United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
March 12, 2013, Petitioner Michael Joseph Henry was convicted
in state court of nine counts of making a false written
statement concerning the purchase of a firearm in violation
of 18 Pa. Const. Stat. § 6111(g)(4), seven counts of
unlawfully transferring a firearm, id. §
6111(g)(1), and seven counts of making a false unsworn
statement to authorities, id. § 4904(B). (Doc.
No. 13 at 1.) The trial court sentenced him to 20 to 66
years' imprisonment. (Id.) On May 12, 2015, the
Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court's
sentence. (Id.) Petitioner did not appeal the
decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court or file a petition
pursuant to Pennsylvania's Post Conviction Relief Act
(“PCRA”). (Id. at 2.)
October 16, 2016, Petitioner filed a pro se Petition for Writ
of Habeas Corpus. He argued that:
(1) Pennsylvania lacked the power to prosecute him because it
“abdicated its Tenth Amendment sovereign police power
to prosecute” by opting into the Violent Offender
Incarceration and Truth in Sentencing Incentive Program; (2)
the prosecution's failure to draft bills of information
in the conjunctive, as opposed to the disjunctive, and to
charge the essential elements that rendered his crime
“aggravated, ” deprived the trial court of
subject matter jurisdiction; (3) counsel was ineffective in
failing to properly advise him of the trial court's lack
of jurisdiction to convict him; (4) his sentence was
unconstitutional because it was ex post facto and constituted
cruel and unusual punishment; and (5) counsel was ineffective
in failing to object to inflammatory victim impact statements
and other exhibits in the presentencing report.
(Id.) On February 28, 2017, Magistrate Judge Heffley
issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”),
recommending that this Court deny Petitioner's claims as
untimely under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act (“AEDPA”). (Id. at 1.) On March 14,
2017, Petitioner filed Objections to the R&R. (Doc. No.
14.) On July 10, 2017, this Court issued an Order and
accompanying Opinion, approving and adopting the R&R and
denying the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Doc. No.
31, 2017, Petitioner filed a Motion for Enlargement of Time
and a Motion for Reconsideration pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59. (Doc. Nos. 18, 20.) He argues that
“newly discovered precedents . . . would have change[d]
the result of the proceeding” and that “the Court
. . . misunderstood his objections resulting in a manifest
error of law.” (Doc. No. 20 at 1.) On August 1, 2017,
the Court granted Petitioner's Motion for Enlargement of
Time. (Doc. No. 19.) For reasons stated below, however, the
Court will deny the Motion for Reconsideration.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
purpose of a motion for reconsideration is “to correct
manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence.” Max's Seafood Café v.
Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (quoting
Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d
Cir. 1985)). A proper motion for reconsideration “must
rely on one of three grounds: (1) an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; or (3)
the need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest
injustice.” Wiest v. Lynch, 710 F.3d 121, 128
(3d Cir. 2013) (quoting Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591
F.3d 666, 669 (3d Cir. 2010)).
motion for reconsideration should only address “factual
and legal matters that the Court may have overlooked.”
In re Blood Reagents Antitrust Litig., 756 F.Supp.2d
637, 640 (E.D. Pa. 2010) (quoting Glendon Energy Co. v.
Borough of Glendon, 836 F.Supp. 1109, 1122 (E.D. Pa.
1993)). It is improper that a motion for reconsideration ask
the court to “rethink what it had already thought
through-rightly or wrongly.” Id. (quoting
Glendon Energy Co., 836 F.Supp. at 1122). A motion
for reconsideration is not a tool to present new legal
theories or arguments that could have been asserted to
support the first motion. Federico v. Charterers Mut.
Assur. Ass'n, Ltd., 158 F.Supp.2d 565, 578 (E.D. Pa.
the moving party argues that the court overlooked certain
evidence or controlling decisions of law which were
previously presented, a court should grant a motion for
reconsideration only if the issues overlooked might
reasonably have resulted in a different conclusion.
Cataldo v. Moses, 361 F.Supp.2d 420, 433 (D.N.J.
2004). Federal courts have a strong interest in the finality
of judgements and therefore should grant motions for
reconsideration sparingly. In re Asbestos Prods. Liab.
Litig. (No. VI), 801 F.Supp.2d 333, 334 (E.D. Pa. 2011).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59, Petitioner requests
that the Court reconsider its Order adopting the R&R and
denying his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Doc. No.
20.) In particular, Petitioner asserts that “newly
discovered precedents” would have changed the result of
the first proceeding. (Id. at 1.) Because that
result turned on the Court's determination that AEDPA
time-barred the habeas petition, the Court need only address
whether Petitioner cites newly discovered evidence or law
that would have altered that decision. For reasons explained
below, Petitioner's arguments lack merit and the Motion
will be denied.
Day v. McDonough Is Not Newly Discovered Precedent
That Would Have ...