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CAVINESS v. HOLT

November 2, 2005.

SCOT CAVINESS, Petitioner,
v.
RONNIE HOLT, Warden, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD CONABOY, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

Before the Court is Scot Caviness' ("Petitioner") Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment, (Doc. 20), pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Petitioner again seeks Habeas Corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and claims that this Court should reconsider its August 24, 2005, Memorandum and Order based on an error of law.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

  Petitioner was arrested with two co-defendants on December 7, 1989, following a six-month investigation conducted by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Arraignment was held on December 18, 1989, and all three defendants were charged with: (1) Possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); (2) Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 846; (3) Possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). Petitioner and his two co-defendants proceeded to a jury trial on March 19, 1990, and were found guilty of all counts on March 23, 1990. The defendants were sentenced on August 31, 1990, and the sentences were affirmed on appeal on December 31, 1992.

  In June of 1994, Petitioner absconded from the Federal Prison Camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. On January 8, 1999, he was arrested in Florida on the escape charges and brought back into custody. Petitioner pled guilty to escape and received a sentence of twelve months to run consecutive to the remainder of his original sentence.

  On November 3, 2000, Petitioner filed a Motion to Modify the Sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c). The motion was denied on June 12, 2002. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration and that motion was denied on August 20, 2002. Petitioner appealed and the ruling was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on December 23, 2003.

  On September 22, 2004, Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to § 2241. In that petition, Petitioner maintained that the extent of his liability was limited to the one kilogram of cocaine seized from him at the time of his arrest. He alleged that his sentence should have reflected the extent of only his personal conduct and not the conspiracy as a whole. Petitioner cited a 1992 amendment of § 1B1.3 of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines which he alleges instructed courts to consider the particularized conduct of each defendant in a drug conspiracy. According to Petitioner, the guidelines were amended while his case was on appeal and should have been applied retroactively to his sentence.

  On May 24, 2005, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation and recommended that Petitioner's claim be dismissed. On May 24, 2005, this Court adopted the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation and denied Petitioner's claim.

  On September 12, 2005, Petitioner filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration.

  II. DISCUSSION

  A. Petitioner Filed a Motion to Amend the Judgment

  On September 12, 2005, Petitioner filed a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment along with a supporting Memorandum. (Docs. 20 & 21). Petitioner filed his motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Therefore, we will consider Petitioner's motion as a Motion for Reconsideration.

  B. Standard Applied for Motion to Reconsider

  "The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). A motion for reconsideration of an order dismissing a complaint is recognized by the Third Circuit as the "functional equivalent" of a Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) motion to alter or amend a judgment. Local 634 School Cafeteria Workers, AFL-CIO v. Hanley, 1996 WL 170321, *2 (E.D.Pa. 1996) (citing Federal Kemper Ins. Co. v. Rauscher, 807 F.2d 345, 348 (3d. Cir. 1986)). Furthermore, a timely filed motion for reconsideration under a local rule is a motion to alter or amend judgment under ...


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