The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCAVOY
Pending before the Court is plaintiff's motion for declaratory judgment filed pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 2201 ("Declaratory Judgment Act"). Plaintiff, Stephen Cady, a defendant in a prior related criminal action,
asks this Court to determine what effect his prospective filing of a § 2255 motion would have on a plea agreement executed between him and the government, the defendant herein. See 28 U. S. C. § 2255. The government opposes plaintiff's motion, arguing that until plaintiff actually files his § 2255, no case or controversy exists and, thus, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. In the event that subject matter jurisdiction exists, both parties move for summary judgment.
On April 7, 1994, the government, acting pursuant to a warrant, raided plaintiff's residence. The next day the government charged plaintiff with using a .9mm Uzi machine gun during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. On April 15, 1994, the government, by an amended Criminal Complaint, charged plaintiff with possessing an unregistered firearm. See 18 U. S. C. § 924(c); 26 U. S. C. § 5861(d). The affidavit attached to the original Criminal Complaint also alleged that plaintiff engaged in extensive marijuana cultivation.
The substance of the plea agreement provided that the government would not prosecute plaintiff for any charges it could have brought against him following the April 7 raid in return for his: (1) substantial assistance in the government's investigation of the source of his weapons; and (2) completely honest information and testimony. Plaintiff's failure to abide by these terms, or motion to set aside his guilty and plea and conviction would give the government the right to reinstate and pursue any charges it dismissed against him. On October 28, 1994, plaintiff agreed to these terms and the Court sentenced him to eight months on the marijuana charge, § 841(a)(1), and sixty months on the gun charge, § 924(c).
Subsequently, the government attempted to indict plaintiff on five charges related to the April 7 raid because the defendant allegedly provided false and misleading statements. The Court, however, dismissed these charges with prejudice finding that they were vindictively motivated. See United States v. Cady, 955 F. Supp. 164, 167 (N.D.N.Y. 1997).
On December 6, 1995, the United States Supreme Court decided Bailey v. United States, 516 U.S. 137, 133 L. Ed. 2d 472, 116 S. Ct. 501 (1995), which limited the scope of conduct proscribed by § 924(c). In light of this decision, plaintiff prepared his § 2255 motion seeking to vacate, correct or set aside his § 924(c) sentence. Plaintiff, however, refrained from filing the motion when the government wrote a letter instructing him that such an action would violate the terms of the plea agreement.
Plaintiff now seeks a declaratory judgment as to whether his § 2255 motion would in fact violate the terms of his plea agreement. The Court now turns to the issues presented.
Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment as to whether he would violate his prior plea agreement by filing his § 2255 motion.
The government contends that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's declaratory judgment request because the Declaratory Judgment Act's case or controversy requirement cannot be satisfied until plaintiff files the § 2255 motion. See 28 U. S. C. § 2201(a). Alternatively, the government alleges that if subject matter jurisdiction exists, it is entitled to summary judgment on the basis that a § 2255 motion would violate the substance of the plea agreement. Plaintiff moves for summary judgment alleging that his prospective § 2255 motion does not violate the plea agreement because the plea agreement does not expressly prohibit § 2255 motions. The Court will consider each of the foregoing requests and arguments in turn.
The declaratory judgment statute, 28 U. S. C. § 2201(a), ...