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U.S. v. MARTONAK

February 6, 2002

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
V.
JOHN MARTONAK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael B. Mukasey, U.S.D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

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 United Kingdom.

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.

I.

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 Weinstein):

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 well?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

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 DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.

THE COURT: And you sent ...


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