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Cheeks v. Joyner

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

November 16, 2018

Derrick Lamar Cheeks, Petitioner,
Alford Joyner, Respondent.



         This is a habeas corpus action brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Pending before the Court are Petitioner's motion to alter or amend the Court's Order, ECF No. 62, adopting the Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge, ECF No. 59, and Petitioner's motions to compel, ECF Nos. 64, 65, 66. Also included in Petitioner's motion is a request for a certificate of appealability. Id. Respondent filed a response in opposition to the motions to compel. ECF No. 67. Having carefully considered the motions, the response, the record, and the applicable law, it is the judgment of the Court that Petitioner's motion and his request for a certificate of appealability are denied and the motions to compel are moot.


         United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett issued a Report recommending Respondents' amended motion for summary judgment be granted and the petition be denied. ECF No. 54. Petitioner filed objections, ECF No. 56. On August 8, 2018, this Court entered an Order overruling Petitioner's objections, adopting the Report, granting Respondent's motion for summary judgment, and denying the petition. ECF No. 59.

         Petitioner timely filed his motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) to alter or amend the Court's Order adopting the Report and his request for a certificate of appealability. ECF No. 62.


         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).


         Ground One

         In Ground One, Petitioner asserted that the trial court erred by instructing the jury that actual knowledge of the presence of crack cocaine is strong evidence of a defendant's intent to control its disposition or use. The Court found that Ground One was not cognizable on federal habeas review. ECF No. 59 at 3. In his Motion, Petitioner does not address this finding but alleges error with respect the Court's citation to another case in this district. ECF No. 62 at 2-3. The Court denies the Motion with respect to this argument.

         Grounds Two and Three

         In Grounds Two and Three, Petitioner raised issues under the Fourth Amendment. ECF No. 8-4 at 2-3 He stated that he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the premises searched and that the search warrant used was defective on its face because it failed to state with particularity the premises to be searched. The Court found that Grounds Two and Three were barred by Stone v. Powell, 528 U.S. 465 (1976). Petitioner argues that the Court erred in finding that he had a full and fair opportunity to litigate his claims in state court. ECF No. 62 at 3-7. Petitioner made essentially the same arguments in his objections to the Magistrate Judge's report. He continues to disagree with the state court's rulings, but fails to explain beyond his own conclusory allegations how the state court did not have an opportunity to fully consider his claims. Accordingly, Petitioner's Motion is denied with respect to Ground Two and Three.

         Ground ...

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