The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALLYNE ROSS, District Judge
Plaintiff Robert Venetucci, a federal inmate who was extradited
to, and convicted in, Italy and who subsequently agreed, as a
condition of his voluntary transfer to a United States prison,
that any legal proceeding challenging his conviction or sentence
had to be brought in Italy, brings this pro se action seeking
a declaratory judgment vacating his conviction and life sentence.
Although plaintiff has paid the filing fee, this action is
nonetheless dismissed for the reasons set forth below.
On September 27, 1983, an Italian judge issued a warrant for
plaintiff's arrest on charges of extortion and conspiracy to
commit extortion. See Matter of Sindona, 584 F.Supp. 1437,
1446, 1447 (E.D.N.Y. 1984). On May 3, 1984, Judge Glasser granted
Italy's request for extradition, finding, inter alia, that
the offenses with which plaintiff was charged were extraditable
and that the requirements of "double criminality" were satisfied.
Id. at 1452.
Shortly after plaintiff's extradition to Italy, the Italian
Government requested the consent of the United States, pursuant
to Article XVI(1)(c) of the 1983 Extradition Treaty between the
United States and Italy, to try plaintiff on the additional
charge of complicity in premeditated murder. Amended Complaint,
¶¶ 20, 22. The United States Government consented, and that
consent was communicated to the Italian Embassy by the United
States Department of State on January 2, 1985. Id., Ex. B. In 1986, plaintiff was convicted
in Italy of both murder and aggravated extortion and sentenced to
life imprisonment. See Ventucci v. LeBlanc, No. Civ. 03-944
ADM/AJB, 2003 WL 24013824, at *1 (D.Minn. Apr. 10, 2003).
In 1997, plaintiff requested a transfer to the United States.
Id. At a hearing held pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4108, plaintiff
verified his consent to the transfer and agreed, both orally and
in writing, that any legal proceedings challenging his conviction
or sentence had to be brought in Italy. Ventucci v. Reese,
46 Fed. Appx. 381, 382, 2002 WL 31016425, at *1 (8th Cir. 2002).
In March 1998, plaintiff was transferred to the United States,
and is currently incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in
Plaintiff's Prior Petitions for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
Notwithstanding his agreement not to challenge his Italian
conviction and sentence in United States courts, plaintiff filed
at least three petitions for a writ of habeas corpus in the
United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
following his return to the United States. In October 1998,
plaintiff filed a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
asserting "that his sentence was illegal because the United
States had no right under the Constitution to detain him . . .
[and] that the transfer treaty between Italy and the United
States was `defective and illegal.'" Ventucci v. LeBlanc, 2003
WL 24013824, at *1. Magistrate Judge John Mason addressed that
petition on the merits and recommended that it be dismissed,
finding that plaintiff's "request to transfer to the United
States was made `knowingly and understandingly' and was `wholly
voluntary.'" Id. That recommendation was adopted by District
Judge Ann Montgomery and the petition was dismissed with
prejudice on August 17, 1999. Id.
In June 2001, plaintiff filed a second petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, raising issues which appear quite similar to
issues being raised herein. In that petition, plaintiff argued,
inter alia, "that the additional charge of complicity to
commit murder was presented against him in Italy in violation of
due process, the Ex Post Facto Clause and treaties between Italy
and the United States." Id. at *2. Magistrate Judge Mason again
recommended that the petition be dismissed, this time on the
ground that plaintiff had failed to make the showing necessary
for the court to consider a second and successive petition. Id.
Judge Montgomery again adopted the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation, and dismissed the petition with prejudice on
February 12, 2002. Id.
Plaintiff then appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals,
which declined to reach the successiveness issue. Rather, the
Eighth Circuit addressed the merits of plaintiff's petition and
held that his challenge to his continued incarceration was
foreclosed by his agreement to challenge his conviction and
sentence only in Italy. See Venetucci v. Reese,
46 Fed. Appx. at 382, 2002 WL 31016425, at *1. Noting that such agreements were
consistent with federal law and rejecting plaintiff's claim that
his consent to transfer was not voluntary, the Eighth Circuit
concluded that "the record plainly demonstrates that the claim is
without merit." Id.
On January 29, 2003 less than four months after the Eighth
Circuit dismissed his second habeas petition plaintiff filed a
third action, asserting that his consent to the transfer had not
been made knowingly. Although plaintiff argued that "his claims
[were] separate and independent from habeas corpus," Magistrate
Judge Arthur J. Boylan rejected this argument, stating that in
order to obtain relief, plaintiff "must petition for a writ of
habeas corpus." Ventucci v. LeBlanc, 2003 WL 24013824, at
*4-*5. Magistrate Judge Boylan analyzed the submission under both
the "second and successive" restriction of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (the "AEDPA") and the common
law abuse of writ principles and recommended that the petition be
dismissed with prejudice. Magistrate Judge Boylan's Report and
Recommendation was adopted by Judge Montgomery, who noted that,
regardless of whether plaintiff's submission was reviewed "as a §
2241 petition, or . . . a § 3244 All Writs Act petition," the
issues plaintiff sought to raise had "been previously considered
and rejected by both the District Court and the Eighth Circuit
Court of Appeals." Ventucci v. LeBlanc, No. Civ. 03-944
ADM/AJB, 2003 WL 21057066, at *2 (D.Minn. May 9, 2003).
Plaintiff's Complaint and Amended Complaint
In April 2005, plaintiff commenced this action, alleging that
defendant Department of State violated various sections of Title
18 of the United States Code, two extradition treaties between
the United States and Italy and plaintiff's Constitutional rights
by communicating the United States Government's consent to have
Italy try plaintiff on the murder charge. Plaintiff's complaint
contended that the consent to "try" plaintiff was "not consent to
. . . punishment or detention," Complaint, ¶ 15 (emphasis
omitted); that the 1983 Extradition Treaty was inapplicable
because the murder allegedly occurred prior to its enactment and
that the use of this treaty was not only "prejudicial to
[p]laintiff" but violated "the Ex Post Facto Clause," id. at ¶¶
17-18, 24; that defendant's "consent" was unauthorized because no
judicial officer had certified that plaintiff was extraditable
for the murder charge, id. at ¶¶ 21-23; that Italy subsequently
added further charges (such as participation in aggravated
private violence) on which plaintiff was never extradited and to
which defendant never consented, id. at ¶ 25 and that,
"[a]bsent the unlawful Additional Charge and Further Charges,
Plaintiff's term of imprisonment would have [already]
ended. . . ." Id. at ¶ 27. The only relief plaintiff sought
was an order declaring "the detention, conviction and punishment for the
Additional Crimes and Further Crimes . . . void ab initio." Id.
at p. 4.
Plaintiff's complaint made no mention of the lengthy procedural
history of his case. Moreover, although plaintiff provided an
address at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota,
plaintiff did not make any allegations concerning the place of
his incarceration. Plaintiff, who certified that he had served
the Department of State at a ...