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U.S. v. MARTONAK
February 6, 2002
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
JOHN MARTONAK, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael B. Mukasey, U.S.D.J.
The defendant, John Martonak, moves to bar further proceedings in this
case, challenging the Court's jurisdiction to sentence him following his
plea of guilty in October 1991 to a one-count information charging him
with bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344 (1994). The basis
for his challenge, which accounts for the more-than-a-decade-long delay
between plea and
sentence, arises from Martonak's fugitivity following
his guilty plea, and his arrest in London and subsequent extradition to
this country. Martonak argues that under the rule of specialty in
extradition law — which holds that "the requisitioning state
[here, the United States] may not, without permission of the asylum state
[here, the United Kingdom], try or punish the fugitive for any crimes
committed before the extradition except the crimes for which he was
extradited," Shapiro v. Ferrandina, 478 F.2d 894, 905 (2d Cir. 1973)
(internal quotation marks omitted) — this court may not sentence
him because the crime for which he was extradited is different from the
crime to which he pleaded guilty and for which he is to be sentenced.
Martonak does not dispute that the crime to which he pleaded guilty is
extraditable under the relevant treaty between the United States and the
The government argues both that (i) Martonak lacks standing to raise
this issue, because the rule of specialty protects the interest of the
asylum state — the United Kingdom — and not the interest of
the defendant, and (ii) Martonak is wrong on the merits because under the
terms of the relevant treaty, the crimes for which he was extradited and
for which he is to be sentenced are the same, and thus there is no
violation of the rule of specialty.
For the reasons set forth below, it appears that Martonak does have
standing to argue the rule of specialty, but that the rule would not be
offended if Martonak were sentenced for the crime to which he pleaded
guilty. Therefore, Martonak's motion is denied.
As noted, Martonak pleaded guilty before me in this case in October
1999. The allocution included the following colloquy among the Court, the
prosecutor (Nelson Boxer), the defendant, and defense counsel (Ian
THE COURT: Mr. Boxer, do you want to give me a summary
of what the government's evidence would be if this case
went to trial.
MR. BOXER: At trial, your Honor, the government would
be able to prove that Mr. Martonak mailed a check as
described in the information, $35,100 check, bearing a
certification stamp drawn on a Dreyfus Liquid account,
to Spink & Son Auction House for certain precious
coins, and the government would also be able to prove
that at the time Mr. Martonak sent that check, the
account was closed, in addition to which the government
would be able to prove that the certification on that
check was a bogus certification.
THE COURT: Mr. Martonak, do you want to tell me in
your own words what you did that makes you believe that
you are guilty of the charge in this information?
THE DEFENDANT: I did draw the check as suggested and
attempted to receive rare coins from this auction
house, sent it as a payment.
THE COURT: And you obtained the bogus certification as
MR. WEINSTEIN: Just so the Court is clear, it was a
certification that Mr. Martonak was able to produce
basically by his own hand or with the aid of a home
computer. It wasn't just stamped with any insignia
from the bank.
THE COURT: Is that correct, Mr. Martonak?
THE COURT: And you sent ...
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