Watkins v. Stoddard
OPINION AND ORDER reopening the case to the Court's active docket and transferring 24 Letter to USCA for the Sixth Circuit. Signed by District Judge Sean F. Cox. (DPer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
NAPOLEAN DERRON WATKINS,
HONORABLE SEAN F. COX
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
OPINION AND ORDER (1) REOPENING THE CASE TO THE COURT’S ACTIVE
DOCKET, AND (2) TRANSFERRING PETITIONER’S LETTER [DKT. # 24] TO THE
COURT OF APPEALS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A)
Napolean Derron Watkins, (“petitioner”), filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction for assault with intent to murder, carrying a
concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a firearm during the
commission of a felony.
The petition was denied with prejudice. Watkins v. Nepel, No.
2:14-CV-13200, 2017 WL 2117896 (E.D. Mich. May 16, 2017); app. dism. No. 17-1702 (6th Cir.
Oct. 26, 2017).
Petitioner sent a letter to this Court, in which he again challenges the constitutionality of his
conviction and seeks help from this Court. This Court construes this letter as a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.2
Petitioner has been moved and is now housed at the Marquette Branch Prison, where his warden is Erica
Huss. The caption is amended to reflect the change.
Petitioner appears to seek relief from his conviction; this Court should construe his letter as a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See e.g. Simpson v. Caruso, 355 F.App’x 927, 930 (6th
For the following reasons, the Court orders the Clerk of the Court to reopen the case to the
Court’s active docket. The Court further orders that petitioner’s letter [Dkt. # 24] be transferred to
the Court of Appeals pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A).
The Court directs the Clerk of the Court to reopen the case to the Court’s active docket in
order to facilitate the adjudication of petitioner’s letter. See Heximer v. Woods, No. 2:08-CV-14170,
2016 WL 183629, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 15, 2016).
An individual seeking to file a second or successive habeas petition must first ask the
appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the petition. See
28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A); Stewart v. Martinez-Villareal, 523 U.S. 637, 641 (1998). Congress has
vested in the court of appeals a screening function that the district court would have performed
otherwise. Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, 664 (1996). Under the provisions of the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), a federal district court does not have jurisdiction to
entertain a successive post-conviction motion or petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the absence
of an order from the court of appeals authorizing the filing of such a successive motion or petition.
See Ferrazza v. Tessmer, 36 F. Supp. 2d 965, 971 (E.D. Mich. 1999)). When a habeas petitioner
files a second or successive petition for habeas corpus relief in the district court without
preauthorization from the court of appeals, the district court must transfer the document to the court
of appeals. See In re Sims, 111 F.3d 45, 47 (6th Cir.1997).
Petitioner’s letter is an attempt to file second or successive habeas petition because petitioner
may be seeking to re-litigate the claims that he previously raised in his prior habeas petition. See In
re Bowling, 422 F.3d 434, 440 (6th Cir. 2005). To the extent that petitioner seeks to raise new
claims in his letter, this would also amount to a second or successive habeas petition. See Brooks
v. Bobby, 660 F.3d 959, 962 (6th Cir. 2011).
Accordingly, the Clerk of Court is ordered to transfer petitioner’s request for relief to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit pursuant to Sims and 28 U.S.C. § 1631. See
Galka v. Caruso, 599 F. Supp. 2d 854, 857 (E.D. Mich. 2009).
The Court ORDERS that:
(1) The Clerk of the Court reopen the case to the Court’s Active Docket.
(2) The Clerk of the Court is ORDERED to transfer petitioner’s letter filed October
11, 2017 [Dkt. # 24] to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for
authorization to file a subsequent petition as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A)
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631.
Dated: January 12, 2018
s/Sean F. Cox
Sean F. Cox
U. S. District Judge
I hereby certify that on January 12, 2018, the foregoing document was served on counsel of record
via electronic means and upon Napolean Watkins via First Class mail at the address below:
Napolean Watkins 704896
MARQUETTE BRANCH PRISON
1960 U.S. HWY 41 SOUTH
MARQUETTE, MI 49855
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