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United States v. Warner

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

October 30, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES WARNER - D4, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL [ECF NO. 159]

          VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         James Warner filed a motion for reconsideration of this Court's order denying his motion for a new trial. Warner does not show any “palpable defect” in the Court's order, and the Court DENIES his motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts of this case are set forth in this Court's order denying Warner's motion for a new trial [ECF No. 153]. The Court denied his motion for a new trial because the premise of the motion - that Warner requested counsel different from his counsel of record, and the Court denied that request - is a fallacy.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         To succeed on a motion for reconsideration “[t]he movant must not only demonstrate a palpable defect by which the court and the parties and other persons entitled to be heard on the motion have been misled but also show that correcting the defect will result in a different disposition of the case.” E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(h)(3). A “palpable defect” is a “defect that is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or plain.” United States v. Cican, 156 F.Supp.2d 661, 668 (E.D. Mich. 2001) (J. Gadola).

         Warner fails to demonstrate any “obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or plain” defect in the Court's denial of his motion for a new trial.

         III. ANALYSIS

         In this motion, Warner tries to reframe the issue that was before the Court in May 2019 when he filed his emergency motion to adjourn his trial date.

         The true landscape of the issue is this:

. There were three requests for adjournment - all of which the Court granted - prior to the request for adjournment at issue.
. Six days before the fourth scheduled trial date, Warner's trial counsel, Robert Harrison, sent an email to the Court about back and leg pain. He said his client was aware of his limitations, and that he may need accommodations during trial. No request to adjourn the trial was made.
. The Court tried to finalize a trial schedule the next day and said it may contain a mix of half and full days. Harrison emailed the Court the day after, seeking an adjournment. He said he could not do full days, and that “IF” the trial was adjourned, he would arrange to have an additional lawyer try the case with him so that his back issues would not be a “consideration at the time of the new trial date.” The Court decided not to handle the issue via email; it told Harrison to file a motion.
. The next day, Harrison filed an emergency motion to adjourn trial. He did not mention the need for another attorney. He took issue with the trial schedule. He said health issues would impair his performance. Harrison expressed concerns with a “truncated” schedule and artificial limitations the Court might place on Warner's right to cross examine witnesses. Harrison stated, “defense counsel's health issues make this truncated schedule an impossibility.” . In denying the motion, the Court addressed Harrison's issue with the trial schedule and proposed several schedules, including one that completely granted Harrison's request for half days and which anticipated a week-long break as well. It included 4 half days; a weekend plus two days of break from trial; two half days of trial, a weekend plus a day break from trial; three half days of trial; a week break; one full day of trial and two half days. The parties declined this schedule and opted for the one that ...

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