Andiarena v. U.S.

Decision Date26 June 1992
Docket NumberNo. 91-1943,91-1943
Citation967 F.2d 715
PartiesOscar ANDIARENA, Petitioner, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Respondent, Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit

Oscar Andiarena, on brief pro se.

Richard S. Cohen, U.S. Atty. and F. Mark Terison, Asst. U.S. Atty., Portland, Me., on brief, for respondent, appellee.

Before BREYER, Chief Judge, CAMPBELL, Senior Circuit Judge, and CYR, Circuit Judge.


Oscar Andiarena (petitioner) appeals pro se from the denial of his second petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate his sentence. The district court dismissed the petition as an "abuse of the writ" pursuant to McCleskey v. Zant, --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 1454, 113 L.Ed.2d 517 (1991). We affirm.


In 1985, petitioner was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and thereafter was sentenced to a 30-year prison term. On appeal, represented by new counsel, he cited as error (1) the district court's admission into evidence of prior bad acts, (2) the court reporter's failure to transcribe portions of audiotapes, and (3) the alleged ineffectiveness of trial counsel. We rejected each argument and affirmed the judgment. United States v. Andiarena, 823 F.2d 673 (1st Cir.1987). In May 1990, petitioner filed a pro se § 2255 petition raising a single contention: that his sentence had been unconstitutionally augmented in reprisal for his exercise of his right to trial. The district court rejected this argument on the merits, as did we in an unpublished opinion. Andiarena v. United States, 940 F.2d 646 (1st Cir.1991).

Two weeks later, on April 16, 1991, petitioner filed a second § 2255 petition. 1 He there advanced seven allegations: (1) the indictment was not triable in Maine because venue properly lay only in Florida, (2) his trial attorney was ineffective, (3) the indictment was defective due to insufficiency of the evidence, (4) evidence of past crimes was erroneously admitted, (5) three witnesses testified falsely, (6) the government knew of and condoned such perjury, and (7) the district court abused its discretion on various occasions, particularly in its jury instructions, its evidentiary rulings, and its refusal to permit trial counsel to withdraw.

By coincidence, on the same day that this petition was filed, the Supreme Court handed down its McCleskey decision. The Court there held that the cause-and-prejudice standard applicable to cases of procedural default, see, e.g., Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U.S. 72, 97 S.Ct. 2497, 53 L.Ed.2d 594 (1977), should likewise govern abuse of the writ jurisprudence. If the government adequately pleads abuse of the writ, the Court explained,

[t]he burden to disprove abuse then becomes petitioner's. To excuse his failure to raise the claim earlier, he must show cause for failing to raise it and prejudice therefrom as those concepts have been defined in our procedural default decisions.... If petitioner cannot show cause, the failure to raise the claim in an earlier petition may nonetheless be excused if he or she can show that a fundamental miscarriage of justice would result from a failure to entertain the claim.

111 S.Ct. at 1470. In its response to the petition here, the government satisfied its burden of pleading abuse of the writ: it detailed petitioner's prior writ history and argued that he lacked cause for having failed to include the present claims in his earlier petition. The district court directed petitioner to explain why dismissal under McCleskey would be improper. After considering petitioner's response, the court summarily dismissed the petition as an abuse of the writ.


In contesting the district court's decision, petitioner raises two threshold issues. First, he argues that McCleskey is inapplicable because it involved a state prisoner's habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, not one filed by a federal prisoner under § 2255. It is true that the McCleskey Court emphasized notions of federalism and comity, see 111 S.Ct. at 1468-70, which are of course absent in the § 2255 context. Yet the central concern underlying its ruling--the importance of promoting finality in the criminal arena--is not confined to state prisoners. "[T]he Federal Government, no less than the States, has an interest in the finality of its criminal judgments." United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 166, 102 S.Ct. 1584, 1593, 71 L.Ed.2d 816 (1982) (applying cause-and-prejudice standard to procedural defaults in § 2255 context). Moreover, the Court in McCleskey was guided in part by its interpretation of Rule 9(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, which was seen as incorporating the judge-made principle governing abuse of the writ. 111 S.Ct. at 1466-67. A counterpart to this rule--identically worded in all relevant respects--appears in the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings. 2 See also Sanders v. United States, 373 U.S. 1, 14, 83 S.Ct. 1068, 1076, 10 L.Ed.2d 148 (1963) (standard for abuse of writ under § 2255 is "material equivalent" of abuse standard in § 2254 cases) (quoted in McCleskey, 111 S.Ct. at 1465). We therefore conclude, as have apparently all other courts addressing the issue, that the standard announced in McCleskey is equally applicable to § 2255 proceedings. Accord, e.g., Van Daalwyk v. United States, 792 F.Supp. 622, (E.D.Wis.1992); United States v. MacDonald, 778 F.Supp. 1342, 1357 (E.D.N.C.1991), aff'd, 966 F.2d 854 (4th Cir.1992). 3

Second, petitioner contends that the McCleskey decision should be accorded prospective effect only. Applying the cause-and-prejudice standard in this context, he suggests, constitutes a "new rule" which, under Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 109 S.Ct. 1060, 103 L.Ed.2d 334 (1989), should not be applied retroactively to cases on collateral review. Yet the McCleskey Court indicated that, rather than creating a new rule, it was attempting simply "to define the doctrine of abuse of the writ with more precision," 111 S.Ct. at 1467, and to "clarif[y] the imprecise contours of the term 'inexcusable neglect,' " id. at 1471. It also explained that its decision followed directly from "a review of our habeas corpus precedents," id. at 1468, and was "consistent with ... our modern abuse of the writ decisions," id. at 1471. Relying on this language, the court in Harris v. Vasquez, 949 F.2d 1497 (9th Cir.1990), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 112 S.Ct. 1275, 117 L.Ed.2d 501 (1992), rejected the very argument petitioner now advances. 4 Id. at 1512; accord Andrews v. Deland, 943 F.2d 1162, 1172 n. 7 (10th Cir.1991) (McCleskey applies retroactively as it "involves a clarification of a procedural rule, not a change in substantive law"), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 112 S.Ct. 1213, 117 L.Ed.2d 451 (1992); Russell v. Collins, 944 F.2d 202, 205 (5th Cir.) (per curiam) (same), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 112 S.Ct. 30, 115 L.Ed.2d 1112 (1991). Other courts have held that, whether or not McCleskey announced a "new rule," the fact that the Court there applied its decision to Mr. McCleskey himself requires retroactive application in other pending cases. United States v. MacDonald, 966 F.2d 854, 858 n. 6 (4th Cir.1992) (invoking James B. Beam Distilling Co. v. Georgia, --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 2439, 115 L.Ed.2d 481 (1991)); Turnpaugh v. Johnson, 780 F.Supp. 476, 478 n. 1 (E.D.Mich.1992). And in dozens of other cases, courts have applied McCleskey retroactively without addressing the issue. 5 We therefore find that the McCleskey standard governs here. 6

With these preliminaries out of the way, the instant case can be readily disposed of. Five of the seven issues advanced in the instant petition are presented for the first time. 7 The McCleskey Court indicated that, to establish "cause" for failure to raise a claim in a prior petition, one must show that some external impediment, such as government interference or the reasonable unavailability of the factual or legal basis for a claim, prevented it from being raised earlier. 111 S.Ct. at 1472. Petitioner has fallen well short of meeting this standard. He explains only that, at the time he filed his first petition, he did not have access to the transcripts of his trial. Yet in his reply brief, he admits that he still has not obtained the transcripts. His explanation, feeble to begin with, thus falters entirely: as he was here able to advance these claims without having possession of the transcripts, he plainly could have done so earlier. Moreover, the factual and legal basis underlying each of these claims was obviously apparent at the time of trial; nothing in petitioner's current arguments provides any justification for the delay in raising them. 8

The remaining inquiry is whether petitioner has shown that a "fundamental miscarriage of justice would result" from a failure to entertain any of his claims. McCleskey, 111 S.Ct. at 1470. If so, the fact that he failed to raise that claim in his earlier petition could be excused, notwithstanding his inability to show cause therefor. Yet this exception involves only a "narrow class of cases"--ones involving "extraordinary instances when a constitutional violation probably has caused the conviction of one innocent of the crime." Id. Here, the only claims potentially embraced by this exception are the perjury allegations. And, upon examination, these claims fall well short of satisfying this rigorous standard.

Petitioner first argues in this regard that coconspirator Luis Llerena testified falsely that he delivered $2,000 in drug proceeds to petitioner in Miami on November 7, 1984. According to petitioner, Llerena was in Maine from November 4 to November 10, and so could not have made any such delivery on November 7. The government responds that petitioner has misread the record: Llerena in fact testified he gave the money to petitioner, not on November 7, but when he flew to Miami on November 10. We are unable to verify this assertion, as the trial transcripts...

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