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Morris v. Carter

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

August 1, 2014

ISSAC MORRIS, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN ALLEN CARTER, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner's "Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 59(e)" [14] and "Motion[s] in Request for Traverse" [17, 18]. The Court construes these filings as Motions for Reconsideration of the Court's September 27, 2013, Order [12] dismissing this action without prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

On March 20, 2013, Petitioner Issac Morris ("Petitioner"), an inmate at the Autry State Prison in Pelham, Georgia, proceeding pro se , filed a petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (the "Petition"), challenging his April 23, 2008, conviction for involuntary manslaughter in the Superior Court of DeKalb County.[1]

On April 18, 2013, the Magistrate Judge issued his R&R after reviewing the Petition under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. The Magistrate Judge recommended that the Petition be dismissed without prejudice because Petitioner did not exhaust his state court remedies. On May 2, 2013, Petitioner filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's R&R. In his objections, Petitioner asserted that the state court did not rule on his state habeas petition and argued that this delay of more than one year was an unreasonable miscarriage of justice that warrants federal relief.

On September 27, 2013, the Court adopted the Magistrate Judge's R&R and dismissed the Petition without prejudice because Petitioner did not exhaust his state court remedies. The Court held that the delay did not rise to a level to excuse Petitioner from exhausting his remedies at the state level, and that "the most appropriate course for Petitioner to challenge an unreasonable or abusive delay in the processing of his state habeas petition is to seek a writ of mandamus in the Georgia courts to compel the state habeas judge to rule on the petition." (See [12] at 5).

On October 21, 2013, Petitioner filed his "Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 59(e)" [14]. On April 17, 2014, and again on April 23, 2014, Petitioner filed his "Motion[s] for Request in Traverse Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243" [17, 18]. Although largely incomprehensible, construing his pro se filings liberally and as a whole, Petitioner appears to challenge the Court's September 27, 2013, Order on the grounds that "for 5 of almost 7 years [P]etitioner has been continuously litigating against his unconstitutional confinement, " (see [14] at 2), and "[i]f a fourteen-month delay (absent good reason) were [sic] routinely permissible, the function of the great writ would be eviscerated." (See [18] at 1). Petitioner "prays this honorable Court will order and schedule a traverse-expeditiously." (Id.).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

"A motion for reconsideration made after final judgment falls within the ambit of either Rule 59(e) (motion to alter or amend a judgment) or Rule 60(b) (motion for relief from judgment or order)." Region 8 Forest Serv. Timber Purchasers Council v. Alcock , 993 F.2d 800, 806 n.5 (11th Cir. 1993). The Court does not reconsider its orders as a matter of routine practice. LR 7.2 E., NDGa. The Court's Local Rules require the parties to file motions for reconsideration "within twenty-eight (28) days after entry of the order or judgment." Id.

Petitioner seeks reconsideration pursuant to Rule 59(e). Motions for reconsideration under Rule 59(e) are appropriate only where there is newly-discovered evidence[2] or a need to correct a manifest error of law or fact. See Hood v. Perdue , 300 F.Appx. 699, 700 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Pres. Endangered Areas of Cobb's History, Inc. v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs , 916 F.Supp. 1557, 1560 (N.D.Ga. 1995), aff'd, 87 F.3d 1242 (11th Cir. 1996)); Arthur , 500 F.3d at 1343 ("The only grounds for granting [a Rule 59] motion are newly-discovered evidence or manifest errors of law or fact."); Jersawitz v. People TV , 71 F.Supp.2d 1330, 1344 (N.D.Ga. 1999).[3]

A motion for reconsideration should not be used to present the Court with arguments already heard and dismissed, or to offer new legal theories or evidence that could have been presented in the previously-filed motion. See Arthur , 500 F.3d at 1343; O'Neal v. Kennamer , 958 F.2d 1044, 1047 (11th Cir. 1992); Bryan v. Murphy , 246 F.Supp.2d 1256, 1259 (N.D.Ga. 2003); see also Jones v. S. Pan Servs. , 450 F.Appx. 860, 863 (11th Cir. 2012) ("A motion to alter or amend a judgment cannot be used to relitigate old matters, raise arguments, or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment."); Pres. Endangered Areas , 916 F.Supp. at 1560 ("A motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity for the moving party and their counsel to instruct the court on how the court could have done it better' the first time."). Whether to grant a motion for reconsideration is within the sound discretion of the district court. See Region 8, 993 F.2d at 806.

B. Analysis

The Court dismissed Petitioner's action because he has not exhausted his state court remedies.[4] "To allow simultaneous federal and state habeas proceedings would offend the principles of comity that form the basis for the exhaustion requirement." Brown v. Walker, No. 1:09-cv-2534-WSD , 2010 WL 3516820, at *1 (N.D.Ga. Aug. 31, ...


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