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Struna v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio

May 26, 2017

JOHN STRUNA, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          OPINION & ORDER [RESOLVING DOC. 44]

          JAMES S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The Court previously denied John Struna's petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.[1] Petitioner Struna now moves the Court to reconsider its denial of his petition.[2] For the reasons below, the Court DENIES Struna's motion for reconsideration.

         I. Background

         On November 17, 2014, Petitioner John Struna pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution, and money laundering.[3] On February 23, 2015, the Court sentenced Struna to 43 months imprisonment and ordered him to pay $2, 308, 272.29 in restitution.[4] Struna did not appeal.

         On October 31, 2016, Struna filed a § 2255 petition.[5] Struna argued that the Court should vacate his conviction, sentence, and restitution payments because of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel.[6] Struna's arguments centered on the Government's alleged use of privileged information that Struna gave during a July 2013 proffer session.

         The Court denied Struna's § 2255 petition on March 3, 2017. The Court concluded that Struna's petition was untimely and that Struna failed to make a showing of actual innocence warranting an exception to the statute of limitations.[7]

         On April 26, 2017, Petitioner Struna moved the Court to reconsider its denial of his § 2255 petition.[8] Struna argues that the Court's opinion denying habeas relief “flies in the face of established Supreme Court precedents.”[9]

         In its response, the Government argues that Petitioner Struna fails to show legal error or present new evidence justifying reconsideration of the Court's previous judgment.[10]

         II. Legal Standard

         As a threshold matter, this Court construes Struna's motion alleging legal error as a motion for reconsideration under Rule 59.[11]

         Under Rule 59(e), a court may grant a motion to amend or alter its judgment if there is: (1) a clear error of law; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) an intervening change in controlling law; or (4) manifest injustice.[12] A reconsideration motion, however, is not an opportunity to re-litigate previously decided matters or present the case under new theories.[13] Such a motion is extraordinary and sparingly granted.[14]

         III. Discussion

         After having pled guilty and waived any appeal, Petitioner Struna moves for reconsideration on three grounds: (1) the Court erred in concluding that Struna's § 2255 petition was untimely; (2) Struna's petition sufficiently demonstrated ineffective assistance of counsel; and (3) the Court improperly denied Struna a certificate of appealability.[15]

         Timeliness of Struna's Petition The Court properly concluded that Struna's § 2255 petition was untimely. As discussed in the Court's opinion, Struna filed his petition more than seven months after the deadline for an appeal from this Court's § 2255 ruling.[16]

         The Court's opinion also explains why equitable tolling does not save Struna's petition. Struna alleges that he discovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that the Government improperly used proffer information to indict him.[17] Struna now argues that his petition was tardy because the Government took “several months” to respond to the ...


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