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Csanadi v. United States

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 4, 2016

DAVID CSANADI, Petitioner,


Janet Bond Arterton, U.S.D.J.

On November 3, 2014, Petitioner David Csanadi sought leave to file a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 after the expiration of the one-year period allotted to do so by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). The Court denied Mr. Csanadi's motion on February 24, 2015 without prejudice to renew, on the grounds that the Court lacked authority to grant it, as Mr. Csanadi had not filed any § 2255 petition. Seven months later, on October 5, 2015, Mr. Csanadi filed a § 2255 petition [Doc. # 2] to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody as well as a second motion [Doc. # 1] for leave to file a § 2255 petition out of time. For the following reasons, Mr. Csanadi's motions are denied.

I. Background

A. Legal Proceedings

On March 31, 2011, the Newtown Police Department obtained two Connecticut Superior Court search warrants to seize items from Petitioner's residence. The police executed those warrants on April 8, 2011, at which time they seized a computer, a collection of DVDs, several 8mm videotapes, and other items. The computer contained 7, 500 images and 27 videos of child pornography. Mr. Csanadi was arrested on state charges of sexual assault, illegal sexual contact, and possession of child pornography.

Thereafter, on December 13, 2011, Mr. Csanadi was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. See United States v. Csanadi, No. 3:11cr239 (JBA) (D. Conn.), Indictment [Doc. #1]. On February 2, 2012, Mr. Csanadi moved to suppress "all DVDs, VHS tapes and 8mm videotapes seized" from his residence, "on the grounds that the officers exceeded the scope of the search and seizure authorized by the warrant and there was no probable cause to support either the issuance of a warrant for the seized items or for their seizure without a warrant." Id., Mot. to Suppress [Doc. # 15] at 1, 2. That motion was denied on August 31, 2012. See id., Ruling on Def.'s Mot. to Suppress Evidence [Doc. # 39].

On November 2, 2012, Mr. Csanadi pled guilty to production of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251. See id., Plea Agmt. [Doc. # 44]. The Plea Agreement specifies that "the defendant reserves his right to appeal from the judgment of conviction to review this Court's ruling filed August 31, 2012 (Document No. 39), denying his motion to suppress evidence (Document No. 15). In addition, the parties reserve their respective rights to appeal and to oppose each other's appeal of the sentence imposed as permitted by 18 U.S.C. § 3742." Id. at 6.

Mr. Csanadi pled guilty in Connecticut Superior Court to sexual assault in the first degree, illegal sexual contact, and possession of child pornography on January 22, 2013. (Thomas Decl., Ex. A to Gov't's Opp'n [Doc. # 12] f 5.) He received a sentence of 20 years' imprisonment, which was stayed until the imposition of his federal sentence, so that he could serve his time in federal custody. (Id.) Thereafter, on March 19, 2013, this Court sentenced Petitioner to 240 months' imprisonment and 180 months' supervised release. Judgment entered on April 2, 2013. Because Mr. Csanadi did not appeal his conviction, judgment became final on April 16, 2013.

B. Ms. Csanadi's Activities After Sentencing

Mr. Csanadi began serving his sentence on April 12, 2013 at MDC Brooklyn (New York). (Inmate History, Ex. B to Mot. for Leave to File 2255 Out of Time at 3.) On May 9, 2013, he was moved to FCI Ray Brook (New York). (Id.) About a week later, on May 17, 2013, he was moved into the Special Housing Unit ("SHU") at FCI Ray Brook for his protection. (Id.) He spent the majority of the next eight months there. (Id.) On January 24, 2014, Petitioner was transferred to FCI Butner (North Carolina)-by way of Canaan (Pennsylvania), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and Petersburg (Virginia)-where he arrived on February 18, 2014. (Id. at 2.)

Mr. Csanadi represents that on February 24, 2014, he called his attorney, Paul Thomas, to inquire about the status of the appeal he claims to have believed Attorney Thomas had filed. (Mot. for Leave to File 2255 Out of Time at 2.) At that time, he learned that Attorney Thomas had not in fact filed an appeal on his behalf. (Id.) Shortly thereafter, he "heard about a § 2255 for the first time from his cellmate." (Id.)

Petitioner asserts that on or about March 5, 2014, his father called Attorney Thomas to obtain his legal papers, which arrived several days later. (Id. at 3.) Mr. Csanadi represents that at some point after he received the papers, a law clerk at FCI Butner offered to help him file a § 2255 petition, and informed him that his sister, a paralegal, would electronically file the petition for $100. (Id.) "He also told Mr. Csanadi that the Court granted a ninety day exten[s]ion, which made his new deadline to file June 22, 2014." (Id.)

On June 3, 2014, Mr. Csanadi was again moved into SHU. (Inmate History at 2.) On June 20, 2014, he called his father to ask him to call the courthouse to inquire about the status of his § 2255 petition. (Mot. for Leave to File 2255 Out of Time at 4.) He was informed that no petition had been filed. (Id.) Mr. Csanadi therefore drafted a letter to this Court on June 22, 2014, seeking an extension of time in which to file his § 2255 petition and appointment of counsel.[1] (Id.) By letter dated June 29, 2014, he moved for "discovery of any and all materials used in [his] case." See Csanadi, No. 3:llcr239 (JBA), Motion for Copy of File [Doc. # 67]. Mr. Csanadi represents that in July 2014, while awaiting the decision on his motions, he wrote to the Supreme Court, requesting assistance, and on August 7, 2014, he wrote to Attorney Thomas, seeking a form for filing a § 2241 petition. (See Ex. F to Mot. for Leave to File 2255 Out of Time.)

On August 14, 2014, Mr. Csanadi was moved again, this time to FCI Berlin (New Hampshire)-by way of Oklahoma and Brooklyn, New York. (Inmate History at 1.) He arrived on August 28, 2014, and was transferred to SHU the following day. (Id.) At some point during the next month, Mr. Csanadi wrote to a Public Defender in Bridgeport, Connecticut, seeking contact information for a pro bono attorney. (See Ex. G to Mot. for Leave to File 2255 Out of Time.) The Public Defender responded by letter dated October 2, 2014, providing the information Mr. Csanadi sought. (Id.)

On January 8, 2015, Petitioner was transferred to FCI McKean (Pennsylvania)-by way of Devens (Massachusetts), Brooklyn (New York), and Canaan (Pennsylvania)- where he arrived on January 22, 2015. (Inmate History at 1.) His personal property, including legal papers, arrived on February 3, 2015. (See Ex. H to Mot. for Leave to File 2255 Out of Time.) The Court issued its ruling denying Mr. Csanadi's request for an extension of time, without prejudice to re-file, on February 24, 2015. The motions currently before the Court, dated September 2, 2015, were docketed on October 5, 2015.

II. Legal Standard

Section 2255 allows prisoners in federal custody to move for their sentences to be vacated, set aside, or corrected if their "sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or . . . the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or . . . the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). However, under AEDPA, claims under § 2255 must be brought within one year of the later of

the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final; (2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action; (3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or (4) ...

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