United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B Russell Senior Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Troy Lamont
Gaines, Jr.'s pro se Motion for Reconsideration. [R.
164.] The United States (“the Government')
responded. [R. 166.] This matter is now ripe for
adjudication. For the reasons stated herein, Defendant
Gaines's pro se Motion for Reconsideration, [R. 164], is
December 19, 2014, Gaines pleaded guilty, pursuant to Rule
11(c)(1)(B), to eleven counts of Aiding and Abetting:
Obstructing, Delaying, and Affecting Commerce by Threats of
Violence in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. §
1951; one count of Aiding and Abetting: Using, Carrying, and
Brandishing Firearms During and in Relation to a Crime of
Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); and one
count of Aiding and Abetting: Using, Carrying, Brandishing,
and Discharging a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime
of Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). [R. 137
at 1-2 (Judgment and Commitment Order).] On July 27, 2016,
Gaines moved to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. [R. 152 (Gaines Motion to
Vacate).] Gaines mainly relied on the case of Johnson v.
United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), for support.
[See generally id.] On March 22, 2017, this Court
adopted the findings of Magistrate Judge Whalin and denied
Gaines's motion. [R. 162 (Judgment).] Now, Gaines moves
the Court to reconsider its denial of his Motion to Vacate,
Set Aside, or Correct His Sentence. [R. 164.]
court may grant a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend if
there is: (1) a clear error of law; (2) newly discovered
evidence; (3) an intervening change in controlling law; or
(4) a need to prevent manifest injustice.” Intera
Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 620 (6th Cir. 2005)
(citing GenCorp, Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters,
178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir. 1999).
motion under Rule 59(e) is not intended to be utilized to
relitigate issues previously considered.” Foreman
v. United States, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187012 *3 (W.D.
Mich. 2012) (citing Equal Emp't Opportunity
Comm'n v. Argent Indus., Inc., 746 F.Supp. 705, 706
(S.D. Ohio 1989)). “Neither should it be used as a
vehicle for submitting evidence which in the exercise of
reasonable diligence could have been submitted before.”
Id. (citing Weyerhaeuser Corp. v. Koppers
Co., 771 F.Supp. 1406, 1419 (D. Md. 1991)). “The
grant or denial of a Rule 59(e) motion is within the informed
discretion of the district court, reversible only for
abuse.” Huff v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 675 F.2d
119, 122 (6th Cir. 1982).
Court recognizes that a “liberal standard of
review” is required for pro se pleadings. United
States v. Hargis, 891 F.2d 293 (6th Cir. 1989)
(unpublished) (citing Cohen v. United States, 593
F.2d 766, 770 (6th Cir.1979)).
initial matter, the Court notes that, in his plea agreement,
Gaines knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to
collaterally attack his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
“unless based on claims of ineffective assistance of
counsel or prosecutorial misconduct.” [R. 111 at 6
(Gaines Plea Agreement); R. 142 at 37 (Sentencing
Transcript).] Thus, Gaines relinquished the right to
collaterally attack his sentence through a § 2255
motion. See Watson v. United States, 165 F.3d 486,
489 (6th Cir. 1999) (“[W]e hold that a defendant's
informed and voluntary waiver of the right to collaterally
attack a sentence in a plea agreement bars such
relief.”) accord United States v. Centeno, No.
3:02-CR-066-R, 2009 WL 260800, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 4, 2009)
(holding that the defendant expressly waived the right to
collaterally attack his sentence in his plea agreement).
However, out of an abundance of caution, the Court will
briefly address the arguments contained in Gaines's
Motion for Reconsideration.
argues that the Court erred under the first and third factors
of Rule 59(e) when it denied his Motion to Vacate, Set Aside,
or Correct His Sentence. [R. 164 at 2 (Gaines Motion for
Reconsideration.] Once again, he cites to Johnson to
argue that the Supreme Court's finding that the
“residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal
Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. §924(e)(2)(B)(ii), was
unconstitutionally vague should apply to the “residual
clause” of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3). [R. 164 at 1-2.]
As the Court previously adopted, “the Sixth Circuit
rejected Gaines' very argument that the statutory
language of the residual clause of § 924(c)(3)(B) is
sufficiently similar to that of residual clause found in
§ 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) so as to be unconstitutionally vague
based on the reasoning of Johnson.” [R. 160 at
5 (Magistrate Judge Recommendation) (citing United States
v. Taylor, 814 F.3d 340, 375-78 (6th Cir. 2016)
(“Because § 924(c)(3)(B) is considerably narrower
than the statute invalidated by the Court in
Johnson, and because much of Johnson's
analysis does not apply to § 924(c)(3)(B), Taylor's
argument in this regard is without merit.”).] Thus,
Gaines's argument fails now as it did before.
also argues that “[r]elief is now possible in light of
the recent Supreme Court [d]ecision in Mathis v. U.S.
(2006).” [R. 164 at 5.] However, Mathis
proves to be inapplicable to the situation at hand. In
Mathis, the Supreme Court found a sentence
enhancement under the ACCA could not be imposed if a state
statute's “factual means of committing a single
element” of a crime corresponded with a generic
offense, instead of the element itself. See Mathis,
136 S.Ct. at 2249-50. As the Court previously adopted,
“Gaines was not charged under the ACCA but rather had
his sentence enhanced from 97 to 481 months based on
§§ 924(c)(1)(A) and (C).” [R. 160 at 4.]
Thus, as Mathis does not affect § 924(c), it
does not aid Gaines in his argument.
summary, even under a liberal, pro se standard, the Court
finds that Gaines fails to show a clear error of law or an
intervening change in controlling law. Thus, Gaines's ...