United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY ON PENDING MOTIONS
Jane Magntts-Stinson, United States District Court Chief
pending before the Court are a Motion for Reconsideration,
[Filing No. 1036], and a Motion Requesting Status
regarding the reconsideration, [Filing No. 1043],
both filed by Defendant Mario Rodas. Mr. Rodas previously
sought a reduction in his sentence, [Filing No.
993], which the Court denied on October 26, 2016,
[Filing No. 1026]. Mr. Rodas asks the Court to
reconsider that ruling.
prior motion, Mr. Rodas sought application of Amendment 782,
enacted by the United States Sentencing Commission, which
lowered the guideline range for most drug offenses, and the
amendment was made retroactive. In its earlier ruling, the
Court noted that Amendment 782 did not result in a reduction
of the advisory guideline range for Mr. Rodas' case
because of the amount of drugs involved. Put another way, the
Court found that the base offense level for the offense was
the same after Amendment 782 as it was at sentencing, given
the high quantity of drugs attributed to Mr. Rodas. The Court
also noted that Mr. Rodas had pled guilty pursuant to a
binding plea agreement, agreeing to a sentence of 240 months.
Motion for Reconsideration, Mr. Rodas argues that the 782
reduction does impact his guideline calculation, and that the
guidelines were used in determining his sentencing range,
such that he should qualify for the 782 reduction.
[Filing No. 1036.]
Government opposes the motion, reiterating that Mr. Rodas
entered into a binding plea agreement, [Filing No.
788], calling for a specific sentence of 240 months,
without reference to the guideline calculation. The agreement
2. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 1
l(c)(l)(C), the parties agree that a sentence of 240 months1
imprisonment and a term of supervised release and fine as
imposed by the Court is the appropriate disposition of the
[Filing No. 788 at 2.] The Government also notes that Mr.
Rodas' plea agreement contains a complete waiver of any
right to appeal his sentence or seek a modification. Indeed
it does: “… Rodas expressly agrees not to
contest, or seek to modify, his conviction or
his sentence or the manner in which it was determined in any
proceeding....” [Filing No. 788 at 4
motion to reconsider is appropriate where the court has
misunderstood a party, where the court has made a decision
outside the adversarial issues presented to the court by the
parties, where the court has made an error of apprehension
(not of reasoning), where a significant change in the law has
occurred, or where significant new facts have been
discovered. Broadus v. Shields, 665 F.3d 846, 860
(7th Cir. 2011) (overruled in part on other
grounds, Hill v. Tangherlini, 724 F.3d 965 (7th Cir.
2013)); Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales,
Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990).
reviewed the sentencing transcript in this case, the Court
finds it could have been more clear as to its determination
of the quantity of drugs attributable to Mr. Rodas.
Accordingly, to the extent that the Court's earlier
ruling denied Mr. Rodas' motion based on drug quantity,
that ruling is reconsidered. Even so, the ultimate outcome
does not change.
Rodas pled guilty and was sentenced to 240 months pursuant to
a binding 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement that was not tied to a
specific drug quantity or guideline calculation. Indeed, the
agreed upon sentence was below the range applicable for the
guideline range to which the parties stipulated. [Filing
No. 788 at 5.] In Freeman v. United States, 131 S.Ct.
2685 (2011) (Sotomayor, J., concurring), the Court explained
that under the present circumstances, a 782 motion should be
denied. The influence a potential guideline calculation may
have had on Mr. Rodas' willingness to enter the agreement
does not alter the nature of the agreement. The Seventh
Circuit has stated, “[a]ll that matters is whether the
parties' binding plea agreement was expressly based on
the Sentencing Guidelines, not whether the Guidelines
informed the parties' decision to enter into the
agreement or whether the Guidelines informed the court's
decision to accept the agreement.” United States v.
Dixon, 687 F.3d 356, 361 (7th Cir. 2012).
Mr. Rodas did in fact waive his right to seek a sentence
modification as noted above. His plea agreement provided:
“… Rodas expressly agrees not to contest, or
seek to modify, his conviction or his sentence
or the manner in which it was determined in any
proceeding....” [Filing No. 788 at 4
(emphasis added).] During his sentencing, the Court made
clear the extent of the waiver:
THE COURT: Okay. Basically, what it means is, you are giving
up any rights that you have to challenge your sentence or the
manner in which it's imposed or your conviction in any
way. You are agreeing that, because of this agreement and the
government's agreement that your sentence will be limited
to 20 years, as well as the other terms of the plea
agreement, that it's a done deal, it's the final
decision, and you can't challenge it in any other way. Do
THE DEFENDANT: Yes.
[Filing No. 1017 at ...