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United States v. Wahi

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

April 6, 2015

RAKESH WAHI, Defendant.


SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on Defendant Rakesh Wahi's Petition for Expungement of Record and Leave to File the Motion as Dr. Doe (d/e 86). The Court has jurisdiction over the Petition and sets the matter for an evidentiary hearing.


Defendant was originally charged in July 2011 by way of Indictment. See Indictment (d/e 7). On October 4, 2012, the grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment charging Defendant with conspiracy to commit health care fraud (with co-defendant Gautum Gupta), mail fraud, and health care fraud. Superseding Indictment (d/e 60).

On October 11, 2012, the Government filed a Motion for Leave to Dismiss Indictment Against Defendant Wahi (d/e 77). The basis for the motion was that the Government received, pursuant to a search warrant, e-mail from Defendant's internet service provider that included privileged communications between Defendant and his attorney. An agent for the United States read some of the privileged communications during preparation for trial, despite efforts to segregate those privileged communications. Although the information was not specifically relayed to the attorneys for the United States, the agent was involved in daily trial preparation. Therefore, the Government was unable to show that the information did not taint the prosecution. As such, the Government moved to dismiss the Indictment. Id . The Government also requested that the Court order the FBI to destroy the agent's hard drive along with any DVD containing privileged material. Id.

On October 12, 2012, the Court granted the Government's motion. See October 12, 2013 Text Order. The Court found that violations of the attorney-client privilege occurred and rendered dismissal of the Indictment with prejudice appropriate. Id . The Court denied the Government's request to destroy the evidence in question and ordered the Government to file under seal in the Clerk's secure vault all discovery pertaining to Defendant Wahi and his attorney-client privilege. Id . The Court further held that the Order regarding the discovery would be in effect for a period of ten years until October 11, 2022, and the Court "retained jurisdiction of this matter for that purpose." Id.

On January 13, 2015, Defendant filed the Petition at issue herein. Defendant asserts that he is qualified as a cardiac surgeon and has been unable to find meaningful employment in his profession. Defendant asks that the records in this case be expunged and that the FBI be directed to "remove all of the information from its public records while allowing it (the FBI) to maintain a confidential record of the arrest and its complaint." Pet., p. 3 (d/e 86). Defendant subsequently filed a Reply (d/e 93) raising numerous additional claims, including claims that a biased grand jury was seated and claims of misconduct by the Government.

The Government objects to the Petition, asserting that the Court lacks jurisdiction to consider the motion. The Government asserts in the alternative that Defendant does not qualify for expunction under the test followed by the Seventh Circuit. Resp. (d/e 88); Sur-Reply (d/e 97).


Before addressing the merits of the Petition, the Court must first determine whether jurisdiction exists. See, e.g., Johnson v. Wattenbarger, 361 F.3d 991, 992 (7th Cir. 2004) (courts have an independent duty to determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists). Federal courts, being courts of limited jurisdiction, possess only that power that is authorized by the Constitution and statute. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).

Nothing in the Constitution authorizes the federal courts to expunge records. See, e.g., United States v. Mitchell, 683 F.Supp.2d 427, 429 n.4 (E.D. Va. 2010), citing U.S. Const., art II, § 2 (which provides that the President has the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States). While Congress has provided for expunction of records in certain circumstances, none of those circumstances apply here. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 3607(c) (providing that a court shall order expunction of the record of disposition for persons who were less than 21 years of age when they committed a violation of § 404 of the Controlled Substances Act and who were sentenced to pre-judgment probation); 42 U.S.C. § 14132(d) (providing for the expunction of DNA analysis from certain indices when a conviction has been overturned); 10 U.S.C. § 1565(e) (same).

In some instances, federal courts have ancillary jurisdiction over proceedings that are "technically separate from the initial case that invoked federal subject matter jurisdiction." 13 Charles Alan Wright and Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 3523.2 (3d ed). In Kokkonen, the United States Supreme Court recognized two legitimate forms of ancillary jurisdiction:

(1) to permit disposition by a single court of claims that are, in varying respects and degrees, factually interdependent and (2) to enable a court to function successfully, that is, to manage its proceedings, vindicate its authority, and effectuate its decrees

Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 379-80 (internal citations omitted). Under the facts of that case, the Kokkonen Court suggested that an order with a provision retaining jurisdiction over the settlement agreement might provide for ancillary jurisdiction over a subsequent ...

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