United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
J. BARBIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Vacate Judgment
(“Rule 60(b) motion”) (Rec. Doc.
11) filed by pro se Petitioner Henry Rankin
(“Petitioner”) and an opposition thereto (Rec.
Doc. 16). Petitioner filed a reply (Rec. Doc. 17). Having
considered the motion and legal memoranda, the record, and
the applicable law, the Court finds that the motion should be
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
is a state prisoner incarcerated in the Louisiana State
Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. After a jury trial,
Petitioner was convicted in Louisiana state court of second
degree murder pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 14:30.1
on December 9, 1982. On January 14, 1983, the trial court
sentenced Petitioner to life imprisonment at hard labor.
Petitioner appealed his conviction and sentence to the
Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, which affirmed his
conviction and sentence on April 1, 1985. Upon the expiration
of the time for seeking certiorari to the United States
Supreme Court, Petitioner's conviction became final on
June 30, 1985.
filed his first application for post-conviction relief in the
trial court on August 11, 1988, therein alleging that the
trial court erred when it denied him a copy of the initial
police report and allowed the district attorney to
cross-examine Petitioner regarding other crimes for which he
was convicted. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at 3). Petitioner
also asserted that he should have been granted a new trial
because of the discovery of new evidence which would have
substantially affected the verdict. (See Rec. Doc. 6
at 3). On December 8, 1988, the district judge issued a
judgment with reasons denying the post-conviction relief.
(See Rec. Doc. 6 at 3). Thereafter, Petitioner filed
for review in the Louisiana Fourth Circuit, and in the
Louisiana Supreme Court. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at 3).
Petitioner was denied relief on February 6, 1989, and
September 14, 1990, respectively. (See Rec. Doc. 6
September 1991, Petitioner filed his second motion for
post-conviction relief in the trial court, alleging denial of
due process regarding non-disclosure of a plea agreement
relative to a witness and denial of effective assistance of
trial and appellate counsel. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at 3).
The trial court denied the post-conviction relief on April
28, 1992, via judgment. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at 4). The
Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal denied
Petitioner's writ of review. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at
November 28, 1995, the Louisiana Fourth Circuit ruled,
granting Petitioner's writ in part and denying in part.
(See Rec. Doc. 6 at 4). The Fourth Circuit stated:
The relator claims that he was denied a fair trial when the
prosecutor failed to correct misstatements by Curtis Bichman.
Upon review we find no error in the trial court's ruling.
The trial court's findings as to relator's claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel are hereby vacated. The
trial court is hereby ordered to hold an evidentiary hearing
on these claims within sixty (60) days of this order and to
furnish this Court with proof of compliance.
State v. Rankin, No. 95-K-2305 (La.App. 4 Cir. Nov.
trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing on December 20,
1995. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at 4). On January 4, 1996,
the trial court denied Petitioner's claim. (See
Rec. Doc. 6 at 4). Petitioner sought relief from the
Louisiana Fourth Circuit, which vacated the trial court's
judgment, ordered that counsel be appointed to represent
Petitioner, and further ordered another evidentiary hearing.
State v. Rankin, No. 97-K-0105 (La.App. 4 Cir. March
evidentiary hearing was held on May 22, 1997, and the trial
court denied Petitioner's claims after the hearing.
(See Rec. Doc. 6 at 5). Petitioner filed for
supervisory writs in the Louisiana Fourth Circuit on November
20, 1997, alleging denial of a fair and impartial evidentiary
hearing and ineffective assistance of counsel. (See
Rec. Doc. 6 at 5). On December 23, 1997, the Louisiana Fourth
Circuit denied relief. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at 5). On
December 6, 1999, Petitioner filed for supervisory and/or
remedial writs in the Louisiana Supreme Court under No.
1999-KH-3394. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at 5). The writs were
denied on June 2, 2000. (See Rec. Doc. 6 at 5).
November 6, 2000, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus. (Rec. Doc. 1). On February 5, 2001, the
Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation
recommending that the petition be denied with prejudice as
untimely. (Rec. Doc. 6). This Court adopted the Report and
Recommendation and dismissed Petitioner's petition with
prejudice on March 6, 2001. (Rec. Doc. 7). That same day,
this Court issued judgment in favor of Respondent. (Rec. Doc.
8). In 2010, Petitioner filed a second petition for writ of
habeas corpus that was determined to be second or successive
and was transferred to the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit
denied Rankin authorization to proceed in 2011. Order,
Rankin v. State of La., CV No. 10-067 (E.D. La.
March 10, 2011); In re Rankin, 11-30240 (5th Cir.
April 28, 2011). In 2014, Petitioner filed a third petition
for writ of habeas corpus, presenting claims of prosecutorial
misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. Petition,
Rankin v. Goodwin, CV No. 14-1618 (E.D. La. July 11,
2014). Petitioner's third petition was deemed second or
successive and transferred to the Fifth Circuit, which denied
authorization to proceed in ...