United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
SECOND ORDER ON REVIEW OF REFUSAL TO RECUSE
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant McAllister's
Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's prior Orders
declining to disqualify U.S. District Judge Ronald B.
Leighton from hearing the instant Section 2255 petition. Dkt.
#12. Upon review of the motion, Judge Leighton declined to
grant reconsideration. Dkt. #16. In accordance with the Local
Rules of this District, Defendant's motion was referred
to the Undersigned for a review of Judge Leighton's
refusal to recuse. LCR 3(e).
motion for reconsideration, Defendant argues that Judge
Leighton's long-standing professional relationship with
his criminal defense attorney, Lance Hester, prejudiced him
in his criminal case. Dkt. #12. It appears that Mr.
McAllister is referring to a hearing on a motion to withdraw
as counsel made by Mr. Hester, wherein Mr. McAllister also
sought to withdraw his guilty plea. Criminal Case No.
CR13-5464RBL, Dkt. #69 at 2-4. After a lengthy argument
between Mr. McAllister and Judge Leighton about whether Mr.
McAllister was lying to Judge Leighton and why he would not
be able to move to withdraw his guilty plea at that time,
hearing concluded with Judge Leighton appointing new counsel
and directing Mr. McAllister to direct any questions about
making a motion to withdraw his guilty pleas to his new
counsel. Criminal Case No. CR13-5464RBL, Dkt. #69.
for reconsideration are disfavored.” LCR 7(h).
“The court will ordinarily deny such motions in the
absence of a showing of manifest error in the prior ruling or
a showing of new facts or legal authority which could not
have been brought to its attention earlier with reasonable
diligence.” LCR 7(h)(1). In this case, Mr. McAllister
presents no persuasive argument that this Court committed
manifest error in its prior Order, nor any new facts or legal
authority which could not have been brought to the
Court's attention earlier without reasonable diligence.
based his prior motion to recuse on his allegations of
“a long-standing conflict of interest demonstrated in
the record, ” a record which Defendant maintains is
evidence of Judge Leighton's bias against him. Criminal
Case No. 13-5464RBl, Dkt. #79 at 2. The Undersigned reviewed
that motion, and the remainder of the record, and ultimately
concluded that Defendant had not provided adequate proof of
bias or prejudice on the part of Judge Leighton. Dkt. #8.The
evidence upon which Defendant now bases his motion for
reconsideration is nearly identical to that which formed the
basis of his initial motion. Nothing presented to the Court
now convinces the Court that its prior determination should
be changed. For this reason, his motion for reconsideration
(Dkt. #12) is DENIED.
Court continues to find no evidence upon which to reasonably
question Judge Leighton's impartiality and AFFIRMS his
denial of Defendant's request that he recuse himself.
Clerk SHALL provide copies of this order to Defendant and to
all counsel of record.
 In particular, Mr. McAllister
complains about the following exchange:
THE COURT: All right. One step at a time. There is
ample grounds for Mr. Hester to withdraw, and I am signing
the order at this time. Then, I have reviewed your financial
affidavit and I approve your indigency status. I have signed
that. And so you will be appointed an attorney from the
panel. And then and only then will you counsel with your new
lawyer and file a motion supported by legal grounds for
withdrawing your plea.
THE DEFENDANT: I can't do that now, sir?
THE COURT: No.
THE DEFENDANT: How come? Under certain cases, if a
lawyer is threatening to withdraw, that ...