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Moore v. Stirling

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

May 10, 2018

RICHARD BERNARD MOORE, Petitioner,
v.
BRYAN P. STIRLING, Commissioner, South Carolina Department of Corrections, and WILLIE D. DAVIS, Warden of Kirkland Reception and Evaluation Center, Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S RULE 59(E) MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND AND DENYING PETITIONER'S REQUEST FOR A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          MARY GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This is a capital habeas corpus action brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (section 2254). Pending before the Court is Petitioner Richard Bernard Moore's (Petitioner) motion to alter or amend the Court's Order, ECF No. 149, adopting the Report and Recommendation (Report) of the United States Magistrate Judge. ECF No. 152. Also included in Petitioner's motion is a request for a certificate of appealability as to Grounds One, Three, Four, Five, and Eight of his petition under section 2254 for writ of habeas corpus (petition). Id. Grounds Two, Six, and Seven of the petition were not at issue in the Court's Order adopting the Report. ECF No. 149 at 14. Having carefully considered the motion, the request, the response, the record, and the applicable law, it is the judgment of the Court both Petitioner's motion and his request for a certificate of appealability will be denied.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         United States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III, issued a Report suggesting Respondents' motion to strike be granted in part and denied in part, Respondents' motion for summary judgment be granted, and Petitioner's motion for hearing and motion to stay be denied. ECF No. 136. Petitioner timely filed objections, ECF No. 140, and Respondents replied, ECF No. 143. Respondents filed additional briefing regarding Ground Four of Petitioner's petition. ECF No. 146. Petitioner declined to file an additional reply. On March 21, 2018, this Court entered an Order overruling Petitioner's objections, adopting the Report, granting in part and denying in part Respondents' motion to strike, granting Respondents' motion for summary judgment, denying Petitioner's petition, and denying Petitioner's motion for a hearing and motion to stay. ECF No. 149.

         Petitioner timely filed his motion under Rule 59(e) to alter or amend the Court's Order adopting the Report and his request for a certificate of appealability, ECF No. 152, and Respondents filed a response, ECF No. 153. The Court is now prepared to discuss the merits of the motion and the request.

         III. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         There are only three limited bases for a district court to grant a Rule 59(e) motion: “(1) to accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice.” Hutchinson v. Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th Cir.1993). A Rule 59(e) motion “may not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.” Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 485 n.5 (2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). Further, “mere disagreement [with a district court's ruling] does not support a Rule 59(e) motion.” Hutchinson, 994 F.2d at 1082 (citing Atkins v. Marathon LeTourneau Co., 130 F.R.D. 625, 626 (S.D.Miss. 1990)). “In general[, ] reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly.:” Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir.1998) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Under Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 and 2255 Cases, “[t]he district court must issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order adverse to the applicant.” For a court to issue a certificate of appealability, “the applicant [must] ma[ke] a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). When a district court has decided the constitutional claims on the merits, a certificate of appealability should issue where “petitioner [] demonstrate[s] that reasonable jurists would find the district court's assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000).

         V. CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES

         In Petitioner's motion, he asks the Court to reconsider its Order adopting the Report. Specifically, Petitioner advances the Court erred in applying the law regarding when a federal habeas claim is fundamentally altered by new evidence from the claim that was before the state court such that the new evidence should be allowed in support of the federal habeas claim. On that basis, Petitioner avers the Court should amend its Order, find Grounds One and Five of his petition were fundamentally altered by new evidence presented to this Court, and grant his petition on Grounds One and Five. In the alternative, Petitioner argues the Court should grant him a certificate of appealability on Grounds One, Three, Four, Five, and Eight of his petition.

         Respondents argue the Court correctly applied the standard regarding whether a claim has been fundamentally altered by new evidence. Accordingly, Respondents aver the Court should deny Petitioner's motion to alter or amend. Respondents fail to address Petitioner's request for a certificate of appealability.

         V. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

         A) Motion to ...


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