Gonzalez v. Houston
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying the Petitioner's 16 Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. Ordered by Senior Judge Richard G. Kopf. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(MKR)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
JOSE E. GONZALEZ,
ROBERT P. HOUSTON,
This matter is before the court on Petitioner Jose Gonzalez’s (“Gonzalez” or
“Petitioner”) Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment brought pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 59(e). (Filing No. 16.) The court denied Gonzalez’s Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus, with prejudice, on November 5, 2013. (See Filing Nos. 14
A district court has broad discretion in determining whether to grant a motion
to alter or amend judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e); see also United States v. Metro. St.
Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir.2006). Rule 59(e) motions “serve the
limited function of correcting manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly
discovered evidence.” Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d at 933. The purpose of
the rule is to allow the district court “the power to rectify its own mistakes in the
period immediately following the entry of judgment.” Norman v. Arkansas Depot of
Educ., 79 F.3d 748, 750 (8th Cir.1996) (quoting White v. New Hampshire Dep’t of
Employment Sec., 455 U.S. 445, 450(1982)). A Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend
must show: “1) an intervening change in controlling law; 2) the availability of new
evidence not available previously; or 3) the need to correct a clear error of law or
prevent manifest injustice.” Bannister v. Armontrout, 807 F.Supp. 516, 556
(W.D.Mo.1991), aff’d, 4 F.3d 1434 (8th Cir.1993).
Here, all of Gonzalez’s arguments in his motion for reconsideration concern the
same legal and factual theories already addressed by this court in its order denying
habeas corpus relief. Gonzalez argues in his motion that DNA evidence shows that
he is actually innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. (See Filing No. 16
at CM/ECF p. 3.) As set forth in the court’s order denying habeas corpus relief, the
state district court suppressed DNA evidence that Gonzalez argues excludes him as
the source of semen found on the victim’s bedding. The court determined in its order
denying habeas corpus relief that Gonzalez failed to explain why it was relevant that
his semen was not found on the victim’s bed. The victim testified at trial that
Gonzalez, her stepfather, orally and digitally penetrated her vagina and that he never
removed his clothing during the incidents of sexual abuse. (See victim’s testimony at
Filing No. 7-7 at CM/ECF pp. 24-53.) Thus, the existence of DNA evidence
excluding Gonzalez as the source of semen found on the victim’s bedding does not
affirmatively demonstrate that Gonzalez is actually innocent of sexually assaulting the
Gonzalez has failed to set forth any intervening change in case law or new
evidence that would allow for a modification of the court’s order. Further, Gonzalez
has failed to convince the court that it has made a clear error of law in its prior order.
A such, the instant motion for reconsideration must be denied.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that: Petitioner’s Motion to Alter or Amend
Judgment (Filing No. 16) is denied.
DATED this 10th day of December, 2013.
BY THE COURT:
Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge
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