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United States v. Spigelman

United States District Court, S.D. New York

May 24, 2017

UNITED STATES
v.
JOEL SPIGELMAN, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          J. PAUL OETKEN, District Judge

         Joel Spigelman, proceeding pro se, has filed two motions: first, a motion captioned “Sentence Imposed in Violation of the Laws of the United States 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a)(1), ” arguing that his sentence violates his right against double jeopardy (Dkt. No. 171); and second, a “Motion to Dismiss Indictment Based Upon Fraud on the Court Pursuant to Rule 60(b), ” arguing that the Government has committed fraud upon the court by allowing perjured testimony to be submitted during trial and the subsequent habeas corpus proceedings. (Dkt. No. 174.) For the reasons that follow, the motions are denied.

         I. Background

         A. Initial Proceedings

         On June 20, 2007, Spigelman was charged in a superseding four-count indictment with intentional murder in connection with a drug conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, murder committed with a firearm, and conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine. Spigelman v. United States, No. 10 Civ. 7579, 2012 WL 3594304, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 21, 2012).

         A jury trial was held before the honorable Judge Shira A. Scheindlin in July 2007. Id. At trial, the Government presented evidence that Spigelman ordered the robbery and murder of a female drug courier who was transporting large quantities of cocaine. Id. The Government offered testimony of over a dozen witnesses, including Ricardo Castro-Cubillos (“Castro”). Id. Castro was a member of a “robbery crew” with which Spigelman regularly did business; he personally met with Spigelman in connection with the murder and participated in the robbery. Id. The jury convicted Spigelman on all four counts and Judge Scheindlin sentenced him to four concurrent life sentences. Id.

         B. Direct Appeal

         Spigelman appealed his conviction only as to the count for murder committed with a firearm, arguing that the district court erroneously denied his motion to dismiss that count and that the district court's Pinkerton charge on that count was not sufficiently clear. United States v. Rodriguez, 320 F. App'x 105, 107 (2d Cir. 2009). The Second Circuit rejected Spigelman's appeal and affirmed the judgment of the district court. Id. at 107-08. Spigelman petitioned for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on October 5, 2009. Spigelman v. United States, 558 U.S. 940 (2009).

         C. 2255 Petition

         On September 28, 2010, Spigelman, proceeding pro se, filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In his petition, Spigelman argued: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) defective indictment and improper venue; (3) knowing use of false evidence; (4) unreasonableness of life sentence; (5) insufficient evidence; (6) violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution; (7) impairment at trial; (8) error by the Second Circuit in deciding his appeal: (9) selective prosecution; and (10) multiple conspiracies. Spigelman, 2012 WL 3594304, at *1. In particular, Spigelman's primary argument to support his claim that the Government knowingly used false evidence suggested that the Government knew that “its star . . . witness, ” Castro, lied on the stand at trial. Id. at *9-10.

         On August 21, 2012, Judge Scheindlin denied Spigelman's petition in its entirety and declined to grant a certificate of appealability. Id. at *14. Spigelman then moved for reconsideration of the denial of his petition, which Judge Scheindlin also denied. (Dkt. No. 137.) Spigelman also moved the Second Circuit for a certificate of appealability with regard to the denied petition; the Second Circuit denied his motion and dismissed the appeal. (Dkt. No. 140.)

         Spigelman, proceeding pro se, filed a motion with the Second Circuit for leave to file a successive petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which was denied on April 19, 2016. (Dkt. No. 173.)

         D. The Current Motions

         Spigelman filed a “Motion to Dismiss Indictment Based Upon Fraud on the Court Pursuant to Rule 60(b), ” dated December 12, 2016. (Dkt. No. 174.) In that motion, Spigelman argues that the Government submitted perjured testimony in ...


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