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United States v. Santarelli

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

July 5, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
TAMARA SANTARELLI, Appellant in Appeal No. 16-4114 IN RE: TAMARA SANTARELLI, Petitioner in Appeal No. 18-1362

          Argued: April 24, 2018

          On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 3-11-cr-00036-002) District Judge: Hon. Edwin M. Kosik

          Connor J. Baer [ARGUED] [*] J. Nicholas Ranjan Lucas J. Tanglen K&L Gates Pro Bono Counsel for Appellant

          Sean A. Camoni [ARGUED] Michelle L. Olshefski Kate L. Mershimer Counsel for Appellee

          Before: McKEE, AMBRO, and RESTREPO, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          RESTREPO, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Tamara Santarelli appeals the District Court's denial of her motion to amend ("Motion to Amend") her initial habeas petition. We also consider whether the petition ("Subsequent Petition") that Santarelli seeks to file in the District Court, which she annexed to the motion ("Motion to File Subsequent Petition") that she filed in this Court during the pendency of this appeal, constitutes a "second or successive" habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244 and 2255(h). For the reasons that follow, we hold that the allegations contained in Santarelli's Motion to Amend "relate back" to the date of her initial habeas petition pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c) and that her Subsequent Petition is not a "second or successive" habeas petition within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244 and 2255(h). We therefore will reverse the order of the District Court denying Santarelli's Motion to Amend; remand for the District Court to consider the merits of her initial habeas petition as amended by the allegations contained in the Motion to Amend; and, construing Santarelli's Motion to File Subsequent Petition as a motion to amend her initial habeas petition, transfer the Motion to File Subsequent Petition to the District Court to determine, in the first instance, whether Santarelli should be permitted to amend her initial habeas petition to incorporate the allegations contained in the Subsequent Petition.

         I.

         In October 2011, a jury convicted Santarelli of multiple crimes in connection with a scheme that allegedly began in 2006, including (a) mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341-1342; (b) wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343; and (c) conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.[1] The District Court held a sentencing hearing in October 2013 and, applying the applicable sentencing range contained in the 2012 version of the United States Sentencing Commission's Guidelines Manual ("Sentencing Guidelines" or "Guidelines"), sentenced Santarelli to a seventy-month term of imprisonment and a three-year term of supervised release. Santarelli timely filed a notice of appeal, and, on August 21, 2014, our Court affirmed her conviction. See United States v. Santarelli, 577 Fed.Appx. 131 (3d Cir. 2014). Santarelli's conviction became final on December 12, 2014.

         On November 30, 2015, within the applicable one-year statute of limitations, Santarelli timely filed a petition for habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In her initial habeas petition, Santarelli alleged, among other things, that her trial and appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance in a combined 130 ways, including:

• "failure to appeal sentence as requested by [Santarelli]," App. 97a, no. 26;
• "failure to argue [presentence investigation report ("]PSR[")] errors at sentencing," id. no. 30;
• "failure to appeal PSR errors," id. no. 31;
• "failure to discuss PSR with [Santarelli]," id. no. 32;
• "failure to discuss [and] advise [Santarelli of] the [S]entencing [G]uidelines, laws, rules[, ] or otherwise," id. no. 33;
• "failure to prepare . . . before sentencing other than [to] read the PSR," id. at 98a, no. 35;
• "failure to argue [in opposition to] the number of victims enhancement of two (2) points [and]/or failure to argue effectively [in opposition thereto, ] which increased [Santarelli]'s sentence [by] around ...

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