United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
R. Underhill, United States District Judge.
17, 2019, I granted Bobby Medina's Motion for Relief
Pursuant to the First Step Act. See Ruling on FSA
Relief, Doc. No. 1466. In doing so, I determined that
Medina's conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent
to distribute and to distribute 50 grams or more of crack
cocaine and five kilograms or more of powder cocaine was a
“covered offense” and, therefore, he was entitled
to relief. See Id. at 3-8. Further, I concluded that
Medina was entitled to a resentencing on all three counts of
conviction, even though two were not “covered
offenses.” See Id. at 9-12. Medina's
resentencing has been scheduled for August 12, 2019. The
government now moves for reconsideration of that ruling,
arguing that I erred in determining that Medina was eligible
for relief. Mot. for Reconsid., Doc. No. 1469. I disagree
and, therefore, the Motion for Reconsideration is
for reconsideration require the movant to set forth
“concisely the matters or controlling decisions which
[the movant] believes the Court overlooked in the initial
decision or order.” D. Conn. L. Civ. R.
7(c). “The major grounds justifying
reconsideration are an intervening change of controlling law,
the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a
clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Virgin
Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d
1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (quotation marks omitted).
“[T]he standard for granting a … motion for
reconsideration is strict, and reconsideration will generally
be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling
decisions or data that the court overlooked.”
Analytical Surveys, Inc. v. Tonga Partners, 684 F.3d
36, 52 (2d Cir. 2012); see also Shrader v. CSX Transp.,
Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995)). A motion for
reconsideration “is not a vehicle for relitigating old
issues, presenting the case under new theories, securing a
rehearing on the merits, or otherwise taking a ‘second
bite at the apple.'” Analytical Surveys,
684 F.3d at 52. (quoting Sequa Corp. v. GBJ Corp.,
156 F.3d 136, 144 (2d Cir. 1998)).
the government's assertions stem from its argument that
Medina only allocuted to a conspiracy involving powder
cocaine, although he was charged with a conspiracy involving
both powder cocaine and crack cocaine, and, therefore, he was
not convicted of and sentenced for a covered offense.
See Motion to Reconsider, Doc. No. 1469.
Specifically, the government argues that I erred: in finding
that Medina was entitled to relief despite the record of the
plea colloquy revealing that Medina only pled guilty to the
powder cocaine offense; in failing to consider that the
statute of conviction controls eligibility, not merely the
statutory violation listed in the indictment; and in failing
to consider case law that failure to admit to crack cocaine
involvement negates First Step Act eligibility. Id.
at 1-2. The government opposed Medina's motion for relief
primarily on those grounds and, therefore, I thoroughly
considered those arguments in deciding whether to grant
Medina's motion. See Opp. to Mot. for FSA
Relief, Doc. No. 1459. I recognized in my ruling that Medina
did not expressly allocute to the amount of crack cocaine
listed in the indictment, however, the indictment, the
transcript of the sentencing, and the Judgment all reflect
that Medina was still charged with, convicted of, and
sentenced to a crack cocaine offense. See Ruling on
FSA Relief, Doc. No. 1466 at 2, n. 1; id. at 6-8;
Superseding Indictment, Doc. No. 419; Sent. Tr., Doc. No.
1458-1 at 2; Judgment, Doc. No. 1017.
contrary to the government's assertion, my ruling
expressly stated that the statute of conviction
controls eligibility. See Ruling on FSA Relief, Doc.
No. 1466 at 5 (“‘it is the statute of conviction,
not the actual conduct, that controls
eligibility'”) (quoting United States v.
Allen, 2019 WL 1877072, at *3 (D. Conn. Apr. 26, 2019)).
Beyond simply noting that proposition, however, I also
applied it. The government seems to have a very narrow
interpretation of the term “statute of conviction,
” with which I simply do not agree. First Step Act
eligibility is determined by the statute with which the
defendant was charged in the indictment. See United
States v. Opher, 2019 WL 3297201, at *11-12 (D.N.J. July
23, 2019) (“The thrust of [section 404] of the First
Stem Act is sentence reform; eligibility springs from a
‘covered offense,' not from being a ‘covered
offender.'”). The “statute of
conviction” here is 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A)
because Medina was charged with a violation of that section,
allocuted to a violation of that section, and was sentenced
for a violation of that section. See Indictment,
Doc. No. 419 at 3 (count one “contrary to the
provisions of [21 U.S.C. §§] 841(a)(1) and
841(b)(1)(A) … [and] 846”); Plea Tr., Doc. No.
1459-1 at 7 (government stating that Medina was charged with
violation of sections 846 and 841(b)(1)(A)); Sentencing Tr.,
Doc. No. 1458-1 at 2 (noting that Medina plead guilty on
count one to a violation of sections 846, 841(a)(1), and
841(b)(1)(A)); Judgment, Doc. No. 1017 at 1 (Medina
adjudicated guilty of a violation of sections 846, 841(a)(1),
respect to his plea allocution, Medina pled guilty to a
violation of sections 846 and 841(b)(1)(A). His allocution,
which focused on powder cocaine, was sufficient to satisfy
each element of the charged offenses. See Plea Tr.,
Doc. No. 1459-1 at 28-29 (government agreeing with the court
that Medina need only allocute to crack or powder cocaine for
count one). Count One was a conspiracy charge; the elements
of that charge are met by an agreement to distribute crack
cocaine and powder cocaine, even if Medina did not actively
sell crack cocaine. Moreover, as Medina stated in his
opposition to government's Motion to Reconsider, a court
may rely on any fact in the record to determine whether there
was a factual basis for the plea. See Opp. to Mot.
to Reconsider, Doc. No. 1475 at 11 (citing Godwin v.
United States, 687 F.2d 585, 590 (2d Cir. 1982)).
was ample evidence in the record to establish that Medina
was, in fact, a member of the crack cocaine conspiracy.
Simply put, Medina's “statutes of conviction,
” therefore, are sections 846 and 841(b)(1)(A), the
penalties for which were changed by the Fair Sentencing Act.
It appears that the government fundamentally disagrees with
my determination that the statute of conviction here includes
the crack cocaine offense. See Doc. No. 1017. That
is not, however, grounds for reconsideration because I fully
considered the government's arguments and simply do not
agree that the cocaine offense should control.
government argues in the alternative that even if Medina was
convicted of a crack cocaine offense, I failed to consider
case law holding that First Step Act relief is not available
to a defendant who was convicted of a multiple-drug
conspiracy where the non-crack cocaine substance triggered
the same penalties. Mot. to Reconsider, Doc. No. 1469 at 1.
Again, the government seems to be taking issue with my
interpretation of the breadth of relief granted by the First
Step Act. I acknowledge that there are other courts that have
decided not to grant First Step Act relief to defendants,
like Medina, who were convicted of multi-drug conspiracies
where the statutory penalties for the drug quantities were
equal and only one was amended by the Fair Sentencing Act.
See Mot. to Reconsider, Doc. No. 1469 at 3-4. I am
not, however, bound by those decisions and I respectfully
disagree with the results reached, which limit the relief
available under the First Step Act.
interpret the First Step Act broadly, as I must, and, in
doing so, determined that Medina was convicted of an offense
involving 50 grams or more of cocaine base, the statutory
penalties for which were amended by the Fair Sentencing Act,
making it a covered offense. As stated in my ruling, the
First Step Act should be “construed in favor of broader
coverage” and “[i]gnoring the crack cocaine
portion of Medina's conviction in favor of the powder
cocaine portion would not serve the [remedial] purpose of the
Act … of mitigating the unfairness created by the
crack-to-powder cocaine ratio.” Ruling on FSA Relief,
Doc. No. 1466 at 6-7 (citations omitted). The government may
disagree with that interpretation, but it has not shown that
I overlooked controlling decisions or data, nor that my
decision to grant Medina's motion for relief was clear
error or will lead to a manifest injustice. Accordingly, the
government is not entitled to a “second bite at the
apple” simply because it disagrees with me regarding
the breadth of relief provided by the First Step Act.
those reasons, the government's Motion for
Reconsideration (doc. no. 1469) is denied.
 Local Civil Rule 7(c) applies to
criminal cases as well. See D. Conn. L. Crim. R.