United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. LINARES, CHIEF JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
before the Court is the motion seeking reconsideration of the
Court's denial of Petitioner Olukayode O.'s habeas
petition brought pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 19). For the following reasons,
Petitioner's motion is denied.
Court's prior opinion denying Petitioner's habeas
petition, this Court summarized the background of this matter
Petitioner is a native and citizen of Nigeria who entered the
United States on a non-immigrant visa in October 2010. (ECF
No. 8-2 at 3). Although Petitioner was authorized to remain
in the United States only until April 2011, he did not leave
when that authorization expired. (ECF No. 8-2 at 3). During
this period of overstay, in July 2011, Petitioner was
arrested on wire fraud charges. (ECF No. 8-2 at 3). These
charges resulted in Petitioner's February 27, 2014,
conviction for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy
to possess with intent to use unlawfully five or more false
ID documents in the Eastern District of New York. (ECF No.
8-2 at 3). While Petitioner's appeal of that conviction
was pending, and thus while his conviction was not yet final
for immigration purposes, see Orabi v. Att'y
Gen., 738 F.3d 535, 542 (3d Cir. 2014) (conviction not
final for immigration purposes until direct appeal
concluded), Petitioner was taken into immigration custody on
March 14, 2014, and placed into removal proceedings based on
his overstaying his visa. (ECF No. 8-2 at 3).
On May 7, 2014, Petitioner appeared before an immigration
judge for a bond hearing. (ECF No. 8-8 at 3). At that
hearing, the immigration judge determined that Petitioner was
held pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a), and granted
Petitioner bond in the amount of $50, 000. (ECF No. 8-8 at
3). Apparently unable to pay that bond, Petitioner thereafter
sought a bond redetermination, and the immigration judge
lowered his bond to $22, 500 in August 2014. (ECF No. 8-8 at
3). Petitioner appealed, and the Board of Immigration Appeals
affirmed that bond amount. (ECF No. 8-8 at 3).
As he was still unable to pay this bond amount, and because
he otherwise believed he was then in custody based solely on
his conviction, which was still on direct appeal at the time,
Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in
this Court challenging his § 1226(a) detention in
December 2014. (Docket No. 14-7951, ECF No. 1). On March 31,
2015, in lieu of a response to that petition, the Government
filed with this Court a joint stipulation of dismissal in
which the Government and Petitioner agreed to lower
Petitioner's bond amount to an amount he could afford,
and in exchange Petitioner agreed to the dismissal of his
habeas petition as moot. (Docket No. 14-7951, ECF No. 7).
This Court granted that joint request for a dismissal that
same day. (Docket No. 14-7951, ECF No. 8). On April 7, 2015,
Petitioner appeared for a new bond hearing, during which the
Government, pursuant to the joint stipulation, agreed to a
lower bond amount of $2, 000. (ECF No. 8-8 at 4). Petitioner
paid that amount and was released on bond. (ECF No. 8-8 at
4). Petitioner remained on bond thereafter until April 2018.
While Petitioner was released on bond, his direct appeal of
his conviction proceeded. On November 19, 2015, however, the
Second Circuit affirmed Petitioner's conviction.
United States v. Ojo, 630 Fed.Appx. 83 (2d Cir.
2015). Petitioner thereafter sought review from the Supreme
Court, but his petition for certiorari was denied on March
21, 2016. Ojo v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1473
(2016). Petitioner's fraud conviction therefore became
final for immigration purposes in March 2016.
Petitioner's immigration proceedings thereafter
continued. On April 12, 2018, however, following a hearing in
Petitioner's case, the Government amended its charges of
removability against Petitioner to include several charges
based on his now final fraud convictions. (ECF No. 8-2 at 4).
Based on that same final conviction, Petitioner was once
again taken into immigration detention that same date, albeit
this time pursuant to the mandatory detention provision of 8
U.S.C. § 1226(c). (ECF No. 8-2 at 4). Petitioner
thereafter appeared for another custody hearing in June 2018,
which resulted in bond being denied as an immigration judge
determined that Petitioner was subject to mandatory detention
pursuant to § 1226(c). (ECF No. 8-19). Petitioner has
remained detained since that time, and his removal
proceedings are ongoing.
(ECF No. 16 at 1-3).
scope of a motion to amend a judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e)
is extremely limited. See Blystone v. Horn, 664 F.3d
397, 415 (3d Cir. 2011). A Rule 59(e) motion may be employed
"only to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to
present newly discovered evidence." Id.
'"Accordingly, a judgment may be altered or amended
[only] if the party seeking reconsideration shows at least
one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in
the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence
that was not available when the court [decided the motion],
or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to
prevent manifest injustice.'" Id. (quoting
Howard Hess Dental Labs., Inc. v. Dentsply Int'l
Inc., 602 F.2d 237, 251 (3d Cir. 2010)). In this
context, manifest injustice "generally... means that the
Court overlooked some dispositive factual or legal matter
that was presented to it," or that a "direct,
obvious, and observable" error occurred. See Brown
v. Zickefoose, No. 11-3330, 2011 WL 5007829, at *2 n.3
(D.N.J. Oct. 18, 2011) (citations and quotation marks