USA v. Thomas Bates
Filed Nonprecedential Disposition PER CURIAM. AFFIRMED. Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge; Joel M. Flaum, Circuit Judge and Diane S. Sykes, Circuit Judge. [6882410-1]  [17-1590]
To be cited only in accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Submitted October 31, 2017*
Decided November 8, 2017
DIANE P. WOOD, Chief Judge
JOEL M. FLAUM, Circuit Judge
DIANE S. SYKES, Circuit Judge
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
THOMAS L. BATES,
Appeal from the United States
District Court for the Northern District
of Illinois, Eastern Division.
No. 89 CR 908‐2
Rebecca R. Pallmeyer,
O R D E R
Thomas Bates, convicted in federal court in 1992, appeals the district court’s
denial of his motion challenging orders pertaining to his federal pretrial detention.
Because the district court correctly decided that it did not have authority to consider the
motion, we affirm.
Bates was a high‐ranking member in the El Rukn organization, a notorious
Chicago street gang involved in drug trafficking. In 1992 a jury convicted him of
* We have agreed to decide this case without oral argument because the appeal is
frivolous. See FED. R. APP. P. 34(a)(2)(A).
racketeering and narcotics offenses, for which he received a sentence of life
imprisonment. After the district court denied Bates’s motion for a new trial, we
affirmed the judgment in 1997. See United States v. Williams, 139 F.3d 902 (7th Cir. 1997)
(unpublished). Even though 20 years have passed since that decision—and 17 years
have elapsed since his collateral attack under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 was denied as untimely—
Bates has not stopped filing motions in his criminal case. Among these are unsuccessful
motions to modify his sentence, to amend the judgment, to reopen the case for further
discovery, and to enter judgment on a special verdict.
A motion filed in March 2017 is the subject of this appeal. Bates moved for
“release from detention” under 18 U.S.C. §§ 3142(f), (j), 3145(b). These statutes establish
the procedure for federal courts to consider releasing a defendant before trial.
Bates contends, among other things, that the district court entered pretrial detention
orders without a hearing or fair notice and that, as a result, the court should now
release him. The district court denied his motion, reasoning that Bates’s challenge to his
pretrial detention was moot because he has since been convicted and is serving a life
The district court correctly ruled that it could not consider Bates’s motion.
Following the imposition of a sentence, the district court has the power to address
motions made in the same criminal case “only when authorized by statute or rule.”
United States v. Goode, 342 F.3d 741, 743 (7th Cir. 2003); see United States v. Scott, 414 F.3d
815, 816 (7th Cir. 2005); Romandine v. United States, 206 F.3d 731, 734–35 (7th Cir. 2000).
Two examples are 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) (regarding sentencing reductions based on
retroactive amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines) and Federal Rule of Criminal
Procedure 35 (allowing sentencing reductions for substantial assistance or certain
errors). No matter how Bates labels his motion, we evaluate its substance. See Curry v.
United States, 507 F.3d 603, 604 (7th Cir. 2007). Bates does not invoke either
section 3582(c)(2) or Rule 35 in the motion, and rightly so because he is not attacking his
sentence. Nor could he attack his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 without prior
authorization from this court, because Bates already brought such an attack in 2000.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). With no authority to consider the motion, the court rightly
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