United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
OPINION AND ORDER
Donetta W. Ambrose, U.S. District Court Senior Judge
April, 2004, Defendant pleaded guilty to two Counts, of
violating 21 U.S.C. § 846 and 18 U.S.C. § 1956. On
August 15, 2014, he was sentenced to a term of 120 months
imprisonment at each Count, to run concurrently. On December
7, 2015, Defendant filed a pro se Motion to Vacate
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The Motion asserts that
counsel was ineffective for failing to file an appeal;
failing to properly deal with the safety valve and offense
level with regard to sentencing; and failing to object to a
stipulation in the plea agreement. Defendant later
supplemented his Motion, again asserting instances of
ineffective assistance regarding Defendant's plea and
sentence. Then, on April 6, 2017, Defendant requested that
his Motion to Vacate be held in abeyance, and that he be
granted the opportunity to submit additional supporting
materials. As a basis for this request, Defendant averred
that he had become aware of an unspecified fraud, by officers
of the Court, upon the Court. I granted Defendant's
request, allowing him until July 13, 2017 to submit
then filed a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter
Jurisdiction, alleging that his indictment was void.
Alongside the Motion to Dismiss, he filed a Motion to Compel
Production of Grand Jury Materials, and a Motion for Bail
Pending Motion to Dismiss. Each of these Motions centered on
Defendant's contention that the indicting grand jury was
in existence longer than permitted by law, and was thus
expired when the indictments were returned. The Government
responded to Defendant's Motions. The Motions were then
denied in three separate Orders dated May 9, 2017 (“May
Defendant has filed a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e)(e), seeking
reconsideration of the May 9 Orders. I have now considered
Defendant's Reply, which he filed contemporaneously with
his Rule 59(e) Motion. Because Defendant reasserts arguments
presented in prior petitions, to which the Government already
responded, no further response from the Government is
required. Moreover, I consider Defendant's submissions
according to the well-established liberal standards afforded
pro se litigants.
proper Rule 59(e) motion . . . must rely on one of three
grounds: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2)
the availability of new evidence; or (3) the need to correct
clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice."
Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591 F.3d 666, 669 (3d Cir.
2010). Reconsidering this Court's Orders of May 9, 2017
is not justified, as no grounds for reconsideration are
Defendant was not named in the original indictment, a
superseding indictment against him was filed on June 15,
2010. The Government represents, and Defendant does not
dispute, that grand jury Panel ZZ was in session and had not
expired at that time. The process of successive grand juries
does not create a defect in the indictment or grand jury
procedure, or otherwise provide a basis to challenge this
Court's jurisdiction. See, e.g.,
United States v. Dyer, No. 15-115, 2016 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 165974 (E.D. Wis. Dec. 1, 2016); United States v.
Plaskett, No. 07-60, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8561 (D.V.I.
Feb. 4, 2008) (collecting cases). As regards the disclosure
of grand jury materials, such disclosure requires a
“particularized need … which outweighs the
public interest in secrecy.” United States v.
Jackson, 363 Fed.Appx. 159, 161 (3d Cir. Feb. 1, 2010)
(quoting United States v. McDowell, 888 F.2d 285,
289 (3d Cir. 1989)). A “particularized need” is
required because "[a]s a matter of public policy, grand
jury proceedings generally must remain secret except where
there is a compelling necessity." Id. Here, in
light of the fact that his jurisdictional challenge is
without merit, and the lack of any credible suggestion of
impropriety in the grand jury proceedings, Defendant has not
shown the required need. Accordingly, there are no grounds to
reconsider, alter, or amend, this Court's May 9 Orders.
final matter, Defendant appears to challenge the authority of
Government counsel of record to act on the Government's
behalf, and requests both that their submissions to the Court
be stricken and that they supply records confirming their
positions. The authority of Government counsel is readily
verifiable through publicly available sources, such as the
United States Department of Justice website. I decline to
take the requested action.
foregoing reasons, Defendant's Motion to Alter or Amend
Judgment, and all requests contained therein, will be denied.
Defendant's Section 2255 Motion, and its challenges to
counsel's ineffectiveness at the plea and sentence
phases, shall remain in abeyance until July 13, 2017. An
appropriate Order follows.
NOW, this 15th day of June, 2017, Defendant's Motion to
Alter or Amend Judgment is DENIED.
 The Motion replaced an earlier Section
2255 Motion, which Defendant withdrew pursuant to
Miller notice. Judge Cercone presided over this
matter, until it was transferred to my docket on November 30,
 It is unclear whether Defendant
intends to supplement his Section 2255 Motion with an attack
on this Court's subject matter jurisdiction, or instead
to solely raise the challenge via the independently filed
Motion to Dismiss. A motion alleging lack of jurisdiction
must be made while a case is still “pending, ”
pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b)(2). See,
e.g., United ...