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United States v. Gallardo

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

January 21, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ADRIANA GALLARDO (FLORES), ANGEL AGUILAR.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant Adriana Gallardo Flores's ("Flores") motion for reconsideration of the Court's October 21, 2014 order narrowing the basis for the grant of Flores's motion to suppress. For the following reasons, the Court denies Defendant's motion.

BACKGROUND

On August 15, 2013, the grand jury returned a nine-count indictment against Aguilar and Defendant Adriana Gallardo Flores ("Flores") alleging money laundering and structuring offenses under 18 U.S.C. § 1956 and 31 U.S.C. § 5324 (R. 1, Indictment.) The government arrested Flores on May 29, 2013, pursuant to a criminal complaint. (R. 36-2, Criminal Compl.) Flores made statements to the government following her arrest, and filed a motion to suppress those statements on March 14, 2014.

As discussed in detail in the Court's October 21, 2014 Memorandum Opinion and Order (R. 56, the "October 2014 Opinion"), the court held a hearing on Flores's motion to suppress over two days beginning on May 13, 2014.[1] After hearing testimony from a number of witnesses, including Flores, the court suppressed Flores's post-arrest statements. Specifically, the court found that: 1) Flores invoked her right to counsel at the scene of the arrest; (R. 40, 5/14/2014 Tr. 52-53) 2) Flores invoked her right to counsel again after the government brought her to the DEA offices; ( Id. 53-54) and 3) the conversation the law enforcement officers had with Flores at the DEA offices before Flores waived her Miranda rights constituted a custodial interrogation because it was intended to induce Flores to waive her rights and make incriminating admissions in response. ( Id. 54-56; 65.) The court also suppressed evidence found by law enforcement on Flores's cell phone and during a subsequent search of her office and residence as "fruit of the poisonous tree" derived from Flores's suppressed statements. ( Id. 65-66.)

On August 6, 2014, the government filed a motion to narrow the court's May 14, 2014 suppression ruling (the "May 2014 Ruling"). (R. 45.) As detailed in the Court's October 2014 Opinion, the Court granted the government's motion. The Court found that once Flores invoked her right to counsel at the scene of her arrest and did not re-initiate communication with law enforcement, the court did not need to reach any additional possible bases for suppression. Accordingly, the Court struck the other findings from the May 2014 Ruling, including that IRS Agent William Desmond and CPD Sergeant George Karuntzos were untruthful in their testimony at the hearing. The Court ordered that Flores's post-arrest statements in the interview at the DEA office, and any evidence obtained in the subsequent searches of Flores's office, residence, and cell phone remain suppressed.

Flores now moves for reconsideration of the Court's October 21, 2014 decision.

LEGAL STANDARD

Motions to reconsider are not explicitly provided for in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, but courts have found that they exist as a matter of general practice. United States v. Rollins, 607 F.3d 500, 502 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing United States v. Healy, 376 U.S. 75, 84 S.Ct. 553, 11 L.Ed.2d 527 (1964)); see also United States v. Townsend, 762 F.3d 641, 645 (7th Cir. 2014) (in criminal cases, "reconsideration motions are accepted as a common-law practice"). "[A] motion to reconsider in a criminal prosecution is proper and may be entertained if it is filed in time." United States v. Beard, 745 F.3d 288, 291 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing Rollins, 607 F.3d at 504).

Motions for reconsideration, however, are not entertained lightly. "A district court may reconsider a prior decision when there has been a significant change in the law or facts since the parties presented the issue to the court, when the court misunderstands a party's arguments, or when the court overreaches by deciding an issue not properly before it." United States v. Ligas, 549 F.3d 497, 501 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990) (holding that a motion for reconsideration performs a valuable function where the court has patently misunderstood a party, has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension)). Whether to grant reconsideration "is left to the discretion of the district court." Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th Cir. 1996).

ANALYSIS

In her motion, Flores makes two main arguments. First, she contends that the Court's October 2014 ruling conflicts with binding Seventh Circuit precedent on the "law of the case" doctrine. Second, Flores argues that in making its October 2014 decision, the Court did not fully evaluate the prejudice that it would cause her. The Court will address each of these arguments in turn.

I. Law of the Case Doctrine

Flores first argues that the Court's October 2014 ruling conflicts with the "law of the case" doctrine. Specifically, Flores contends that the successor judge in a transferred case should not disrupt the findings of the original judge. "Under the law of the case doctrine, a court generally should not reopen issues decided in earlier stages of the same litigation." United States v. Harris, 531 F.3d 507, 513 (7th Cir. 2008). The law of the case doctrine, however, is "no more than a presumption, one whose strength varies with the circumstances." Galvan v. Norberg, 678 F.3d 581, 587 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Avitia v. Metro. Club of Chicago, Inc., 49 F.3d 1219, 1227 (7th Cir. 1995)). "A judge may reexamine his earlier ruling (or the ruling of a judge previously assigned to the case...) ...


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