United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS
ATTACKING HER SENTENCE
W. EGINTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
four-week trial in the summer of 2012, a jury convicted
Maureen Clark on one count of conspiracy to commit wire
fraud, thirteen counts of wire fraud, and six counts of money
laundering. The charges stemmed from a scheme by Clark and
co-defendant Christopher Plummer to solicit investments under
false pretenses for a Mississippi casino development. The
Court sentenced Clark to eighty-seven months in prison and
ordered her to pay $1.75 million in restitution. Clark
appealed her conviction to the Second Circuit, making many of
the same arguments she advances now. The Second Circuit
rejected her appeal, with the exception of a remand for
amendment of the restitution order to reflect amounts repaid
to victims by third parties. A motion for rehearing en
banc was denied, as was Clark's petition for
certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
has filed a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 along
with various other motions that are different in style and
label but similar in substance. She claims: (1) violation of
due process; (2) jury instruction error; (3) improper
exclusion of evidence; (4) improper sentencing procedure; (5)
improper order of restitution; (6) insufficient evidence of
conspiracy; and (7) failure by counsel to notify her of a
plea offer from the government. For the following reasons,
Clark's motions will be denied.
with the facts of this case is presumed for the purposes of
this decision. Due to Clark's pro se status, the
Court reviews her petition with a “lenient eye.”
See Williams v. Kullman, 722 F.2d 1048, 1050 (2d
Cir. 1983). Nevertheless, liberally construed, Clark's
complaints still lack merit.
Violation of Due Process
argues that she was denied an opportunity to present evidence
of her innocence as a result of the government's
“filibustering of the trial.” Clark contends that
the government utilized trial days for its case in chief that
had been set aside for rebuttal, preventing Clark from a full
opportunity to present evidence of her innocence.
government responds that Clark was able to introduce over 500
exhibits; and Clark herself testified over the course of
three days. Moreover, defense counsel voluntarily rested its
case without pressure from the Court, so it is unclear why
Clark has the impression that her defense was limited in
time. Finally, Clark does not adequately specify the evidence
that was omitted or how it would have affected the jury's
determination of guilt; she has not demonstrated prejudice.
Accordingly, the Court is not persuaded by Clark's
Verbal Attacks and Vouching
argues that due process was impeded due to the
government's repeated verbal attacks against her and
vouching for its own witnesses. But these issues were raised
on appeal to the Second Circuit, and “a § 2255
motion may not relitigate issues that were raised and
considered on direct appeal.” U.S. v. Perez,
129 F.3d 255, 260 (2d Cir. 1997). The Second Circuit rejected
these arguments, and this Court will not overturn that
Jury Instruction Error
argues that the Court's wire fraud instruction to the
jury rests on an unsupported theory of liability: that a
scheme to defraud could be established by proof that
investors were deprived of information necessary to make
discretionary economic decisions. Again, this challenge was
explicitly raised on appeal to the Second Circuit, which held
that the issue is “well settled.” See U.S. v.
Clark, 593 Fed.Appx. 53, 54 (2d Cir. 2014).
Therefore, the district court did not err in explaining that
a scheme to defraud could be established by proof that
investors were deprived of information necessary to ...