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STANTINI v. U.S.

United States District Court, Eastern District of New York


March 3, 2003

ORAZIO STANTINI AND ROBERT BISACCIA, PETITIONERS, AGAINST UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: I. Leo Glasser

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

In a letter dated February 25, 2003, the defendant makes reference to a charge brought against Salvatore Gravano by New Jersey authorities alleging that he ordered and paid Richard Kuklinski to murder Peter Calabro, a New York City detective. Kuklinski, currently serving several life sentences for other murders, pled guilty to Calabro's murder and implicated Gravano. The foregoing is based entirely upon newspaper accounts. In his letter. the defendant requests the Court to direct "a full and thorough independent inquiry, with discovery and an evidentiary hearing." (Def. ltr. at 5).

The authority upon which his request is made is not provided. That authority, insofar as the Court is aware, is found in Rule 33, Fed.R.Cr.P. which provides that:

(a) Upon the defendant's motion, the Court may vacate any judgment and grant a new trial if the interest of justice so requires. . . .

(b) Any motion for a new trial grounded on newly discovered evidence must be filed within 3 years after the verdict or finding of guilty. . . .

The history of these cases has been told and retold in 1995 WL 228397 (E.D.N.Y. 1995). aff'd., 85 F.3d 9 (2d Cir. 1996); 2000 WL 70314 (E.D.N.Y. 2000) familiarity with which is assumed.

The letter request advances arguments which were made and rejected by this Court in 2000 WL 70314. In essence, they are bottomed upon Rule 33(b) to which the following sample quotes from that letter attest:

". . . I represent to the Court that I have a good faith belief that Kuklinski has advised the authorities and is prepared to testify under oath that he (Kuklinski) killed police officer Calabro on the order of. for compensation from, and in concert with Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano. (Def. ltr. at 1).
". . . it would seem that the Court ought to recognize that the Calabro matter is materially different for a variety of reasons [from Gravano's undisclosed alleged involvement in the Inzerillo murder this Court addressed in 2000 WL 70314.]" (Def. ltr. at 2).
"Moreover, it is not now just a matter of Kuklinski's word. the Bergen County prosecutor has been sufficiently impressed . . . to formally charge Gravano. . . ."*fn1
"In short, had the jury and this Court known that Gravano ordered, paid for. and participated in this brutal slaying of a New York police officer, it is highly likely that both that jury and this Court would have looked at Gravano very differently." (Def. ltr. at 2) (emphasis added).
"It appears, . . . that his perceived value as a witness, matched up with the government's wish list for convicted defendants, were too closely aligned for prosecutors of the ilk involved in these cases to fulfill their ethical obligations of thorough investigation and disclosure before offering a witness against others." (Def. ltr. at 3).
This letter request, based as it plainly is, upon newly discovered evidence and made considerably more than three years after their convictions were affirmed and certiorari denied in 519 U.S. 1000 (1996) is denied.

SO ORDERED.


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