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Moon v. United States

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

December 2, 2016

JAMES MOON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. CV. No. 16-00171 DKW-RLP

          ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE DENIAL OF HIS PETITION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255 PURSUANT TO FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 59(E)

          Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge.

         On August 16, 2016, the Court denied Petitioner James Moon's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence (“Section 2255 Motion”), in which Moon alleged ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct based on an alleged breach of his Plea Agreement by the Government. See Dkt. No. 112 (8/16/16 Order). Moon now seeks reconsideration of that order.

         Notwithstanding the broad waiver provision in his Plea Agreement that prohibits collateral attacks in most circumstances, Moon, in his Section 2255 Motion, and again in his Motion for Reconsideration, seeks to set aside his sentence as purportedly based on a larger quantity of drugs than he contemplated when he entered his Plea Agreement with the United States.[1] Because Moon presents no newly discovered evidence, intervening change in the law, or clear error committed in the Court's prior order, the Motion for Reconsideration is denied. Moon's request for a certificate of appealability is also denied.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes motions to alter or amend a judgment.[2] “The Rule 59(e) motion may not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.” 11 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur Miller, and Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice & Procedure § 2810.1 (3d ed. West 2015).

A district court may properly reconsider its decision if it “(1) is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) committed clear error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust, or (3) if there is an intervening change in controlling law.” School Dist. No. 1J v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). Clear error occurs when “the reviewing court on the entire record is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948).

Smith v. Clark Cnty. Sch. Dist., 727 F.3d 950, 955 (9th Cir. 2013).

         “[R]econsideration of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.” McDowell v. Calderon, 197 F.3d 1253, 1255 n.1 (9th Cir. 1999) (en banc). A decision whether to grant or deny a Rule 59(e) motion is committed to the sound discretion of this court. Id. n.1 (“[T]he district court enjoys considerable discretion in granting or denying the motion[.]”); see also Herbst v. Cook, 260 F.3d 1039, 1044 (9th Cir. 2001) (Holding that “denial of a motion for reconsideration is reviewed only for an abuse of discretion[.]”).

         II. Reconsideration Is Not Warranted

         Moon's Rule 59(e) Motion for Reconsideration reiterates the grounds raised in his earlier Section 2255 Motion. The Section 2255 Motion was unpersuasive, and this one is as well.

         The Court once again notes that, because Moon knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to collaterally attack his conviction and sentence based upon the written waiver within the Plea Agreement, Moon is not entitled to challenge his sentence by means of a Section 2255 Motion, except to the extent that attack is based on the alleged ineffective assistance of counsel. See 8/16/16 Order at 8-10.[3]

         A. Breach Of Plea Agreement And Drug Quantity Arguments

         The bulk of Moon's arguments rehash his prior contentions regarding relevant conduct that the Court already rejected: specifically, Moon's erroneous belief that his Plea Agreement somehow limited the Court to holding him responsible for no more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and/or 500 grams of cocaine. Consistent with the Indictment, his Plea Agreement says exactly the opposite: that Moon would plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute “500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 500 grams or ...


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