United States District Court, Eastern District of California
On December 15, 2014, the court sentenced the defendant, Mr. Bernot, to eighteen months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, a $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $20, 000. Judgment and Commitment, ECF No. 1142. On December 19, 2014, the defendant filed a motion to correct the sentence under Rule 35(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, asserting the court committed clear error in imposing the $20, 000 fine. Mot. Am. Judgment, ECF No. 1144. The United States opposes the motion. ECF No. 1156.
Rule 35(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provides, "Within 14 days after sentencing, the court may correct a sentence that resulted from arithmetical, technical, or other clear error." As of the date of this order, the court retains jurisdiction to make any correction provided for by Rule 35(a). The Rule '"authorizes the district court to correct obvious sentencing errors.'" United States v. Rai, No. 06-058, 2010 WL 3954566, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 8, 2010) (quoting United States v. Portin, 20 F.3d 1028, 1030 (9th Cir.1994)). It "does not empower the district court to reach legal sentences previously imposed." United States v. Lewis, 862 F.2d 748, 750 (9th Cir. 1988). See also United States v. Barragan-Mendoza, 174 F.3d 1024, 1028 (9th Cir. 1999) ("Rule 35(c) clearly is intended to allow a district court to modify a sentence only in very limited instances and not merely to reconsider sentencing issues." (emphasis in original) (internal quotation marks omitted)).
Having carefully considered the defendant's motion, and relevant case authority including the authority cited by the parties, the court concludes this is not one of the limited circumstances in which it is able to modify the sentence as defendant requests. Even if the court were inclined to reconsider imposition of the fine, given the additional details provided in the defense motion but not presented at the time of sentencing, it cannot find that the sentence "resulted from arithmetical, technical, or other clear error."
Defendant's motion ...