Walker v. State of Alabama et al (INMATE 3)
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying 27 MOTION to Reconsider the Judgment. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 6/4/2015. (wcl, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
KEVIN J. WALKER,
STATE OF ALABAMA, et al.,
CASE NO. 2:14-CV-982-WKW
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On May 7, 2015, Kevin J. Walker’s petition for writ of habeas corpus under
28 U.S.C. § 2254 was denied with prejudice, and the case was dismissed on
grounds that the petition was time-barred by the one-year statute of limitations
provided by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Before the court is Mr. Walker’s Motion to
Reconsider the Judgment (Doc. # 26) of May 7, 2015 (Doc. # 27), which is
construed as a motion to alter, amend, or vacate the judgment pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Having carefully considered the motion and the
record as a whole, the court finds that Mr. Walker’s motion is due to be denied.
Rule 59(e) authorizes the filing of a motion to alter or amend a judgment
after its entry. This rule provides no specific grounds for relief, and “[t]he decision
to alter or amend judgment is committed to the sound discretion of the district
judge.” Am. Home Assur. Co. v. Glenn Estess & Assocs., Inc., 763 F.2d 1237,
1238–39 (11th Cir. 1985). In the Eleventh Circuit, the only grounds for granting a
Rule 59 motion are newly discovered evidence, an intervening change in
controlling law, or the need to correct clear error or manifest injustice. See Arthur
v. King, 500 F.3d 1335, 1343 (11th Cir. 2007); Am. Tower, L.P. v. City of
Huntsville, Ala., No. CV–99–B–2933–NE, 2000 WL 34017802, at *25 (N.D. Ala.
Sept. 29, 2000). Rule 59 does not give dissatisfied parties the chance to “relitigate
old matters, raise argument or present evidence that could have been raised prior to
the entry of judgment.” Michael Linet, Inc. v. Vill. of Wellington, Fla., 408 F.3d
757, 763 (11th Cir. 2005). “In the interests of finality and conservation of scarce
judicial resources, reconsideration of an order is an extraordinary remedy and is
employed sparingly.” Gougler v. Sirius Prods., Inc., 370 F. Supp. 2d 1185, 1189
(S.D. Ala. 2005).
Mr. Walker avers that reconsideration of the judgment dismissing his
petition for writ of habeas corpus is warranted because he did in fact establish a
claim of actual innocence sufficient to relieve him of the federal time-bar.
Specifically, he argues that, because the state-court did not have jurisdiction to find
him guilty of the convicted offense, he has an inherently viable claim of actual
innocence. These are not new arguments; Mr. Walker has explicitly challenged the
state-court’s jurisdiction throughout this action, and the Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge (Doc. # 23) and the Order adopting the Magistrate Judge’s
Recommendation (Doc. # 25) addressed Mr. Walker’s arguments at length.
Further, Mr. Walker’s present challenge misconstrues the basis of an actual
innocence claim. A claim of actual innocence, requires a petitioner to show “that
under the probative evidence he has a colorable claim of factual innocence.”
Sawyer v. Whitley, 505 U.S. 333, 339 (1992) (quoting Kuhlmann v. Wilson, 477
U.S. 436, 454 (1986)). A claim of actual innocence is separate and apart from
challenges grounded upon legal or procedural insufficiencies. Because the present
motion is grounded entirely upon Mr. Walker’s challenge to the state-court’s
jurisdiction, his arguments regarding actual innocence remain without merit and
the federal time-bar applies to the present petition. See Bousley v. United States,
523 U.S. 614, 623 (1998) (“It is important to note in this regard that ‘actual
innocence’ means factual innocence, not mere legal insufficiency.”). In light of
Mr. Walker’s failure to identify new evidence or manifest error, Morton v. Astrue,
380 F. App’x 892, 895 (11th Cir. 2010), his motion to alter, amend, or vacate the
final judgment is due to be denied.
For the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that Petitioner Kevin J. Walker’s
Motion to Reconsider the Judgment (Doc. # 27) is DENIED.
DONE this 4th day of June, 2015.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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