UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
June 15, 1967
UNITED STATES of America,
Arthur L. JOHNSON, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEINFELD
WEINFELD, District Judge.
Petitioner is now serving fifteen years to life as a fourth felony offender under New York State's Multiple Offender Act.
He seeks a writ of error coram nobis to vacate one of the underlying convictions entered in this court eighteen years ago,
on August 22, 1949, on his plea of guilty to a charge of knowingly passing two counterfeit twenty dollar Federal Reserve notes. Shortly before, on August 9, 1949, he had been sentenced, also upon his plea of guilty, to a term of one year and one day by the United States District Court of New Jersey for similar offenses committed within that district. The sentence imposed in this court was six years.
The petitioner, in his attack upon the judgment of conviction in this district,
has presented a panoply of alleged constitutional violations, including (1) lack of effective counsel and representation; (2) denial of counsel of his choice; (3) that his plea was not voluntary and understandingly made, but allegedly induced by "chicanery and trickery"; (4) denial of his right of allocution; and (5) that the New Jersey and New York offenses constituted a single crime and were not separate offenses.
The petitioner's allegations are not only without evidentiary support, but an examination of the proceedings of this court shows they are utterly lacking in substance. Upon his arraignment in this district the court appointed counsel, a Legal Aid lawyer, then assigned to this court. Petitioner did not request or indicate he desired private counsel or that he had the financial means to retain one
- the record supports an entirely contrary conclusion.
The fact that experienced defense counsel did not spend hours upon hours in conference with petitioner on the relatively simple issue presented by the indictment is of no consequence.
Petitioner's allegation, without evidential support, that the plea was entered because of "chicanery and trickery" is conclusory.
As to the term imposed, assuming arguendo that his attorney had expressed his opinion that the likely sentence would be the same as that imposed in New Jersey and would run concurrently, and it turned out otherwise, this would not support the charge of "chicanery and trickery," inducement, fraud or overreaching.
As to the claim of denial of the right of allocution, the transcript indicates that petitioner's counsel made a statement on his behalf urging leniency. In any event, the fact that petitioner himself was not afforded allocution as required under Rule 32(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure furnishes no ground for voiding the judgment upon collateral attack.
As to the claim that the crimes charged under the two indictments constituted but a single and continuing offense of passing counterfeit bills, the law is well settled that the uttering and passing of different counterfeit bills in different states or districts at different times constitute separate offenses.
Finally, as this court has previously stated: "Merely culling language from Federal and state authorities, as petitioner has done, will not satisfy the requirement that serious charges have some basis in fact",
and does not, without more, entitle petitioner to a hearing.
In sum, the files and records conclusively show that petitioner is entitled to no relief.
The petition is dismissed.