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United States v. Jackson

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington

October 11, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF
v.
RODNEY LAWRENCE JACKSON DEFENDANT

          ORDER

          David L. Bunning United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Reconsider the Court's previous Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. # 60) denying Defendant's Motion to Suppress. (Doc. # 67). The Government has now filed its response (Doc. # 69), and Defendant's Motion is ripe for the Court's review. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.

         I. ANALYSIS

         In his Motion to Reconsider (Doc. # 67), Defendant asserts that the Court should reconsider its September 18, 2018 Memorandum Opinion and Order (Doc. # 60) denying his Motion to Suppress (Doc. # 15). Defendant's Motion centers on his disagreement with the Court's application of the inevitable discovery doctrine. (Doc. # 67 at 2) (“Defendant argues that [the] Court's conclusion in §C of the Court's Opinion and Order is incorrect”). He argues that the Court got it wrong when it found that, even if Officer Ullrich's search of Defendant's person were unconstitutional, the inevitable discovery doctrine would apply based upon the marijuana located during the officer's lawful search of Defendant's vehicle, and the methamphetamine found on Defendant's person would have inevitably been located in the course of Defendant's subsequent arrest for marijuana possession. Defendant urges the Court to retract its application of the doctrine, and to then reach the merits of his argument-set forth in his Memorandum in Support of Motion to Suppress Evidence (Doc. # 47)-that Officer Ullrich's search of Defendant's person violated the constitutional standard for strip searches set forth by the Supreme Court in Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979).

         Defendant's Motion fails for three reasons. First, it is procedurally improper. Second, the Court properly applied the inevitable discovery doctrine. Finally, the search of Defendant's person was not an unconstitutional strip search pursuant to Bell v. Wolfish. The Court will address each of these reasons in turn.[1]

         A. Defendant failed to meet the standard for reconsideration.

         Defendant's Motion to Reconsider is procedurally improper. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure make no provision for a motion to reconsider. See United States v. Baker, No. 09-20068, 2011 WL 13142576, at *2 (W.D. Tenn. Dec. 1, 2011); United States v. Hopewell, No. 08-cr-065, 2009 WL 1026452, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 15, 2009). “[C]ourts adjudicating such motions in criminal cases typically evaluate such motions under the same standards applicable to a civil motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e).”[2] United States v. Jarnigan, No. 3:08-CR-7, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101768, at *2 (E.D. Tenn. Dec. 17, 2008). Pursuant to this standard, a court may grant a motion to alter or amend judgment only if there was “(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.” ACLU of Ky. v. McCreary Cty., 607 F.3d 439, 450 (6th Cir. 2009) (internal citations omitted). A motion to reconsider “should not be used to revisit issues already addressed” and “is not a second chance for the losing party to make its strongest case or to dress up arguments that previously failed.” United States v. Huff, 782 F.3d 1221, 1224 (10th Cir. 2015). Accord Baker, 2011 WL 13142576, at *2 (“[A] motion for reconsideration should not be used to reiterate arguments that have been made previously.”) (citing United States v. Diaz, No. 09-CR-037, 2010 WL 5677193, at *7 (N.D.Ga. Dec. 30, 2010)).

         Here, Defendant seeks to relitigate a losing argument based on his disagreement with the Court's ruling. He cannot point to a change in the law or new evidence to justify his Motion. Instead, he asks the Court to reconsider its prior Memorandum Opinion and Order because he believes it was in error. But Defendant does not plow new ground, and merely resurrecting old arguments does not persuade the Court that its prior ruling was incorrect. Upon the final resolution of this case, if Defendant is dissatisfied and still believes that it was an error to deny his Motion to Suppress, he is free to appeal this Court's decision to the Sixth Circuit. Until such time, Defendant's requests for relief are procedurally improper.

         B. The Court properly applied the inevitable discovery doctrine.

         Defendant next argues that the Court erred in concluding that the evidence seized from the search of Defendant's person would inevitably have been discovered during a search incident to arrest. (Doc. # 67 at 2) (citing Doc. # 60 at 17). Defendant does not dispute the Court's analysis pursuant to the inevitable discovery doctrine, but rather disputes the Court's underlying factual finding that the search of Defendant's vehicle yielded marijuana. See (Doc. # 67 at 2) (“The problem with this is there is only a mention of marijuana and there is no marijuana charge that was filed and there is no drug test for the marijuana to believe that any marijuana was ever found.”). Defendant offers nothing in support of this conjecture.

         The Court's review of the record and the evidence presented at the evidentiary hearing supports the Court's finding that the officers found and seized loose marijuana on the floor of Defendant's vehicle, giving them probable cause to arrest the Defendant. See, e.g., (Doc. # 46 at 27, 36, 60; Govt. Ex. 2 at 05:43:19-05:46:59). The record shows that, contrary to Defendant's assertion in his Motion to Reconsider that “there is no marijuana charge that was filed, ” defense counsel's own cross-examination of Officer Ullrich reveals that “the citation goes on to say he's charged with trafficking and possession of marijuana.” (Doc. # 46 at 34-36; Doc. # 45 at Def. Ex. 1; Doc. # 69-1 at 1). Indeed, the citation shows that Defendant was charged with, inter alia, possession of marijuana in violation of Kentucky Revised Statute 218A.1422, a Class B misdemeanor under Kentucky law punishable with up to a forty-five-day term of incarceration. (Doc. # 69-1 at 1); Ky. Rev. Stat. § 218A.1422. Defense counsel did not challenge the veracity of the marijuana charge during the evidentiary hearing, focusing instead on the timing of the vehicle search. See (Doc. # 46 at 36).

         The search of Defendant's vehicle resulted in the seizure of marijuana. This permitted the officers to arrest the Defendant and perform a full search of his person. Defendant has offered no new evidence or authority to warrant reconsideration or alter the Court's finding on this point. Accordingly, Defendant's arguments are clearly meritless.

         C. The search of Defendant's person was not an unconstitutional strip search pursuant to Bell v. Wolfish.

         Finally, Defendant argues that “the Court failed to address the Bell v. Wolfish Guidelines in determining whether this was a strip search or a type of search that is prohibited by the constitution” pursuant to the framework set forth by the Supreme Court in Bell. (Doc. # 67 at 1) (citing Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979)). Specifically, Defendant argues that the search was unreasonable because it occurred on the street in public view and extended in scope to a search inside his pants and underwear. (Doc. # 47 at 3-4). In support of his argument, Defendant relies on three distinguishable cases. See (Doc. # 67 at 1) (citing Illinois ...


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