The opinion of the court was delivered by: Deborah A. Robinson United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
(Denying Defendant's Corrected Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's March 9, 2011 Memorandum Opinion and Order)
By a 21-page Memorandum Opinion and Order filed on March 9, 2011 (Document No. 47), the court denied Defendant's motion to withdraw his plea of guilty, pursuant to an 8-page written agreement between him and the United States Attorney, to a one-count Information by which he was charged with contempt of Congress in violation of 2 U.S.C. § 192. United States v. Bloch, No. 10-0215M-01, 2011 WL 833641, at *1 (D.D.C. March 9, 2011).*fn1 On March 10, this matter was called for the scheduled sentencing hearing; at that time, the court continued the sentencing, at the request of Defendant, "so that [Defendant] may evaluate the Court's Opinion and consider his legal options in light of the Court's denial of [his] Unopposed Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea." Defendant's Unopposed Motion to Continue Sentencing (Document No. 48); see also 03/10/2011 Minute Entry. On the record on March 10, Defendant, through his counsel, advised that the "legal options" he had preliminarily identified were (1) "simply . . . to proceed to sentencing"; (2) "a motion for reconsideration," "or" (3) "perhaps an immediate appeal." The court continued the sentencing to March 14 at 2:30 p.m., and ordered that Defendant file any motion for reconsideration by 12:00 p.m. on that day.
Defendant filed a motion for reconsideration on March 14 in advance of the deadline. See Defendant's Motion to Reconsider the Court's Denial of Defendant's Unopposed Motion to Withdraw His Guilty Plea (Document No. 49). The court, upon a preliminary review of the motion in advance of the 2:30 p.m. hearing, observed that the sole opinion cited by Defendant as the authority pursuant to which he moved for reconsideration -- an opinion in which the District of Columbia Circuit refined its articulation of the standard governing motions for reconsideration of final judgments in civil cases pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure -- was, standing alone, inapplicable to a motion for reconsideration of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea in criminal case.*fn2 Accordingly, the court ordered Defendant, by March 15, to supplement his motion for reconsideration by providing applicable authority for it. The court also fixed dates for the government to file its opposition or other response, and for Defendant to file his reply.
On March 15, Defendant filed both Defendant's Corrected Motion to Reconsider the Court's Denial of Defendant's Unopposed Motion to Withdraw His Guilty Plea (Document No. 50) ("Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration"), and Defendant's Supplemental Memorandum in Support of His Motion to Reconsider the Court's Denial of Defendant's Unopposed Motion to Withdraw His Guilty Plea (Document No. 51) ("Defendant's Supplemental Memorandum").*fn3
The government filed its response to the motion, and Defendant filed his reply. See Government's Response to Defendant's Motion to Reconsider the Court's Denial of Defendant's Motion to Withdraw His Guilty Plea (Document No. 52) ("Government's Response"); Defendant's Reply in Support of His Unopposed Motion to Reconsider the Court's Denial of Defendant's Motion to Withdraw His Guilty Plea (Document No. 53) ("Defendant's Reply").
Upon consideration of the pending motion for reconsideration, the government's response thereto, the Defendant's reply and the entire record herein, the motion will be denied.
No authority expressly provides for the filing of a motion for reconsideration of the court's March 9, 2011 Memorandum Opinion and Order Defendant initially relied solely upon Ciralsky as authority for filing the motion for reconsideration of the court's March 9, 2011 Memorandum Opinion and Order denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.*fn4 In the supplemental memorandum filed in accordance with the court's directive, Defendant principally relies upon United States v. Sibblies, 562 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2008), and United States v. Cabrera, 699 F. Supp. 2d 35 (D.D.C. 2010), as authority for filing a motion for reconsideration of the court's order denying Defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. See Defendant's Supplemental Memorandum at 2-3. However, the undersigned finds that Defendant's citation of those opinions is devoid of context. In Sibblies, the court observed that although the defendant "presents the same arguments . . . that he made in his initial motion to withdraw [his guilty plea][,]" he "now presents new allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel, and contends that he is innocent[.]" Sibblies, 562 F. Supp. 2d at 2. While the court in Sibblies ultimately addressed the merits of the defendant's motion for reconsideration, the court observed that "a second try at a withdrawal by rearguing some previous points and advancing some new ones . . . find no safe harbor in motions to reconsider, and [the defendant's motion for reconsideration] deserves to be denied for that reason alone." Id. at 4. Read in context, Sibblies can hardly be viewed as authority pursuant to which a defendant may move for reconsideration of an order denying a motion to withdraw his guilty plea; in any event, Defendant in this action -- unlike the defendant in Sibblies -- neither claims ineffective assistance of counsel, nor asserts his innocence.
In Cabrera, the court observed that "unlike the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not provide for
motions for reconsideration in criminal cases." Cabrera, 699 F. Supp.
2d at 40. The court further observed that "[s]everal of this Court's
colleagues nevertheless have determined that motions for
reconsideration may be entertained in criminal cases and have adopted
the same standard of review that applies to such motions filed in
civil cases pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure." Id. However, in the three opinions which the court
surveyed, each court assumed -- but did not hold -- that it could
entertain a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory decision.
See United States v. Sunia, 645 F. Supp. 2d 51, 60 (D.D.C. 2009)
("[T]his court assumes, as it has in the past, that it can consider
such a motion in a criminal case.") (citation omitted); United States
Booker, 613 F. Supp. 2d 32, 34 (D.D.C. 2009)
(while "the Supreme Court has 'recognized the appropriateness' of
motions for reconsideration in criminal cases, such motions "are not
mandated by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure[.]") (citation
omitted); United States v. Ferguson, 574 F. Supp. 2d 111, 112 (D.D.C.
2008) ("Although the Federal Rules do not specifically provide for
motions for reconsideration in criminal cases, the Supreme Court has
recognized, in dicta, the utility of such motions.") (citation
omitted).*fn5 The Cabrera court also considered its
own opinion in United States v. Pollard, 290 F. Supp. 2d 153 (D.D.C.
2003), by which the court evaluated a motion for reconsideration of an
order denying a motion for relief pursuant to Section 2255 of Title 28
of the United States Code. The Cabrera court quoted a passage from its
earlier opinion: "[M]otions to reconsider . . . apply only to
'extraordinary situations' and 'should be only sparingly used'";
"[i]ndeed, '[t]here must be an end to litigation someday . . . .'"
Pollard, 290 F. Supp. 2d at 157 (citations omitted).
In sum, while judges of this court have, on occasion, entertained motions for reconsideration of interlocutory orders in criminal cases, no Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure, or Local Criminal Rule of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, provides for such motions. The undersigned finds that although the pending motion is styled a "Motion to Reconsider[,]" it is effectively an effort "[to] rehash previously rejected arguments" regarding both the finding that the offense to which Defendant pled guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence, and the order denying Defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea. See Ferguson, 574 F. Supp. 2d at 113 (citations and internal quotations omitted).
Defendant has failed to demonstrate that reconsideration is warranted The absence of a rule providing for the filing of a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory order in a criminal action notwithstanding, the court nonetheless will evaluate the merits of Defendant's motion.
The court's evaluation proceeds in accordance with the "as justice requires" standard. See Sunia, 643 F. Supp. 2d at 61. "'As justice requires' indicates concrete considerations by the [C]court . . . [which] include whether the Court 'patently' misunderstood the parties, made a decision beyond the adversarial issues presented, made an error in failing to consider controlling decisions or data, or whether a controlling or significant change in the law has occurred." Id. (citations and internal quotations omitted).*fn6 "[F]or justice to require reconsideration, logically, it must be the case that some sort of 'injustice' will result if reconsideration is refused"; in other words, "the movant must demonstrate that some harm . . . would flow from a denial of reconsideration." Id. (citation and internal quotations omitted).
Evaluation of a motion for reconsideration pursuant to this standard proceeds "subject to the caveat that, where litigants have once battled for the ...