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U.S. v. BONTKOWSKI

May 15, 2003

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD BONTKOWSKI, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morton Denlow, United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This case is before the Court on Edward Bontkowski's ("Petitioner" or "Bontkowski") motion for discovery pursuant to Rule 6(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings in the United States District Courts. Bontkowski's 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to vacate his convictions and sentence is before Judge Ronald A. Guzman. The § 2255 motion includes seven grounds for relief; however, Petitioner asks for discovery relating primarily to the sixth ground, factual innocence on the witness intimidation charge. For the reasons stated herein, Bontkowski's motion for discovery is denied.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

On June 10, 1999, a jury convicted Bontkowski of twenty criminal counts including: wire fraud, mail fraud, failure to file federal income tax returns, tax evasion, and witness intimidation. On June, 30, 1999, Bontkowski filed a post-trial motion seeking arrest of the judgment or a new trial. In August of 1999, Bontkowski requested and was granted the withdrawal of his trial attorney. He then chose to represent himself. Bontkowski's post-trial motion for arrest of the judgment or a new trial was denied, except for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim that was continued.

On October 29, 1999, Bontkowski filed a renewed motion for new trial alleging discovery violations and knowing use of perjured testimony by the government. After a supplemental submission in support of the renewed motion in November, the district court denied the motion on December 15, 1999. In late December 1999, Bontkowski filed a motion for clarification and reconsideration of the denial raising the same issues as the motion itself. Again, he filed a supplemental submission to his motion for clarification. The court denied Bontkowski's motion for clarification or reconsideration in January 2000 stating, "there was no improper non-disclosure." January 5, 2000 Order.

In March 2000, Bontkowski filed a supplemental submission in support of his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The court denied this claim in May 2000, and Bontkowski proceeded to represent himself at the sentencing hearing. He was sentenced to 108 months of prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $314,370 in restitution.

Bontkowski filed a pro se notice of appeal. The Seventh Circuit set a briefing schedule requiring his opening brief to be filed by February 20, 2001 and reply by April 3, 2001. At the beginning of February, Bontkowski filed a motion to amend the briefing schedule which was granted, giving him until March 22, 2001 to file his opening brief and until May 7, 2001 to file a reply. Bontkowski then filed a motion asking for the reconsideration of the briefing schedule. Bontkowski was then given until April 5, 2001 to file an opening brief and May 21, 2001 to file a reply. Throughout this time the court reporter sought two extension of time to file the transcript, both of which were granted.

In late March, Bontkowski filed a third request seeking an extension of time for the briefing schedule. His motion was granted and he was permitted until May 7, 2001 to file an opening brief and June 20, 2001 to file a reply. On April 17, 2001 Bontkowski filed a motion to file an oversized brief. One day later he filed a motion for a fourth extension of time on the briefing schedule. The court granted his motion to file an oversized brief and extended the deadline to June 6, 2001 for the opening brief and July 20, 2001 for a reply.

On June 5, 2001, Bontkowski filed his fifth request for an extension of time. The motion was granted, and he was given until June 27, 2001 to file the opening brief and August 10, 2001 to file a reply. On June 22, 2001, Bontkowski filed his sixth request for an extension of time. This request was also granted, giving Bontkowski until July 18, 2001 to file an opening brief and August 31, 2001 to file a reply. The court also stated, "No further extensions of time will be granted for the appellant." On July 17, 2001, Bontkowski filed his seventh request for an extension which was also granted, allowing him to file his opening brief by July 30, 2001. In this final order of July 20, 2001 the court stated, "Absolutely no further extensions of time will be granted to appellant. This appeal will be dismissed pursuant to Cir.R. 31(c) if the appellant fails to tender his opening brief by the due date as extended."

Finally, on September 6, 2001, Bontkowski filed a motion to file his brief instanter. The court responded on September 10, 2001, denying his motion and dismissing the appeal for failure to prosecute. Bontkowski replied with a motion to reconsider which was denied and a motion to recall the mandate which was also denied. He then filed notice of his writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, and in January 2002 he filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the Supreme Court seeking reinstatement of his appeal. His petition was rejected.

In August of 2002, Bontkowski filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida naming 21 Seventh Circuit and Northern District of Illinois judges as defendants. This complaint alleges those named, and others, conspired "in an orchestrated campaign in singling out Plaintiff out of sheer vindictiveness, in retaliation for ...


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