United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Mapcross Division
Godbey Wood, Judge
the Court is Petitioner James Allyson Lee's Motion to
Alter and Amend the Judgment. Dkt. Nos. 100, 116. In that
Motion, Petitioner also renewed his application for a
Certificate of Appealability. Id. For the reasons
state below, the Motion is DENIED and the
Application for a Certificate of Appealability PCOA") is
The Underlying Conviction and Direct Appeal
June 4, 1997, Lee was convicted by a jury of malice murder,
armed robbery, and possession of a firearm during the
commission of a crime. Lee v. State, 514 S.E.2d 1, 2
(Ga. 1999). He was also convicted of felony murder, but that
conviction was vacated by operation of law. Id. at 3
n.1. On June 6, 1997, Lee was sentenced to death. Hall v.
Lee, 684 S.E.2d 868');">684 S.E.2d 868, 871 (Ga. 2009); see also
Dkt.. No. 12-3 at 85, 91-92. On direct appeal, the Georgia
Supreme Court unanimously upheld Lee's conviction.
Lee, 514 S.E.2d 1. The United States Supreme Court
denied Lee's petition for a writ of certiorari and denied
his petition for a rehearing. Lee v. Georgia, 528
U.S. 1006 (1999), reh'g den'd 528 U.S. 1145
August 4, 2000, Lee filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus in the Superior Court of Butts County. Dkt. No. 20-16
at 2. On March 12, 2009, that court granted Lee's
petition. See generally id. On November 2, 2009, the
Georgia Supreme Court unanimously reversed the granting of
the petition. Hall v. Lee, 684 S.E.2d 868');">684 S.E.2d 868 (Ga.
February 5, 2010, Lee filed his federal habeas petition in
this Court. Dkt. No. 1. In September 2010, he amended it.
Dkt. No. 29. The petition argued for relief on five grounds:
"(1) ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) improper
jury instructions; (3) a violation of Brady v.
Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); (4) trial-court errors;
and (5) violations of the Eight and Fourteenth Amendments by
imposition of the death sentence in this case." Lee
v. Upton, 2017 WL 4158643, at *3 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 19,
2017). The Court denied Lee's petition. Id. The
Court also did not rule on Lee's application for a COA.
October 17, 2017, Lee moved to alter and amend the judgment
of the Court that denied his habeas petition arguing that the
Court incorrectly applied federal law when ruling on one of
Lee's ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. Dkt. Nos.
100, 116. Lee also applied, in the alternative, for a COA.
only grounds for granting [a Rule 59(e)] motion are
newly-discovered evidence or manifest errors of law or
fact." Arthur v. King, 500 F.3d 1335, 1343
(11th Cir. 2007) (emphasis added) (quoting In re
Kellogg, 197 F.3d 1116, 1119 (11th Cir. 1999)).
"Reconsideration under Rule 59 is an extraordinary
remedy that should be employed sparingly." Yulin Ma
v. Au, 2009 WL 10702953, at *4 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 29,
2009). "[A] Rule 59(e) motion [cannot be used] to
relitigate old matters, raise argument or present evidence
that could have been raised prior to the entry of
judgment." Id. (quoting Michael Linet,
Inc., v. Village of Wellington, Fla., 408 F.3d 757, 763
(11th Cir. 2005)). Thus, "the Court will only grant
Plaintiff's motion if (1) it presents newly-discovered
evidence or (2) identifies manifest errors of law or
fact." Jolley v. Donovan, 2011 WL 6400306, at
*2 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 19, 2011).
Certificate of Appealability
Rule of Appellate Procedure 22(b)(1) provides in relevant
part: "In a habeas corpus proceeding in which the
detention complained of arises from process issued by a state
court . . . the applicant cannot take an appeal unless a
circuit justice or a circuit or district judge issues a [COA]
under 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)." Under 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2), a COA should be issued "only if the
applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right." The United States Supreme Court
has recently reemphasized that "[t]he COA inquiry ... is
not coextensive with a merits analysis." Buck v.
Davis, 137 S.Ct. 759, 773 (2017) . Rather, at this
stage, "the only question is whether the applicant has
shown that jurists of reason could disagree with the district
court's resolution of his ...