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United States of America v. Ramiro Hernandez

August 20, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
RAMIRO HERNANDEZ, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Oki Mollway Chief United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND SPECIFIC RULINGS

I. INTRODUCTION.

On February 1, 2012, Ramiro Hernandez was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to distribute and possess methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and attempted possession of methamphetamine. Hernandez now moves for reconsideration of portions of this court's order denying his motion for a new trial, or for more specific rulings. In particular, he disagrees with this court's ruling that he was not deprived of his Sixth Amendment right of confrontation when, at trial, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Sean Zelka, testified about statements made by a witness, Raymond Villagomez, who had refused to testify. The court denies Hernandez's reconsideration motion.

The parties are familiar with the facts of this case. The facts relevant to the present motion are detailed in this court's order denying Hernandez's motion for a new trial and are not repeated here. See Order Denying Defendants' Motion for New Trial and/or Judgment of Acquittal ("Order"), May 3, 2012, ECF No. 418.

II. LEGAL STANDARD.

Although the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not expressly authorize the filing of motions for reconsideration, circuit courts, including the Ninth Circuit, have held that motions for reconsideration may be filed in criminal cases. See United States v. Fiorelli, 337 F.3d 282, 288 (3d Cir. 2003) ("As noted by the Second and Ninth Circuits, motions for reconsideration may be filed in criminal cases"); United States v. Martin, 226 F.3d 1042, 1047 n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) ("As the Second Circuit noted . . . , post-judgment motions for reconsideration may be filed in criminal cases"); United States v. Mendez, 2008 WL 2561962, at *1 (C.D. Cal. June 25, 2008) (ruling on a motion seeking reconsideration of an order denying a defendant's request that the government be directed to provide a list of its potential witnesses at trial); United States v. Hector, 368 F. Supp. 2d 1060, 1063 (C. D. Cal. 2005), rev'd on other grounds, 474 F.3d 1150 (9th Cir. 2007) (ruling on a reconsideration motion regarding an order denying a motion to suppress).

"[M]otions for reconsideration in criminal cases are governed by the rules that govern equivalent motions in civil proceedings." Mendez, 2008 WL 2561962, at *2 (citing Hector, 368 F. Supp. 2d at 1063, and Fiorelli, 337 F.3d at 286). Courts have relied on the standards governing Rule 59(e) and Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See id. (applying the standard governing Rule 60(b)); Hector, 368 F. Supp. 2d at 1063 (analyzing a reconsideration motion as a Rule 59(e) motion). See also Martin (stating that a motion seeking reconsideration of a ruling on a § 2255 petition appears to be properly governed by Rule 59(e)). Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 57(b), "Procedure When There is No Controlling Law," states in relevant part, "A judge may regulate practice in any manner consistent with federal law, these rules, and the local rules of the district."

Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes motions to alter or amend a judgment. Such motions "may not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to entry of judgment." 11 Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 2810.1 (2d ed. 1995). A "district court enjoys considerable discretion in granting or denying" a Rule 59(e) motion. McDowell v. Calderon, 197 F.3d 1253, 1255 n.1 (9th Cir. 1999) (quoting Wright et al., supra, § 2810.1). See also Herbst v. Cook, 260 F.3d 1039, 1044 (9th Cir. 2001) ("denial of a motion for reconsideration is reviewed only for an abuse of discretion"). A Rule 59(e) motion may be granted on any of four grounds: (1) a manifest error of law or fact upon which the judgment is based; (2) newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence; (3) manifest injustice; and (4) an intervening change in controlling law. McDowell, 197 F.3d at 1255 n.1 (quoting Wright et al., supra, § 2810.1).

Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits relief from final judgments, orders, or proceedings. Such a motion may be granted on any one of six grounds:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;

(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);

(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;

(4) the judgment is void;

(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it ...


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