The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENISE COTE, District Judge
William Bonfiglio ("Bonfiglio") filed this petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255 on
April 28, 2003. Bonfiglio had pleaded guilty to loansharking and
securities fraud charges, and had been sentenced to 21 months in prison.
The claims in this petition arise principally from his subsequent
indictment in the United States District Court for the Eastern District
of New York ("Eastern District") on charges of loansharking and gambling.
Bonfiglio contends that state and Eastern District prosecutors have dealt
unfairly with him and that he would not have entered his plea to the federal charges at
issue in this petition if he had understood at the time that the state
prosecutors would not abide by their commitments to his attorney. For the
following reasons, the petition is denied.
July 2001: Three Investigations
Bonfiglio was arrested on July 26, 2001. An indictment filed by a grand
jury sitting in this district was unsealed on that same day. Bonfiglio
had been charged in two counts with conspiring from 1996 through 1999 to
use and of using during that same period extortionate means to collect an
extension of credit, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 894. Both charges
stemmed from Bonfiglio's role in collecting a debt owed by Maria
Caltabiano ("Caltabiano") to Joseph Roperto ("Roperto"). Specifically,
after Roperto had been arrested on unrelated charges in 1998, Bonfiglio
took over Roperto's efforts to collect Caltabiano's debt to Roperto.
Also in July 2001, Bonfiglio was charged in a complaint filed in this
district with two counts of securities fraud in violation of
15 U.S.C. § 77q(a) and (x). The charges stemmed from schemes to defraud
investors in the sale of unregistered securities in two companies,
Offshore Performance, Inc. and Netline Internet Solutions LLC. Bonfiglio
was presented before a Magistrate Judge on the securities fraud charges
on July 27, 2001. Bonfiglio was represented in connection with both
federal matters by privately retained counsel Bradford Martin ("Martin").
Also on July 26, 2001, an investigation conducted by the Suffolk County
District Attorney ("DA") resulted in a search of Bonfiglio's home. Martin
was informed by federal authorities that they were not involved with the
DA's investigation. The DA told Martin that its search was related to an
investigation into bookmaking and loansharking.
The loansharking indictment was assigned to this Court. At a conference
held on September 4, 2001, and with the agreement of the parties, a trial
date of January 7, 2002 was set.
On December 14, Martin wrote to request an adjournment of the trial to
March because he needed additional time to put together a global
settlement of the criminal charges the defendant was facing. The request
was denied at a conference held on December 19.
In late 2001, Bonfiglio's counsel discussed with the United States
Attorney's Office of this district (the "Government") simultaneously
resolving the loansharking indictment and the securities fraud charges
with a single guilty plea. Defense counsel also suggested resolving the
charges of loansharking and illegal gambling that he expected would be
filed against Bonfiglio by the DA. The Government represented that it had
no relationship to the DA's investigation and refused to incorporate that
investigation into its plea discussions with Bonfiglio. Eventually, Martin told the Government that Bonfiglio would only plead
guilty to the loansharking indictment if he were able to plead guilty at
the same time to the securities fraud charges. There was still no
indictment on the securities fraud charges as of that time. The
Government accommodated the request and quickly prepared a superceding
information covering both federal cases.
Martin represents that he had been assured by the DA that Bonfiglio
would be able to plead guilty to the DA's loansharking and bookmaking
charges "in a manner that would not require Mr. Bonfiglio to serve
additional time in jail." As of some time before the federal plea,
however, the DA had stopped returning Martin's calls, and Martin became
concerned. Martin discussed with Bonfiglio "the problems of taking a plea
without having a written agreement" from the DA. Bonfiglio did not want
to enter a plea to the federal charges if he would face additional time
on the DA's charges. Martin advised Bonfiglio that there was a risk
associated with taking the plea, but that Bonfiglio's options were
"extremely limited." Martin advised Bonfiglio of his belief that the DA
would be true to his word.
On January 3, 2002, Bonfiglio pleaded guilty to three counts of a
superceding information that combined the federal charges of loansharking
and securities fraud. Count One charged Bonfiglio with conspiring to use
extortionate means to collect an extension of credit. Counts Two and Three charged him with conspiracy to
commit securities fraud, wire fraud and commercial bribery in connection
with the sale of securities for Offshore Performance and Netline,
Bonfiglio executed a plea agreement ("Agreement") with the Government
on the day of his plea. The Agreement included a stipulated Sentencing
Guidelines range of 21 to 27 months in prison. As calculated in the
Agreement, the offense level was increased by one level due to the
inclusion of the securities fraud counts. In addition, the Government
consented to a two level adjustment down for Bonfiglio's role in the
loansharking scheme. Bonfiglio agreed, among other things, not to appeal
or collaterally attack his conviction on the ground that the Government
had failed to produce discovery, Jencks Act, or exculpatory material.
During the plea allocution, Bonfiglio represented that he had no
agreement with the Government that had been left out of the Agreement. He
also denied that anyone had made any promise apart from what was
contained in the Agreement to induce or convince him to plead guilty.
Sentencing was scheduled for April 12.
Martin advised the Court at the end of the plea proceeding that the
Suffolk County prosecutor had executed a search warrant on the same day
that Bonfiglio was arrested on the extortion charges to which he had just
pleaded guilty. Martin indicated that he did not know if that
investigation would ever result in any charges, but that Bonfiglio might be arrested on those charges
before his sentencing date.
Interval Between Plea and Sentence
According to Martin's affidavit submitted in support of this petition,
in their first conversation after Bonfiglio's plea, the DA advised Martin
that "there was no deal" and that the investigation was now being run by
the Eastern District. In a subsequent conversation, the DA told Martin
that Bonfiglio would have to enter into a cooperation ...