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United States v. Davis

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

March 13, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
LEN DAVIS

         SECTION: “B”

          ORDER AND REASONS

         Before the Court are Petitioner's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (Rec. Doc. 2471) and the Government's Opposition (Rec. Doc. 2473). For the reasons discussed below, IT IS ORDERED that the motion is DISMISSED.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Petitioner Len Davis was charged with three counts. The first being one count of a conspiracy to violate Kim Marie Groves' constitutionally protected right to liberty by the use of excessive force, while acting under the color of the law, which resulted in her death. See Rec. Doc. 187. The second being that petitioner's actions substantively constituted the deprivation of rights under the color of law pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 242. See Id. The third being that petitioner willfully killed Groves to prevent communication to law enforcement of a possible federal crime. See id. On April 24, 1996, the jury found Petitioner guilty as to all three counts. See Rec. Doc. 524 at 3.

         After receiving concurrent sentences for all three counts, Davis filed a timely notice of appeal in which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's decisions as to Count 1 and 2 and reversed and vacated the sentence as to Count 3. See Rec. Doc. 714 at 3. After being resentenced for Count 3, Petitioner again filed a notice of appeal, and on September 2, 2010, the Fifth Circuit affirmed his sentence. See Rec. Doc. Nos. 1542 and 2165. On March 22, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Petitioner's Writ of Certiorari. See Rec. Doc. 2205.

         On March 20, 2012, Petitioner filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 for relief from his 1996 convictions. See Rec. Doc. Nos. 2265, 2340, 2341. The motion alleged violations of Davis' rights to due process and a fair trial due to conflict of interest, race discrimination, juror misconduct, and ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt phase trial. On September 1, 2017, this Court ordered Petitioner to file supplemental memoranda regarding which of his § 2255 claims might require evidentiary hearing. See Rec. Doc. 2449. On March 22, 2018, this Court issued its Order and Reasons denying Petitioner's request for an evidentiary hearing and ordering that Petitioner's claims and all other motions be dismissed. See Rec. Doc. 2466.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A Rule 59(e) motion contemplates the correctness of a judgment and argues legal error. See Templet v. Hydrochem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004). Under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 59(e), district courts have the power to consider altering or amending a judgment that would otherwise be final. See Burnam v. Amoco Container Co., 738 F.2d 1230 (11th Cir. 1984).

         To succeed under Rule 59(e), the party must show that there is a change in controlling law, new evidence, and/or a need to correct a clear and manifest error. See Bollinger Shipyards Lockport, LLC v. AmClyde Engineered Prods. Co., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10577, at *3-4 (E.D. La. June 10, 2003). Evidence is not newly discovered evidence if it was available before entry of the challenged decision. See, e.g., Schiller v. Physicians Res. Group Inc. 342 F.3d 563, 567-68 (5th Cir. 2003); Waltman v. International Paper Co., 875 F.2d 468, 473-74 (5th Cir. 1989). In addition, a petitioner does not identify a manifest error of law or fact if he or she simply repeats arguments it made before this court's ruling.

         According to the Fifth Circuit, “altering and amending a judgment under Rule 59(e) is an extraordinary remedy that courts should use sparingly.” Templet, 367 F.3d at 479. The court in Resolution Trust Corp. v. Holmes, concluded that Rule 59 is not the “proper vehicle for rehashing old arguments or advancing theories of the case that could have been presented earlier, ” 846. F.Supp. 1310, 1316 (S.D. Tex. 1994).

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 a prisoner may collaterally attack his or her sentence post-conviction. 28 U.S.C. § 2255 provides that:

[u]nless the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief, the court shall cause notice thereof to be served upon the United States attorney, grant a prompt hearing thereon, determine the issues and make findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect thereto.

         However, where the motion, files, and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief, the Court may deny a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion without an evidentiary hearing. U.S. v. Auten, 632 F.2d 478 (5th Cir. 1980).

         28 U.S.C. § 2255 is “reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights and for that narrow compass of other injury that could not have been raised on direct appeal and, would, if condoned, result in a complete miscarriage of justice.” U.S. v. Capua, 656 F.2d 1033, 1037 (5th Cir. 1981). Mere conclusory allegations on a critical issue are insufficient to raise a constitutional issue. U.S. v. Pineda, 988 F.2d 22, 23 (5th Cir. 1993). ÔÇťAbsent evidence in the record, a court cannot consider a habeas ...


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