United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JOSE L. LINARES, CHIEF JUDGE
August 7, 2018, this Court entered an order and opinion
granting Petitioner, K.A., a bond hearing. (ECFNos. 13-14).
In that opinion, this Court specifically stated that the
burden of proof at that hearing would be placed on the
Government and that at Petitioner's hearing, "the
Government [will be required] to produce individualized
evidence that [Petitioner's] continued detention was or
is necessary to further the goals of § 1226(c) -
specifically ensuring that Petitioner presents neither a
danger to the community nor a flight risk." (ECF No. 13
at 8 (internal quotation marks omitted)).
Petitioner received a bond hearing, but was denied bond as
the Immigration Judge found that the Government had met its
burden of establishing that Petitioner was both a flight risk
and a danger to the community, and that his continued
detention was therefore necessary to further the goals of the
statute. (ECF No. 15 at 2-7).
Unsatisfied with the outcome of his bond hearing, Petitioner
filed with this Court a motion to reopen his habeas
proceedings arguing that he had been denied due process at
his bond hearing. (ECF No. 16). In his motion, Petitioner
argued that the Immigration Judge had misapplied the
applicable law and standard of proof in denying him bond.
(ECF No. 16).
September 28, 2018, this Court entered an order and opinion
denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his habeas
proceedings. (ECF Nos. 18-19). In denying that motion, this
Court noted that it was without the authority to second guess
or review the discretionary decision of the immigration judge
to deny Petitioner bond, and could only provide Petitioner
with relief were Petitioner to show that his bond hearing had
not been bona fide insomuch as Petitioner was in some way
denied due process at the hearing. (ECF No. 18 at 4). This
Court thereafter found that the Immigration Judge had applied
the standard of proof that this Court had imposed upon it by
both placing the burden on the Government and making an
individualized determination that Petitioner was both a
danger to the community and a flight risk, and that
Petitioner had therefore not been denied due process. (ECF
No. 18 at 5-7). As this Court noted in that opinion,
Petitioner's disagreement with the immigration
judge's conclusions served as no basis to reopen these
habeas proceedings. (ECF No. 18 at 6-7).
denying Petitioner's motion to reopen, this Court also
explicitly rejected Petitioner's contention that the
Government was required to prove his danger or flight risk by
clear and convincing evidence. (ECF No. 18 at 5 n. 2). As
this Court explained, "neither Chavez-Alvarez
[v. Warden York Cty. Prison, 783 F.3d 469 (3d Cir.
2015), ] nor Diop [v. ICE Homeland
Sec, 656 F.3d 221 (3d Cir. 2011)] require the use of the
clear and convincing [evidence] standard, and this Court in
granting relief to Petitioner in no way required the
immigration judge to apply" that standard. (ECF No. 18
at 5 n. 2).
October 11, 2018, Petitioner filed with this Court a motion
for reconsideration challenging this Court's denial of
his motion to reopen habeas proceedings. (ECF No. 22). In his
motion, Petitioner argues that the Third Circuit now requires
the use of the clear and convincing evidence standard, which
he attributes to the Third Circuit's recent decision in
Guerrero-Sanchez v. Warden York Cty. Prison, 905
F.3d 208 (3d Cir. 2018), and further disputes the Immigration
Judge's individualized finding that Petitioner presents a
danger to the community and a flight risk. (ECF No. 22).
Whether brought pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure or Local Civil Rule 7.1(i), the scope of a
motion for reconsideration is extremely limited, and courts
will grant such motions only sparingly. Delanoy v. Twp.
Of Ocean, No. 13-1555, 2015 WL 2235103, at *2 (D.N.J.
May 12, 2015) (as to Local Civil Rule 7.1(i)); see also
Blystone v. Horn, 664 F.3d 397, 415 (3d Cir. 2011) (as
to Rule 59(e)). An order of the Court may be altered or
amended pursuant to such a motion only where the moving party
establishes one of the following grounds for relief:
"(1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2)
the availability of new evidence that was not available when
the court [issued its order]; or (3) the need to correct a
clear error of law or fact to prevent manifest
injustice." Delanoy, 2015 WL 2235106 at *2
(quoting Max's Seafood Cafe v. Quinteros, 176
F.3d 669, 667 (3d Cir. 1999)); see also Blystone,
664 F.3d at 415 (applying same standard to 59(e) motions). In
the reconsideration context, a manifest injustice will
generally arise only where "the Court overlooked some
dispositive factual or legal matter that was presented to
it," or committed a "direct, obvious, and
observable" error. Brown v. Zickefoose, No.
11-3330, 2011 WL 5007829, at *2 n. 3 (D.N.J. Oct. 18, 2011).
Reconsideration motions may not be used to relitigate old
matters or to raise arguments or present evidence or
allegations that could have been raised prior to entry of the
original order, and courts should grant such a motion only
where a prior decision "overlooked a factual or legal
issue that may alter the disposition of the matter."
Delanoy, 2015 WL 2235106 at *2.
Turning first to Petitioner's Guerrero-Sanchez
argument, this Court finds that Petitioner has shown no basis
for reconsideration. Although Petitioner contends that
Guerrero-Sanchez mandates that he receive a bond
hearing applying the clear and convincing evidence standard,
Petitioner is mistaken. Guerrero-Sanchez discussed
only the entitlement to a bond hearing for those detained
pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a)(6) - a statute that does
not apply to Petitioner, who is awaiting the outcome of his
petition for review before the Third Circuit and is subject
to a stay of removal. Petitioner is instead detained pursuant
to § 1226(c). Guerrero-Sanchez was entirely
silent as to the standard applicable to bond hearings ordered
for those held pursuant to § 1226(c), and thus its
holding does not apply to Petitioner.
Guerrero-Sanchez, 905 F.3d at 223-26. The Third
Circuit has not yet required the clear and convincing
evidence standard for bond hearings ordered for those held
under § 1226(c), and this Court did not require the use
of that standard by the Immigration Judge in its order
granting Petitioner a bond hearing. Petitioner is thus
mistaken in his belief that he is now retroactively entitled
to a bond hearing held under the clear and convincing
evidence standard. Should the Third Circuit impose such a
requirement in the future, Petitioner would be free to file a
new habeas petition arguing that he is entitled to a hearing
under that higher standard. At the time Petitioner was
granted a bond hearing, that standard was not required, and
it has not been required through to the present day for
§ 1226(c) detainees. Petitioner has thus not shown that
this Court's prior decision was erroneous and has
presented no valid basis for reconsideration.
his remaining arguments, Petitioner again takes issue with
the Immigration Judge's individualized findings that
Petitioner presented both a flight risk and a danger to the
community. As this Court has previously explained to
Petitioner, his disagreement with the Immigration Judge's
view of the facts and conclusions is not a basis for relief -
this Court is without jurisdiction to second guess the
discretionary judgment of the Immigration Judge denying
Petitioner bond. 8 U.S.C. § 1226(e). Petitioner's
remaining arguments therefore do not show that this ...