United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on defendant's motions for
reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e).
[DE 125, 126, 127]. Each motion is ripe for disposition. For
the reasons that follow, defendant's motions for
reconsideration [DE 125, 126, 127] are DENIED.
September 2015, defendant pleaded guilty without a plea
agreement to (1) one count of conspiracy to distribute and
possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine
base (crack), (2) three counts of distribution of a quantity
of cocaine base (crack), and (3) one count of possession of a
firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. [DE 16].
In April 2014, the Court sentenced defendant to a total term
of 131 months' imprisonment, later reduced to 105 months.
[DE 28, 37]. Defendant did not appeal.
2015, defendant filed a motion to vacate his sentence under
28 U.S.C. § 2255. [DE 38]. In April 2016, following an
evidentiary hearing, the Court denied defendant's §
2255. [DE 87, 88]. In September 2016, the Fourth Circuit
dismissed defendant's appeal of the denial of his §
2255 petition. [DE 94, 95].
2015, defendant moved for a sentence reduction under 18U.S.C.
§ 3582(c), arguing that U.S.S.G. Amendmbnt 782 was
applicable to his sentence. [DE 45]. The Court denied
defendant's motion, finding that defendant had already
received the benefit of a 2-level reduction under Amendment
782 at his sentencing. [DE 62]. Defendant appealed and the
Fourth Circuit affirmed. [DE 77].
March 2019, the Court denied five motions that defendant had
filed since September 2018: (1) a motion for a sentence
reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) in light of
Amendment 782, (2) a motion requesting that the Court provide
defendant with various discovery documents and transcripts,
(3) a motion requesting that defendant's entire case be
placed under seal, (4) a motion for entry of default, and (5)
a motion to compel defendant's former court-appointed
counsel to provide him with his criminal case file. [DE 124].
has since filed three motions for reconsideration-and noticed
four appeals- all relating to various aspects of the March
order. [DE 125, 126, 127]. In particular, defendant requests
that the Court reconsider its refusal to seal the documents
in his case, its refusal to reduce his sentence under §
3582(c), and its refusal to provide him with copies of
documents and transcripts at government expense. Defendant
has additionally filed a letter in reference to his §
may move a court to alter or amend its judgment under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). "In general,
reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly."
Pacific Ins. Co. v. American Nat'l Fire Ins.
Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998) (internal
quotation marks omitted). The decision to alter or amend a
judgment is committed to the discretion of the district
court. The Fourth Circuit has recognized three bases for
granting such a motion: when the court is shown (1) an
intervening change in controlling law; (2) new evidence that
was not available at trial; or (3) that the court has
committed a clear error of law or manifest injustice.
See, e.g., Robinson v. Wix Filtration Corp., LLC,
599 F.3d 403, 407 (4th Cir. 2010).
defendant argues that the Court should reconsider its refusal
to seal the documents in his case. Initially, defendant
requested that the Court "issue an order to seal the
records to the instant case from public view." [DE 104,
p. 3-4]. Now, defendant takes a narrower approach, requesting
"sealing of any information with his name and
information pertaining to 5K1.1 or Rule 35." [DE 125, p.
2]. Either way, however, defendant has not presented any
intervening change in law, any new evidence, or any
indication that the Court has committed a clear error of law.
Of note, the Court's standing order on the sealing of
motions states that "[u]pon expiration of two years from
the date of the filing of the order or other resolution of
the substantial assistance motion, documents sealed by
operation of this standing order shall be unsealed, unless
the presiding judge in the case extends the sealing
order." E.D. N.C. Amended Standing Order 09-SO-02 at 4.
The majority of the relevant documents in this case are more
than two years old; of the 39 unsealed docket entries that
are fewer that two years old, 19 are documents that defendant
himself filed, including DE 104 (which defendant claims the
Court is unlawfully withholding from him). The Court
previously determined that defendant had not established good
cause for the sealing of the documents he identified, and
defendant has not established that the Court's finding
was clearly erroneous or manifestly unjust. As such,
defendant's first motion for reconsideration must be
defendant argues that the Court should reconsider its
refusal-for at least the second time-to reduce his sentence
under § 3582(c) in light of Amendment 782. But again,
defendant has not demonstrated an intervening change in law,
new evidence, or a clear error of law. This issue has been
litigated and relitigated. At sentencing, the Court imposed a
71-month sentence, running consecutively to the mandatory
minimum of 60 months that defendant received for his 18
U.S.C. § 924(c) conviction, on Counts 1 through 4. That
sentence reflected the top end of a 60-71 month guideline
range adjusted for the two-level reduction under
Amendment 782.Had the two-level reduction not been
applied, defendant's guideline would have been 70-87
months. The Court specifically stated that "defendant
received the benefit of the 2-level reduction under Amendment
782 at his sentencing in the form of a variance." [DE
62]. In other words, at sentencing, defendant received the
two-level reduction and was sentenced to the top end of 71
months; had he not received the two-level reduction and had
he still been sentenced at the top level of the guideline, he
would have received 87 months. Thus, he received the benefit
of a two-level reduction at sentencing. To the extent that
defendant claims otherwise, he is simply incorrect. As he has
not demonstrated that the Court's denial of his second
§ 3582(c) motion was clearly erroneous, defendant's
second motion for reconsideration is denied.
defendant argues that the Court should reconsider its denial
of his request for documents. Defendant argues that he has a
pending habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in which
he argues that he is actually innocent of the § 924(c)
charge to which he pleaded guilty. The petition, Travis
Lavoy Jenkins v. United States, No. 5:18-HC-2257-D, was
transferred to the Southern District of
Georgia. Defendant appealed the transfer and the
Fourth Circuit affirmed in an unpublished opinion. Mandate is
stayed, however, as defendant timely seeks rehearing.
argues that, in light of this habeas petition, he is entitled
to the documents that he requested, and is further entitled
to a court order compelling his court-appointed counsel to
surrender defendant's criminal case file. But the Court
reiterates that, at least at this stage of the proceedings,
defendant has not demonstrated that he is entitled to receipt
of copies of transcripts and other documents at government
expense, and has not demonstrated good cause for an order
compelling his former counsel to submit his case file to him.