf, and
other entertainment." Id. at 52.
serving on the Committee, "Woodward's official
actions, for the most part, conformed with the way Sawyer and
Hancock wanted the recipient of their gratuities to conduct
himself." Id. at 53. Robert J. Smith, the
Committee's research director, testified that Woodward
was the "most pro-life-insurance-industry chair of the
[Committee] during Smith's tenure." Id.
During that time, "Woodward actively supported the
industry's position on most bills of importance to the
industry." Id. Woodward also neglected his
statutory duty to disclose gifts that he or his immediate
family received from lobbyists or businesses with a direct
interest in legislation. Id. at 62 (citing Mass.
Gen. Laws ch. 268B, § 5).
convicted Woodward of one count of honest-services mail
fraud, see 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1346, one
count of honest-services wire fraud, see 18 U.S.C.
§§ 1343, 1346, two counts of interstate travel to
commit bribery, see 18 U.S.C. § 1952, and one
count of conspiracy to commit those offenses, see 18
U.S.C. § 371. The district court granted a judgment of
acquittal on one count of interstate travel to commit
bribery. The district court then sentenced Woodward to six
months of community confinement, followed by two years of
supervised release, and a $200 special assessment. Woodward
appealed from his remaining convictions, and we affirmed.
Woodward I, 149 F.3d at 73. In 2002, the
Massachusetts State Board of Retirement, invoking Mass. Gen.
Laws ch. 32, § 15(4), rescinded Woodward's pension
benefits. That statute provides that "[i]n no event
shall any member after final conviction of a criminal offense
involving violation of the laws applicable to his office or
position, be entitled to receive a retirement
allowance[.]" Id. The Supreme Judicial Court of
Massachusetts upheld the State Board of Retirement's
decision to do so. State Bd. of Ret. v.
Woodward, 847 N.E.2d 298, 306 (Mass. 2006).
brought his first collateral attack on his conviction under
28 U.S.C. § 2255, grounding his petition in two
then-recently decided cases interpreting the federal and
Massachusetts gratuity statutes. See United States
v. Sun-Diamond Growers of Cal., 526 U.S.
398 (1999); Scaccia v. State Ethics
Comm'n, 727 N.E.2d 824 (Mass. 2000). In response,
the district court vacated Woodward's conviction on the
conspiracy count and on the remaining count of interstate
travel to commit bribery. Woodward's second collateral
attack took the form of a writ of error coram nobis, arguing
that his remaining convictions were invalid in the wake of
Skilling v. United States.
See 561 U.S. 358 (2010). The district court denied
relief. United States v. Woodward
(Woodward II), No. 12-11431, 2012 WL 4856055, at *9
(D. Mass. Oct. 10, 2012).
appeal arises from Woodward's third collateral attack --
his second writ of error coram nobis. Woodward's petition
relied primarily on the Supreme Court's recent decision
in McDonnellv.United States, 136
S.Ct. 2355 (2016). There, the Supreme Court narrowed the
definition of "official act" in the honest-services
fraud prosecutions before it. Id. at 2371-72. The
district court correctly recognized that, to succeed, a coram
nobis petitioner must "explain his failure to seek
earlier relief from the judgment, show that he continues to
suffer significant collateral consequences from the judgment,
and demonstrate that the judgment resulted from an error of
the most fundamental character." United Statesv.Woodward (Woodward III), No.
17-12036, 2017 WL 4684000, at *4 (D. Mass. Oct. 18, 2017)
(quoting United Statesv.George,
676 F.3d 249, 254 (1st Cir. 2012)). So too did it acknowledge
that even if a petitioner meets those three ...