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United States of America v. Ethan Motta (05

December 17, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ETHAN MOTTA (05), DEFENDANT. )



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

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT ETHAN MOTTA'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER DENYING DISCOVERY REQUESTS

I. INTRODUCTION.

Defendant Ethan Motta filed multiple motions seeking discovery to support his motions for a new trial. Because Motta failed to show any entitlement to such discovery, all of the discovery-related motions were denied. Motta now seeks reconsideration of that order. Because Motta fails to establish any reason to reconsider the order, the motion for reconsideration is denied.

II. BACKGROUND.

On March 20, 2009, a jury convicted Motta of Counts 1 (substantive RICO), 2 (RICO conspiracy), 3 (illegal gambling business), 6 (violent crime in aid of racketeering--murder of Lepo Taliese), 7 (violent crime in aid of racketeering--murder of Romelius Corpuz, Jr.), and 8 (violent crime in aid of racketeering--attempted murder of Tinoimalo Sao) of the Second Superseding Indictment. Motta received a life-in-prison sentence, as required by statute.

Motta appealed. On January 10, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment.

In connection with a slew of motions for a new trial, which are still pending, Motta filed five motions concerning discovery. See ECF Nos. 1360, 1375, 1379, 1383, and 1386. All of these discovery-related motions were denied. See ECF No. 1430. Motta moves for reconsideration of that order. See ECF No. 1434.

III. 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). In ruling on motions for reconsideration in criminal cases, 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). 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 Federal Practice and Procedure § 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 Federal Practice and Procedure § 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 ...


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