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United States v. Peters

United States District Court, N.D. New York

April 12, 2013

JOHN PETERS, Defendant Petitioner


For James T. Foley U.S. Courthouse: ROBERT A. SHARPE, ESQ., Ass't United States Attorney, OF COUNSEL, HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, Albany, NY.

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David N. Hurd, United States District Judge.


Defendant petitioner John Peters (" Peters" or " petitioner" ) was released from prison on May 12, 2009. Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 504(a), petitioner is prohibited from serving in certain enumerated authority positions within a labor organization for a period of thirteen years after the end of his imprisonment, or until May 13, 2022. However, he may petition to reduce that time period, but not less than three years following the end of his imprisonment. He has now been under the prohibition for almost four years.

Peters now petitions for a reduction in the thirteen year period. The United States of America (the " Government" ) opposes. On March 14, 2013, a hearing was held pursuant to § 504(a). Decision was reserved.


In May 2003, Peters was a labor organizer with Laborers' International Union of North America (" LIUNA" ) and Local Laborers Union 190 (" Local 190" ) in Glenmont, New York. At that time, Local 190 was picketing a Wal-Mart construction site in Glenmont. A non-union general contractor was responsible for the project, and Local 190 wanted no one crossing their picket lines at the site. Tri-Cities Aggregate (" Tri-Cities" ), a cement manufacturer, was selected by the general contractor to be the concrete supplier for the Wal-Mart site.

On or around May 7, 2003, Peters and several fellow union members were drinking at a local bar. They discussed plans to do something to " shut down" Tri-Cities as a means of slowing the construction at the Wal-Mart site. Peters commented that the trailer at Tri-Cities contained the computer that kept track of the cement shipments and that, if the trailer was damaged or destroyed, the cement operations at the Wal-Mart site would be disrupted. During the conversation, Peters took a beer bottle and showed the others how it could be made into a Molotov cocktail.

On May 8, 2003, Peters and one of the union members from the night before were again at a bar and discussed doing " something about that concrete plant." At that point, the two men called a third union member to meet them at the bar. The three men took a bar rag and rubber gloves from the bar, picked up a twelve-pack of Coors Light beer bottles, and drove to a friend's house where they knew they could find gasoline. They then drove to the Tri-Cities plant where Peters put on rubber gloves and demonstrated how to

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make Molotov cocktails. The target was the Tri-Cities trailer. Peters and one of the union members dropped the third man off near the targeted trailer. That individual then threw two devices, one of which set the trailer on fire. Peters and the other union member picked up the third man and they went to Denny's Restaurant where Peters made it a point to use his union credit card to show that the three men were somewhere else at the time of the firebombing.

Neither Peters nor his fellow union members were charged immediately following the incident. From 2004 to 2005, Peters served as Deputy Trustee for the Veterans Hospital in Delaware, where he worked to uncover and dismantle internal corruption. He also worked as Deputy Trustee for Locals 1010 and 1018, helping to remove corrupt leaders from positions of authority in the unions. Lastly, Peters helped the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Justice prevent organized crime from infiltrating local unions in New York City.

Subsequently, on December 11, 2006, Peters was charged with a single count of arson in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i). He pleaded guilty on June 15, 2007. As a result of his conviction, he was forced to step down from his position as Deputy Trustee. He began work as a laborer, but on September 26, 2007, he sustained a work-related injury after falling more than twenty feet when a wooden beam that he was standing on broke. He injured his shoulder, back, and neck.

On May 7, 2008, Peters was sentenced by the undersigned to serve twelve months and one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Again, he was released from prison on May 12, 2009. He ...

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