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United States v. Durrani

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 2, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ARIF A. DURRANI

          RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS

          Stefan R. Underhill United States District Judge.

         The defendant, Arif Durrani, moves for relief from my November 23, 2015, Order (doc. # 64) denying his various requests for relief. See Docs. # 65, 66, 67. Like his prior requests, the current request for relief seeks to attack his twenty-eight-year-old conviction in this District. He argues that newly disclosed evidence lends further support to his claim that the government failed to properly disclose evidence favorable to his defense in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. This is the fifth time that Durrani has raised a challenge to his conviction based on the government's failure to provide him with the required disclosures under Brady.

         In addition to his claims that the government failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, Durrani alleges that the newly disclosed evidence establishes that he was prejudiced by United States District Judge T.F. Gilroy Daly's failure to forward to the United States Court of Appeals the documents that he reviewed in camera. Durrani argues that, had Judge Daly done so, the Court of Appeals would have had sufficient evidence to overturn Durrani's conviction on the basis of the government's failure to disclose evidence favorable to the defense.

         I. Background

         In 1987, Durrani was convicted of violating the Arms Export Control Act (“AECA”), 22 U.S.C. § 2778, and the accompanying International Traffic In Arms regulations, 22 C.F.R. § 120 et seq., by shipping Hawk missile parts to Iran without a license. He was sentenced to a term of incarceration. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Durrani's conviction. United States v. Durrani, 835 F.2d 410 (2d Cir. 1987).

         On July 15, 1988, Durrani filed a motion to reduce his sentence. Durrani argued that “important new information” established that he was eligible to receive a more lenient sentence. See Durrani v. United States, 294 F.Supp.2d 204, 207 (D. Conn. 2003), aff'd, 115 F.App'x 500 (2d Cir. 2004). Judge Daly denied the motion, holding that no new information existed to warrant a grant of leniency. Judge Daly held that his conclusion was supported by the fact that “the record reveals that [the] defendant on several occasions has committed or has caused to be committed falsehoods in the pretrial, trial and post-trial proceedings in this matter, reflecting a complete disdain for the law and this Court.” Id. at 208.

         On March 4, 1990, Durrani collaterally attacked his sentence in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on the basis that the government improperly withheld evidence favorable to his defense. In an attempt to comply with Durrani's discovery request, the government asked the Office of Independent Counsel (“OIC”) to produce documents that, to the extent possible, would substantiate Durrani's claims. After an in camera review of the produced documents, Judge Daly ordered some of the documents to be disclosed to Durrani. Nevertheless, the documents were insufficient to substantiate Durrani's claims. Durrani moved for voluntary dismissal of his section 2255 petition in May 1992 and the petition was dismissed with prejudice on December 31, 1992, on account of Durrani's failure to timely refile. Durrani did not appeal.

         In January 2002, Durrani filed a petition to vacate his conviction by writ of error coram nobis or audito querela. I denied the petition and the accompanying request for discovery, holding that it was based on the same grounds raised in his section 2255 motion and thus was procedurally barred. Alternatively, I concluded Durrani had failed to satisfy the conditions for either writ. I denied his discovery requests because: (1) they were overly burdensome and duplicative of the discovery he had already been afforded; (2) he had failed to raise a colorable claim under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); and (3) he had failed to appeal the denial of his section 2255 motion. The Second Circuit affirmed the denial of the petition on the merits, after assuming Durrani was not procedurally barred, on November 24, 2004. Durrani, 115 F.App'x 500.

         Having fully served his sentence of imprisonment and been released from custody, Durrani was later arrested and convicted of additional charges in 2006 in the Southern District of California. Durrani served a term of incarceration for those offenses and is currently in removal proceedings, presumably as a result of those offenses.[1]

         In 2007, Durrani once again attempted to collaterally attack his conviction. Durrani filed 14 separate motions or petitions, all of which attempted to challenge either his two prior convictions, the forfeiture of his assets, or his immigration status. I denied those motions in September 2009, holding that some claims were procedurally barred and others lacked merit. Doc. # 43. One of the motions that I denied in my September 2009 ruling related to the government's alleged failure to comply with its obligations under Brady and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972). I recognized that that claim had already been raised by Durrani and rejected by this court twice. Further, I held that, even though he claimed to have discovered previously withheld documents, Durrani failed to point to any evidence that called into question the court's previous rulings.

         Beginning in 2014, Durrani yet again sought to collaterally attack his conviction. He once again asserted that the government failed to properly disclose evidence favorable to the defense in violation of Brady and Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. In addition, he argued that Judge Daly improperly quashed a subpoena duces tecum served by Durrani's trial counsel in March 1987, and he sought further discovery regarding the documents that Judge Daly reviewed in camera throughout the course of the proceeding. Finally, he filed a motion for a copy of the search warrant and inventory list made by one of the investigators in the case, and he requested a hearing at which he would be permitted to seek the partial return of assets seized as a result of his conviction.

         On November 23, 2015, I denied Durrani's various pending requests for relief. Most relevant to the instant motion, I held that:

Like the government, the court is not aware of any procedural mechanism that permits a defendant to move to re-open his case 27 years after it was decided. To the extent that Durrani seeks a new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence, such a motion is untimely because it was not filed within three years of the verdict. See Fed. R. Crim P. 33(b)(1). If cast as a second petition for writ of coram nobis, it is similarly untimely, given the fact that I determined Durrani's first petition to be untimely when it was filed twelve years ago. See Durrani, 284 F.Supp.2d at 214-15. Finally, to the extent that Durrani brings his motion under Rule 60, on the ground of newly discovered evidence, it is untimely because it was not filed within one year after the conviction. See Doc. # 43 at 6.
Regardless of how Durrani's motion (doc. # 44) to re-open is styled, in the interests of the finality of a criminal conviction, the ...

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