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Franklin v. Koster

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

October 31, 2016

JERRY D. FRANKLIN, Petitioner,
v.
CHRIS KOSTER, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CAROL E. JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on respondent's motion to alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). The petitioner has not filed a response, and the time allowed for doing so has expired.

         I. Procedural History

         On June 29, 2010, Jerry Franklin pled guilty in the Twenty-Second Circuit Court of Missouri (City of St. Louis) to two counts of first degree assault on a law enforcement officer, in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.081. See State v. Franklin, No. 0922-CR05755-01; Resp. Ex. A. He was sentenced on that same day to two 18-year terms of imprisonment that were to run concurrently with each other and with a previously-imposed 216-month federal sentence for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Resp. Ex. A at 2.

         On May 23, 2011, Franklin filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Court conditionally granted Franklin's petition on the grounds that he was denied effective assistance of counsel by reason of his attorney's failure to file a direct appeal of the state court judgment as instructed. [Doc. #46]. Respondent now moves to alter or amend pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). [Doc. #48].

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) clarifies the power of district courts to correct their own mistakes in the time period immediately following entry of judgment. Norman v. Ark. Dep't of Educ., 79 F.3d 748, 750 (8th Cir. 1996) (citing White v. N.H. Dep't of Emp't Sec., 455 U.S. 445, 450 (1982)). The rule affords district courts “broad discretion” to alter or amend a judgment. 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.'” Id. (quoting Innovative Home Health Care v. P.T.-O.T. Assoc. of the Black Hills, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286 (8th Cir. 1998)). Relief is only available when a manifest error “affects the correctness of the judgment.” Norman, 79 F.3d at 750 (internal quotations omitted).

         Conversely, a party should not use the motion to “introduce new evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments which could have been offered or raised prior to entry of judgment.” Innovative Home Health Care, 141 F.3d at 1286. This rule applies with equal force in the habeas context - a Rule 59(e) motion cannot be used to raise new arguments that could have been asserted prior to final judgment. See, e.g., Mathenia v. Delo, 99 F.3d 1476 (8th Cir. 1996).

         III. Discussion

         Respondent argues that the Court should grant its Rule 59(e) motion because (1) the Court erroneously determined that Franklin showed cause and prejudice to excuse procedural default, (2) Franklin did not adequately plead an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, (3) the Court should have held an evidentiary hearing as “Franklin, his documents, and his affiants are not credible, ” and (4) the state circuit court's decision did not involve an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. [Doc. #48].

         With regard to the Court's findings of cause and prejudice, respondent disputes the Court's interpretation and application of Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012). The Court has reviewed respondent's arguments and finds no error in its previous ruling.[1] Further, the Court previously analyzed and rejected each of the respondent's remaining arguments. [Doc. #46 at 15, 22-23 (addressing the state circuit court's application of federal law); id. at 16-23 (evaluating the factual sufficiency of petitioner's claims); id. at 25-26 (rejecting the need for an evidentiary hearing)].

         Respondent also filed new evidence in support of the Rule 59(e) motion. This new evidence consists of defense counsels' affidavits, disputing petitioner's assertion that he directed them to appeal the state court judgment. [Doc. #50]. But, respondent makes no showing that “(1) this evidence was discovered after trial; (2) the movant exercised due diligence to discover the evidence before the end of trial; (3) the evidence is material and not merely cumulative or impeaching; and (4) a new trial considering the evidence would probably produce a different result.” United States v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist, 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006).

         The Court finds that the arguments and evidence respondent presents in the instant Rule 59(e) motion have or could have been raised prior to entry of judgment. The respondent will not be afforded a “second bite at the apple.” Id. at 936. Moreover, respondent has not shown any ...


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