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United States of America v. Theodore H. Leblanc

January 25, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
THEODORE H. LEBLANC



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Yohn, J.

Memorandum

Defendant Theodore H. LeBlanc has filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on the grounds that the government withheld exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and that his convictions for honest-services fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1346 are invalid in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Skilling v. United States, 130 S. Ct. 2896 (2010). As discussed below, his motion is untimely under the statute of limitations set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). I will therefore dismiss the motion without an evidentiary hearing.

I. Factual Background and Procedural History

On April 18, 2006, a jury convicted LeBlanc of one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, six counts of honest-services mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341, 1346, one count of soliciting a bribe in relation to a program receiving federal funds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666, one count of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344, and one count of filing false income taxes in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1). On August 22, 2006, I sentenced LeBlanc to 51 months of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, a $1,000 fine, a $1,000 special assessment, and restitution of $83,000. LeBlanc completed the sentence of incarceration and is currently serving the sentence of supervised release.

These convictions stem from LeBlanc's actions as the mayor of the Borough of Norristown, Pennsylvania. In February 2003, while mayor, LeBlanc accepted a $10,000 cash bribe from Herbert Bagley, an insurance broker, in exchange for awarding Bagley a lucrative insurance contract with Norristown. At trial, LeBlanc argued that the $10,000 payment was a personal loan-not a bribe-and entered into evidence a copy of a "judgment note" that he had purportedly executed in February 2003 in favor of Bagley. The government argued that the note was a "sham" that had been prepared after LeBlanc and Bagley became aware that they were being investigated. The government emphasized that a search of LeBlanc's and Bagley's homes and businesses in April 2004 uncovered no such documents and that a copy of the note was first produced in January 2006, a mere three months before LeBlanc's trial.

LeBlanc filed a timely appeal arguing that the government knew that the note had been executed before the government began its investigation and that the government's efforts at trial to characterize the note as fabricated thus constituted prosecutorial misconduct. The Third Circuit found LeBlanc's argument unconvincing and affirmed his conviction on September 24, 2007.

LeBlanc filed this section 2255 motion on July 1, 2011, and an amendment to the motion on September 6, 2011.*fn1 The government filed its response on November 4, 2011, and argues that the motion is barred by AEDPA's one-year statute of limitations. The government further argues that even if timely, LeBlanc's motion should be denied on the merits. As discussed below, I agree that LeBlanc's motion is untimely and I will dismiss the motion.

II. Discussion

Under section 2255, a prisoner in federal custody*fn2 may move the sentencing court to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence if "the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, . . . the court was without jurisdiction to impose [the] sentence, . . . the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or [the sentence] is otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255. When a prisoner files a section 2255 motion, the district court may dismiss the motion without an evidentiary hearing if "the motion and files and records of the case show conclusively that the movant is not entitled to relief." Virgin Islands v. Forte, 865 F.2d 59, 62 (3d Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). In making this determination, "the court must accept the truth of the movant's factual allegations unless they are clearly frivolous on the basis of the existing record." Id.

LeBlanc's motion is governed by AEDPA. See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 326 (1997). Under AEDPA, a federal prisoner seeking habeas relief under section 2255 must file his motion within one year from the latest of (1) 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) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). Subsections (1), (3), and (4) are relevant to LeBlanc's motion.*fn3 A defendant's judgment of conviction becomes ...


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