Udoh v. Dooley
ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 1. The Motion for Extension of Time to File Notice of Appeal 21 is DENIED as moot; 2. The Rule 59 Motion to Reconsider 26 is DENIED; and 3. Udoh may file a Notice of Appeal no later than SIXTY DAYS after the entry of this Order. (Written Opinion) Signed by The Hon. Paul A. Magnuson on 07/17/2017. (LLM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Emem Ufot Udoh,
Case No. 16cv4174 (PAM/HB)
Becky Dooley, Warden,
This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Emem Ufot Udoh’s Motion for
Extension of Time to file Notice of Appeal, and a “Rule 59 Motion to Reconsider.”
Because Udoh filed a motion under Rule 59, the time for him to file an appeal
does not begin to run until the Court rules on that motion. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(4)(A)(iv).
Thus, Udoh’s Motion for Extension of Time to file Notice of Appeal is moot. However,
the Court will deny the Rule 59 Motion and it is likely that Udoh will once again request
an extension of time to file an appeal from that denial. The Court is sympathetic to the
difficulties incarcerated persons face when filing pro se appeals. Thus, the Court will
allow Udoh an additional 30 days, for a total of 60 days, to file a notice of appeal should
he wish to do so. Id. R. 4(a)(5)(C).
Although Udoh captions his Rule 59 Motion as one to reconsider, the Rule he
invokes does not provide a basis for reconsideration of a previous order. Rather, Rule
59(e) allows a party to move to alter or amend the judgment. And it appears that this is
the relief Udoh seeks, as he requests that the Court to amend its Order (Docket No. 19)
and grant him a certificate of appealability on a claim he raised for the first time in his
reply memorandum. This new claim alleges that the prosecutor’s use of videos of the
victims’ interviews at CornerHouse, and those interviews themselves, as well as physical
examinations of the victims, constituted unreasonable seizures under the Fourth
Amendment and somehow violated Udoh’s due-process rights. (Pet’r’s Reply Mem.
(Docket No. 18) at 23-25.)
“Rule 59(e) motions serve the limited function of correcting manifest errors of law
or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.” United States v. Metro. St. Louis
Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006). A motion under Rule 59(e) “cannot be
used to introduce new evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments which
could have been offered or raised prior to entry of judgment.” Innovative Home Health
Care, Inc. v. P.T.-O.T. Assoc. of the Black Hills, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286 (8th Cir. 1998).
Udoh has no newly discovered evidence, instead presenting the Court with additional and
lengthy argument regarding the propriety of the trial court’s admission of the
CornerHouse videos. But as this Court previously found, Udoh did not present this claim
to the state courts. (Docket No. 19 at 2 n.1.) He is therefore procedurally barred from
raising the claim here, whether in his Petition itself or in a Rule 59 Motion. Duncan v.
Henry, 513 U.S. 364 (1995). The only exception to this procedural bar is if Udoh
demonstrates cause for the default and actual prejudice, or that “a failure to consider the
claim will result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice.” Coleman v. Thompson, 501
U.S. 722, 750 (1991). He does not attempt to demonstrate any cause for his failure to
raise this issue previously. And he has not established a fundamental miscarriage of
justice, as his claim regarding the victims’ interviews and physical examinations is
legally meritless in any event.
This procedural bar is especially applicable here, because this claim is
unexhausted. Udoh did not raise it in his direct appeal, and did not bring any motion for
postconviction relief under Minnesota law.
Minnesota has a two-year statute of
limitations for bringing postconviction motions. Minn. Stat. § 590.01, subd. 4. Udoh’s
conviction became final in October 2016, when the United States Supreme Court
declined to grant Udoh certiorari. He is still within Minnesota’s two-year limitations
period, and thus he can present this claim to the state courts. He must do so before
attempting to secure federal habeas relief on that claim, or the claim is unexhausted as
well as procedurally barred. See O’Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838 (1999) (noting
that the exhaustion requirement gives state courts “a full and fair opportunity to resolve
federal constitutional claims before those claims are presented to the federal courts”).
Udoh has not established that relief is appropriate under Rule 59. Accordingly, IT
IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
The Motion for Extension of Time to File Notice of Appeal (Docket No.
21) is DENIED as moot;
The Rule 59 Motion to Reconsider (Docket No. 26) is DENIED; and
Udoh may file a Notice of Appeal no later than SIXTY DAYS after the
entry of this Order.
Dated: July 17, 2017
s/ Paul A. Magnuson
Paul A. Magnuson
United States District Court Judge
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