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United States v. Waller

United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

March 16, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MICHAEL TYRONE WALLER, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Nora Barry Fischer, United States District Judge

I. INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 29, 2014, this Court denied pro se Defendant Michael Tyrone Waller’s Motion to Suppress. (Docket No. 61). In that opinion, the Court made two findings: (1) the stop of the vehicle in which Mr. Waller was riding was constitutional; and (2) Mr. Waller was not seized for purposes of the Fourth Amendment until after he was forcibly removed from the vehicle, maced, and tased. (Id.).

Presently before the Court is Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Miscarriage of Justice, and False Information, (Docket No. 99), which the Court construes as a Motion for Reconsideration of its Opinion, [1] (Docket No. 61), denying his Motion to Suppress, (Docket No. 18). Upon consideration of all of the parties’ submissions, the evidence of record, their arguments, and for the following reasons, Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration will be denied.

Having previously set forth at length the procedural history and relevant facts in this case in its rulings on Defendant’s other pretrial Motions, the Court does not repeat same herein. (See Docket Nos. 61, 84). As to the Motion pending before this Court, on March 27, 2014, Defendant filed his initial Motion to Suppress. (Docket No. 18). After considering responsive briefing, (Docket No. 20), convening a hearing, (Docket No. 32), and receiving proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, (Docket Nos. 44, 52), the Court denied Defendant’s Motion, (Docket Nos. 61, 62).

The Court convened what was to be a Pretrial Status Conference on December 29, 2014, as a bench trial had been set to start on January 5, 2015. (Docket No. 92). However, at the Status Conference, Defendant notified both the Court and the Government that he had written and mailed the instant Motion, which had not yet been docketed. (Docket No. 97). On December 30, 2014, the Clerk’s Office received and filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration of the denial of his Motion to Suppress, which was dated December 24, 2014. (Docket No. 99). The Motion generally argues that Defendant “has direct evidence that officers fabricated the existence of” “R.N., ” the tipster that police officers claimed provided a description of the car in which Mr. Waller was found. (Id.). The Government responded to this Motion on January 9, 2015. (Docket No. 103).

The Court held a Status Conference on January 20, 2015, wherein, inter alia, the Government allowed Defendant to review a redacted copy of the grand jury testimony of “R.N., ”[2] and Defendant moved the affidavit of Tamika McAfee into evidence. (Docket No. 105). Based on Defendant’s representations at the January 20, 2015 Status Conference, the Court convened an Evidentiary Hearing on February 9, 2015, to receive further evidence on Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration. (Docket No. 114). At the Evidentiary Hearing, no additional evidence was presented, because Defendant’s only expected witness, Tamika McAfee did not appear.[3] At the conclusion of the Hearing, the Court ordered supplemental briefing. (Docket No. 115). The Government filed its Supplemental Reply on February 17, 2015, (Docket No. 116), and the Defendant filed his on February 18, 2015, (Docket No. 118).

On February 24, 2015, without leave of Court, Defendant filed a “Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Suppress.” (Docket No. 119). As the Court ruled on the only Motion to Suppress in this case in August 2014, the Court treats this filing as an additional supplemental brief in support of Defendant’s Motion to Reconsider. The Government substantively responded to same on March 10, 2015. (Docket No. 121). Accordingly, the Defendant’s Motion is now ripe.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The purpose of a motion for reconsideration “is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.” Kabacinski v. Bostrom Seating, Inc., 98 F.App’x 78, 81 (3d Cir. 2004) (quoting Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985)). Because “federal courts have a strong interest in the finality of judgments, ” United States v. Hoey, Cr. No. 09-200, 2011 WL 748152, at *2 (W.D.Pa. Feb. 15, 2011) (citation omitted), the standard that must be met to prevail on a motion for reconsideration is high, see Berry v. Jacobs IMC, LLC, 99 F. App’x 405, 410 (3d Cir. 2004).

The Court may grant a motion for reconsideration if the moving party shows: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence which was not available when the court issued its order; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent a manifest injustice. United States v. Banks, Crim No. 03-245, 2008 WL 5429620, at *1 (W.D.Pa. Dec. 31, 2008) (citing Max’s Seafood Café by Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999)). Motions for reconsideration are not a tool to re-litigate and reargue issues which have already been considered and disposed of by the Court, see Hoey, 2011 WL 748152, at *2 (citation omitted), to express disagreement with the Court’s rulings, see United States v. Perminter, Cr. No. 10-204, 2012 WL 642530, at *7 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 28, 2012), or for addressing arguments that a party should have raised earlier, see United States v. Dupree, 617 F.3d 724, 732-33 (3d Cir. 2010) (quotations omitted). Rather, such a motion is appropriate only where the court misunderstood a party or where there has been a significant change in law or facts since the Court originally ruled on that issue. Hoey, 2011 WL 748152, at *2.

III. ANALYSIS

Initially, the Court notes that Defendant has not argued that there has been an intervening change of law which has an impact on the Court’s decision to deny his Motion to Suppress. Accordingly, that is clearly ...


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