Reynolds v. LeBlanc et al
ORDER & REASONS denying with Prejudice 28 Motion to Alter Judgment. To the extent that Reynolds seeks to collaterally attack his future resentencing, this is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Sarah S. Vance on 1/6/2017. (mmm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
SECTION “R” (5)
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Ronald Reynolds’ motion 1 to alter or amend the
Court’s September 12, 2016 judgment 2 pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e). For the following reasons, Reynolds’ motion is denied.
Reynolds is a state prisoner incarcerated in the Louisiana State
Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.
On April 20, 1993, Reynolds was
convicted by a jury of second-degree murder for a crime he committed when
he was seventeen (17) years old. 3 Reynolds was sentenced to mandatory life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole. 4 After the Supreme Court
decided in Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), that mandatory life
R. Doc. 28.
R. Doc. 27.
R. Doc. 18 at 1.
without parole for juvenile offenders was unconstitutional, Reynolds filed a
petition for habeas corpus.5 Once the Supreme Court held in Montgomery
v. Louisiana, 136 S. Ct. 718 (2016), that Miller was retroactive, Magistrate
Judge North recommended that Reynolds’ habeas petition be granted.6 The
Court adopted Magistrate Judge North’s recommendation as its opinion and
granted Reynolds’ petition. 7
The Court also ordered that Reynolds be
resentenced in conformity with Miller within one-hundred twenty (120) days
of the Court’s judgment. 8
Nine days later, on September 23, 2016, Reynolds filed this motion
seeking to alter and amend the Court’s judgment. 9
Though Reynolds captions his motion as a motion to alter and amend
the Court’s judgment under Rule 59(e), his motion is essentially an objection
to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation which this Court adopted
as its opinion.10
Reynolds argues that the Magistrate’s Report and
R. Doc. 4.
R. Doc. 18.
R. Doc. 26.
R. Doc. 28
Id. at 4.
Recommendation is “a manifest error of law” because it did not respond to
Reynolds’ arguments that allowing the State of Louisiana to potentially
resentence Reynolds to a sentence that was not available at the time of his
crime would violate the Due Process Clause and the Ex Post Facto Clause. 11
The Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation is clear that
failure to object to the Report and Recommendation within fourteen (14)
days will bar that party, except on grounds of plain error, from attacking on
appeal the unobjected-to findings of fact or conclusions of law. 12 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1); Douglass v. United Services Auto. Ass'n, 79 F.3d 1415, 1430 (5th
Cir. 1996) (en banc).13 Reynolds did not file any objection to the Magistrate
Judge’s Report and Recommendation, so any objection to the report is
waived unless Reynolds can establish that the Magistrate committed plain
Reynolds’ motion fails to establish that the Magistrate Judge
committed plain error, or any error for that matter. Reynolds’ argument is
that the new sentence he may receive from the State of Louisiana would
possibly be unconstitutional. Therefore, Reynolds argues the Magistrate
Id. at 6, 9-10.
R. Doc. 18 at 13.
Douglass referenced the previously applicable ten-day period for
the filing of objections. Effective December 1, 209, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) was
amended to extend that period to fourteen days.
(and this Court) committed plain error by not determining the
constitutionality of a sentence that had not yet been imposed. But this
cannot be plain error because it is no error at all. In fact, it would be
erroneous for the Magistrate to opine on the constitutionality of any
potential sentence not yet imposed because the issue would not be ripe for
adjudication. See Texas v. United States, 523 U.S. 296, 300 (1998) (“A claim
is not ripe for adjudication if it rests upon contingent future events that may
not occur as anticipated.”) (internal quotation omitted); United States v.
Magana, 837 F.3d 457, 458-59 (5th Cir. 2016) (finding defendant’s challenge
to portion of sentence not ripe for review because challenged portion was
contingent on future events). Because Reynolds did not timely file an
objection to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation and because
Reynolds has failed to establish that the Report and Recommendation was
plainly erroneous, Reynolds has waived his objection and the objection must
be dismissed with prejudice.
Further, to the extent that Reynolds’ motion should be considered as a
collateral attack on his new state sentence, this would clearly be not ripe. The
record does not indicate that Reynolds has been resentenced, and any
challenge Reynolds has to that sentence can be adequately addressed after
the sentence is imposed through the proper channels. Because the Court
does not have jurisdiction to consider challenges that are not ripe for review,
see, e.g., Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136 (1967), any argument
that Reynolds’ future resentencing is unconstitutional must be denied for
lack of jurisdiction. See Magana, 837 F.3d at 460.
For the foregoing reasons, Reynolds’ Rule 59(e) motion is DENIED
WITH PREJUDICE. To the extent that Reynolds seeks to collaterally attack
his future resentencing, this is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this _____ day of January, 2017.
SARAH S. VANCE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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