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Law School Case Brief

Katz v. United States - 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9764 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 27, 2012)

Rule:

The writ of coram nobis may not be used to circumvent the clear congressional directive embodied in the "second or successive" provisions of 28 U.S.C.S. § 2255.

Facts:

Petitioner Harry Meyer Katz was convicted by a jury in federal district court on 176 counts of attempted and actual distribution of Schedule III and IV controlled substances outside the scope of his medical practice. He was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment, a fine of $75,000, a special assessment of $17,600, and a two-year term of supervised release. Because of those convictions, Katz was precluded from practicing medicine. Katz filed a motion for a judgment of acquittal or for a new trial, which the district court denied. Katz then filed a direct appeal of his conviction to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which affirmed the district court's rulings and the jury verdict. Katz then filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States, which was denied. Katz then filed a petition for a writ of coram nobis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 1651(a), seeking relief on grounds, among others, of ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and the denial of due process in that new evidence demonstrated his actual innocence.

Issue:

Should the court grant Katz's petition for a writ of coram nobis?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court denied the petition for a writ of coram nobis. The court ruled that the grounds raised in Katz's petition did not warrant the extraordinary writ of coram nobis. As a fundamental matter, the court explained, Katz did not raise any allegations that would challenge the "validity and regularity of the trial process itself," as required for invocation of the writ. Additionally, even if he was correct that no other writs were available to him given the fact that he was no longer in federal custody, he could not use the writ to relitigate matters that had already been decided on the merits. In his previous petition under 28 U.S.C.S. § 2255, he raised the exact same arguments, which were rejected by the district court judge. The court refused to reexamine the same legal and factual issues that were previously adjudicated by another district judge.

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