United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
CHARLES T. PICARELLA, JR., Petitioner
JOHN WETZEL, et al., Respondents
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
Charles Picarella (“Picarella”) filed a petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
challenging the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and
Parole's (the “Board”) denial of parole in a
prior case which delayed commencement of the sentence he is
currently serving. (Doc. 1). On June 6, 2019, the court
dismissed the habeas petition as moot. (Doc. 17). Presently
before the court is Picarella's motion for
reconsideration of the June 6, 2019 order. (Doc. 19). For the
reasons discussed below, the court will grant the motion for
8, 2009, Picarella pled guilty to possession with intent to
deliver a controlled substance in the Northumberland County
Court of Common Pleas. (Doc. 13, at 13-15). On July 6, 2009,
he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months to
five years. (Id.) This sentence had a minimum date
of September 30, 2009, and a maximum date of June 23, 2017.
(Id.) Picarella served the maximum term of this
sentence as of June 23, 2017. (Id. at 13, 18).
October 3, 2014, Picarella pled guilty to possession with
intent to deliver, and criminal conspiracy to commit
possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in
the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas.
(Id. at 7-11). On December 5, 2014, he was sentenced
to a total aggregate term of imprisonment of ten to twenty
years. (Id. at 7-11). Picarella is currently serving
this sentence. This sentence has a minimum date of November
2, 2025, and a maximum date of November 2, 2035.
previously filed a motion to dismiss the habeas petition as
moot. (Doc. 14). Respondents argued that the habeas petition
was moot because the maximum sentence date of the challenged
sentence expired on June 23, 2017 and, therefore, Picarella
was no longer serving the sentence challenged in the habeas
petition. (Doc. 13). On June 6, 2019, the court granted
respondents' motion to dismiss. (Doc. 17). Picarella
subsequently filed a brief in opposition to respondents'
motion to dismiss. (Doc. 18). Picarella argued that he
suffered collateral consequences as a result of the denial of
parole and, therefore, the habeas petition was not moot.
(Id.) Specifically, Picarella asserted that the
denial of parole in his former case delayed the start date of
the sentence he is currently serving. (Id.)
17, 2019, Picarella filed the instant motion for
reconsideration. (Doc. 19).
motion for reconsideration of a final order is generally
considered a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
59(e). See Weist v. Lynch, 710 F.3d 121, 127 (3d
Cir. 2013) (citing Fed. Kemper Ins. Co. v. Rauscher,
807 F.2d 345, 348 (3d Cir. 1986)); see also Rankin v.
Heckler, 761 F.2d 936, 942 (3d Cir. 1985) (holding that
“[r]egardless how it is styled, a motion filed within
ten days of entry of judgment questioning the correctness of
a judgment may be treated as a motion to alter or amend the
judgment under Rule 59(e)”). Motions for
reconsideration serve primarily to correct manifest errors of
law or fact in a prior decision of the court. See U.S. ex
rel. Schumann v. Astrazeneca Pharm. L.P., 769 F.3d 837,
848 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Max's Seafood Café
by Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d
Cir. 1999)). A court should grant reconsideration only if the
moving party establishes: (1) newly available evidence; (2)
“an intervening change in the controlling law;”
or (3) “the need to correct a clear error of law or
fact or to prevent manifest injustice.” Id. at
848-49 (quoting Max's Seafood, 176 F.3d at 677).
may not invoke a motion for reconsideration as a means to
relitigate matters of disagreement with the court or to
advance stale arguments anew. See Chesapeake Appalachia,
L.L.C. v. Scout Petroleum, LLC, 73 F.Supp.3d 488, 491
(M.D. Pa. 2014), aff'd sub nom. Chesapeake
Appalachia, LLC v. Scout Petroleum, LLC, 809 F.3d 746
(3d Cir. 2016). Furthermore, motions for reconsideration
should “not be used to raise new arguments or present
evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of
judgment.” Hill v. Tammac Corp., No.
1:05-CV-1148, 2006 WL 529044, at *2 (M.D. Pa. 2006) (citing
McDowell Oil Servs., Inc. v. Interstate Fire
& Gas Co., 817 F.Supp. 538, 541 (M.D. Pa. 1993));
see Bhatnagar v. Surrendra Overseas Ltd., 52 F.3d
1220, 1231 (3d Cir. 1995). Reconsideration is an
extraordinary remedy which should be “granted
sparingly.” Chesapeake Appalachia, 73
F.Supp.3d at 491; Tammac Corp., 2006 WL 529044, at
bring a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, a petitioner must be “in custody”
pursuant to the conviction under attack in the habeas
proceeding. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). For purposes of 28
U.S.C. § 2254, the “in custody”
determination is made as of the time the petition is filed.
Carafas v. LaCallee, 391 U.S. 234, 238, 88 S.Ct.
1556, 20 L.Ed.2d 554 (1968).
petitioner who is serving consecutive sentences imposed by
the same court is considered to be “in custody”
for habeas purposes while he is serving any one of those
sentences. Garlotte v. Fordice, 515 U.S. 39, 40-41,
115 S.Ct. 1948, 132 L.Ed.2d 36 (1995). Therefore, a
petitioner may challenge a sentence that ran earlier in the
series, and has expired, while he is serving a sentence later
in the series. Id. at 41. The Third Circuit Court of
Appeals held that where the petitioner has completed his
sentence, but the fact of that sentence “might affect
[the petitioner's] release date” for a different
sentence that he is currently serving, the petitioner remains
“in custody” and the petition is not moot.
DeFoy v. McCullough, 393 F.3d 439, 442 (3d Cir.
Picarella is challenging a sentence that was completed on
June 23, 2017, prior to the date Picarella filed his habeas
petition. Nevertheless, if the court were to direct the Board
to parole him retroactively, he would be entitled to credit
for time served-which would apply to his current sentence.
Indeed, Picarella could be entitled to an early release from
his current sentence. Therefore, the habeas petition is ...