United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
July 6, 2004.
JAMES GIBSON, Plaintiff,
STEPHEN D. MOTE and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS LISA MADIGAN, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES KOCORAS, District Judge
This matter comes before the court on Petitioner James Gibson's
("Gibson") motion for reconsideration of our May 18, 2004,
opinion denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus. For the
reasons set forth below, we deny the motion for reconsideration.
Gibson is currently a prisoner at the Pontiac Correctional
Center in Pontiac, Illinois. The circumstances leading to his
present incarceration are described in our earlier opinion
denying his habeas petition. See Gibson v. Mote, 2004 WL
1125926 (N.D. Ill. 2004). Gibson now asks that we reconsider that
ruling (1) because there was insufficient evidence at his murder trial to support a finding of
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and (2) because he received
ineffective assistance of trial counsel due to his lawyer failing
to investigate potential alibi witnesses and giving him improper
advice concerning his right to testify.
Even though the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rules") do
not officially recognize a pleading called "motion to
reconsider," courts generally construe such requests as being
brought under Rule 59(e) or under Rule 60(b). Walker v. Abbott
Laboratories, 340 F.3d 471, 475 (7th Cir. 2003). All motions to
reconsider filed within ten days of the entry of judgment,
including Gibson's present motion,*fn1 are treated as
Rule 59(e) motions. Russell v. Delco Remy Div. of Gen. Motors Corp.,
51 F.3d 746, 749 (7th Cir. 1995). Rule 59(e) permits parties to
file, within ten days of the entry of a judgment, a motion to
reconsider the judgment. Motions for reconsideration under
Rule 59(e) are designed "to correct manifest errors of law or fact or
to present newly discovered evidence." Publishers Res., Inc. v.
Walker-Davis Publ'ns, Inc., 762 F.2d 557, 561 (7th Cir. 1985).
Such motions do not give a party the opportunity to rehash old arguments or to present new arguments "that could and should
have been presented to the district court prior to the judgment."
Moro v. Shell Oil Co., 91 F.3d 872, 876 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing
LB Credit Corp. v. Resolution Trust Corp., 49 F.3d 1263, 1267
(7th Cir. 1995)). Rather, a Rule 59(e) motion "must clearly
establish either a manifest error of law or fact or must present
newly discovered evidence" in order to be successful. LB Credit
Corp., 49 F.3d at 1267 (quoting Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v.
Meyer, 781 F.2d 1260, 1268 (7th Cir. 1986)). The decision of
whether to grant or deny a Rule 59(e) motion "is entrusted to the
sound judgment of the district court." In re Prince,
85 F.3d 314, 324 (7th Cir. 1996).
Gibson first asks that we reconsider the denial of his habeas
petition because there was insufficient evidence at his murder
trial to support the court's finding of guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt. While Gibson raised this issue on an appeal from his
conviction (which the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed), he
failed to raise it on his habeas petition to this court. Because
Gibson had the opportunity to advance this argument in his
original petition, it would be improper for us to entertain it on
this motion for reconsideration. Moro, 91 F.3d at 876.
Gibson next contends that he should be granted habeas relief
because his trial attorney provided ineffective assistance of
counsel by failing to investigate potential alibi witnesses and by advising him not to testify at trial. We
addressed both these claims in our prior opinion, finding that
his lawyer's assistance was effective and reasonable under the
standards of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).
Gibson's motion presents no newly discovered evidence to cast
doubt on this finding and merely regurgitates the same arguments
contained in his habeas petition. We accordingly reject these
grounds for reconsideration. See Dataquill Ltd. v. Handspring,
Inc., 2003 WL 1895351, *1 (N.D. Ill. 2003).
Based on the foregoing analysis, we deny the motion for