United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
William E. Smith, Chief Judge.
the Court are Donna Saccoccia's Petition for Writ of
Error Coram Nobis to Vacate Forfeiture Judgment and Motion
for Refund” (“Def. Pet.”), ECF No. 478,
and Vincent Hurley's Motion to Adopt Motion of Other
Defendants,  ECF No. 456. For the reasons that follow,
the Court DENIES both Saccoccia's Petition and
Donna Saccoccia, as well as her brother, Vincent Hurley, her
husband, Stephen Saccoccia, and other co-defendants, were
convicted in 1993 of a RICO conspiracy involving money
laundering. United States v. Saccoccia, 823 F.Supp.
994, 997 (D.R.I. 1993). Donna Saccoccia was sentenced to 14
years in prison and a forfeiture judgment of $136, 344,
231.86, the amount that Judge Torres found that the
defendants had laundered on behalf of Columbian drug
traffickers. See United States v. Hurley, 63 F.3d 1,
7 (1st Cir. 1995); Saccoccia, 823 F.Supp. at 1006.
filed her petition on May 4, 2018 and Hurley filed his motion
on May 30, 2018. The United States filed its Response to
Defendants' Petition for Writ of Coram Nobis
(“Gov't Resp.), which responds to both
Saccoccia's Petition and Hurley's Motion, on August
13, 2018, ECF No. 460. This Order follows.
of Coram Nobis
brings this claim pursuant to the All Writs act, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1651, a remedy available to “fill whatever
interstices exist in the post-conviction remedial scheme made
available to federal prisoners by way of [28 U.S.C. §]
2255.” Trenkler v. United States, 536 F.3d 85,
97 (1st Cir. 2008) (citing United States v. Ayala,
894 F.2d 425, 428 (D.C. Cir. 1990)). Petitioner argues that
United States v. Honeycutt, 137 S.Ct. 1626 (2017),
which held that the Government's right to obtain
forfeited proceeds under 21 U.S.C. § 853 is limited to
property the defendant actually acquired, should also be
applied to forfeitures under 18 U.S.C. § 1963. Def. Pet.
3-4. Therefore, petitioner argues, the forfeiture judgment
against her, which was based on joint and several liability,
should be vacated. Def. Pet. 4.
may grant relief under the writ of error coram nobis only
where a plaintiff “explain[s] his failure to seek
earlier relief from the judgment, show[s] that he continues
to suffer significant collateral consequences from the
judgment, and demonstrate[s] that the judgment resulted from
an error of the most fundamental character.” United
States v. George, 676 F.3d 249, 254 (1st Cir. 2012)).
Moreover, “it is not enough for a coram nobis
petitioner to show that he can satisfy the elements of the
tripartite test: he must also show that justice demands the
extraordinary balm of coram nobis relief.” Id.
at 255 (citing Hager v. United States, 993 F.2d 4, 5
(1st Cir. 1993)).
arguendo that this writ is the proper procedural vehicle for
this challenge, that the holding of Honeycutt
applies to the statute at issue in this case, and that
Honeycutt applies retroactively - all issues the
Court need not decide today - Petitioner's claims fail on
their substance. Simply put, there is no error here to
correct. The sentencing judge found that both
Petitioner and her husband were deeply involved in the
conspiracy to launder drug cartels' money by purchasing
gold. Saccoccia, 823 F.Supp. at 998. Specifically,
both Donna and Stephen controlled the account through which
the $136, 344, 231.86 was laundered, and that was the amount
Donna was ordered to forfeit. Id. at 999;
Hurley, 63 F.3d at 7. Vincent Hurley chose to have
the jury determine, by special verdict form, that he was
liable for the same amount of money also. Hurley, 63
F.3d at 20. Thus, there is no legal merit to their argument
that the forfeiture judgments against Donna and Vincent
should be vacated because they were based on joint and
even if Petitioner could convince the court that an
“error” was made in the forfeiture judgments,
Petitioner has clearly not shown that it was an “error
of the most fundamental character.” George,
676 F.3d at 254. Courts, including this one, have held that
“alleged errors in restitution orders, criminal fines,
and forfeiture orders are not ‘fundamental to the
underlying convictions.'” Saccoccia, 2019
WL 1382280 at *2 (quoting United States v. Iacaboni,
592 F.Supp.2d 216, 221 (D. Mass. 2009)); see United
States v. Sloan, 505 F.3d 685, 697 (7th Cir. 2007);
United States v. Keane, 852 F.2d 199, 204 (7th Cir.
1988); Lowery v. United States, 956 F.2d 227, 229
(11th Cir. 1992). Therefore, Plaintiff fails to state a
plausible claim for coram nobis relief.
U.S.C. § 1355 Motion for Refund
also asks this Court to order a refund of all money seized by
the Government until now, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1355.
Def. Pet. 1, 8. However, even if this were a valid procedural
avenue through which to challenge the forfeiture order, this
challenge is premised on the idea that
“Honeycutt invalidated the judgment, ”
which, for the ...