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United States v. Diaz

United States District Court, S.D. New York

July 30, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
SALVADOR DIAZ, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VALERIE CAPRONI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:

         Defendant Salvador Diaz is charged with failure to register as a convicted sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250. See Compl., Dkt. 1; Indictment, Dkt. 12. Diaz, appearing pro se, moves for reconsideration of the Court's July 13, 2018 Opinion and Order, Dkt. 71, which denied Diaz's motion to dismiss the Indictment. See Def.'s Mot. for Reconsideration, Dkt. 72. For the following reasons, Diaz's motion for reconsideration is DENIED.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard of Review

         “It is well established that the submissions of a pro se litigant must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.” Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and emphasis omitted) (collecting cases).

         “While the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not provide for reconsideration motions, such motions are tacitly accepted in criminal cases in this District by virtue of Local Crim. R. 49.1(d), which requires a movant to submit a ‘memorandum setting forth concisely the matters or controlling decisions which counsel believes the Court has overlooked.'” United States v. Baldeo, No. 13-CR-125, 2015 WL 252414, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 20, 2015); see also United States v. FNU LNU, No. 09-CR-543, 2015 WL 13307424, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 13, 2015); United States v. Yannotti, 457 F.Supp.2d 385, 388 (S.D.N.Y. 2006) (citing United States v. Clark, 984 F.2d 31, 33 (2d Cir. 1993)).

         In this District, motions for reconsideration in criminal cases are decided under the same standard as motions for reconsideration in civil cases. See, e.g., United States v. Smith, No. 11-CR-724, 2012 WL 1700465, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. May 15, 2012); United States v. Leaver, 358 F.Supp.2d 273, 277 n.14 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). The standard for granting a motion for reconsideration in a civil case is “strict, ” and it “will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked.” Salveson v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., 663 Fed.Appx. 71, 75 (2d Cir. 2016) (quoting Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995)). “A motion for reconsideration is not a vehicle for relitigating old issues, . . . securing a rehearing on the merits, or otherwise taking a second bite at the apple.” Gustavia Home, LLC v. Rice, 724 Fed.Appx. 87, 88-89 (2d Cir. 2018) (quoting Analytical Surveys, Inc. v. Tonga Partners, L.P., 684 F.3d 36, 52 (2d Cir. 2012)). Put differently, “[r]econsideration is not intended for the court to reexamine a decision or the party to reframe a failed motion.” Fan v. United States, 710 Fed.Appx. 23, 24 (2d Cir. 2018).

         II. Diaz's Motion for Reconsideration Is Denied

         Diaz raises no new arguments or facts in his motion. He simply presents an alternative reading of the cases discussed in the Court's July 13, 2018 opinion, essentially seeking to relitigate the arguments raised in his motion to dismiss.

         First, citing United States v. Mendoza-Lopez, 481 U.S. 828 (1987), Diaz argues that he was “unconstitutionally blocked from challenging in court the fundamental fairness of the proceeding” that resulted in his sex-offense conviction. Def.'s Mem. of Law, Dkt. 73, at 1. This argument fails. As the Court explained, Diaz has received more than ample review of his prior conviction, both on direct appeal and on collateral review. See Op. and Order, Dkt. 71, at 2-4. Diaz's opportunity for judicial review thus makes this case distinguishable from Mendoza-Lopez. See Id. at 8 n.3; United States v. Delgado, 592 Fed.Appx. 602, 603 (9th Cir. 2015) (distinguishing SORNA from the statute at issue in Mendoza-Lopez).

         Next, Diaz quarrels with the Court's reliance on Custis v. United States, 511 U.S. 485 (1994), and Lewis v. United States, 445 U.S. 55 (1980). See Def.'s Mem. of Law at 2-3. As to Custis, Diaz states that he “adopt[s]” the argument of that case's dissenting opinion and quotes the dissent in full. Id. at 3. As to Lewis, Diaz states that numerous Courts of Appeals allowed collateral attacks of prior convictions before Lewis overruled those decisions and foreclosed that avenue of relief. Id. at 2. It goes without saying that this Court is bound to follow controlling decisions of the Supreme Court, notwithstanding the merit vel non of the arguments raised by the dissenting justices. And, of course, this Court may not follow decisions of the Courts of Appeals that the Supreme Court has overruled. Diaz offers no reason to believe that Custis and Lewis are not controlling, and, thus, his argument fails.

         Finally, citing Burgett v. Texas, 389 U.S. 109 (1967), Diaz argues that “[t]he admission into evidence of a constitutionally invalid prior conviction is inherently prejudicial.” Def.'s Mem. of Law at 20. Putting aside the question of whether Diaz's prior conviction is constitutionally invalid-and numerous courts have decided that it is not-the Court's July 13, 2018 opinion explained that Burgett applies only to prior convictions that were obtained in violation of a defendant's right to counsel. See Op. and Order at 8 n.3. For the reasons that the Court has explained, that exception does not apply to Diaz's case. See id.

         CONCLUSION

         For all the foregoing reasons, Diaz's motion for ...


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