Vaughn v. Dormire
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 23 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) [Doc. # 23] is denied.. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 3/22/13. (KKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Case No. 4:09-CV-1985 (CEJ)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on petitioner’s motion to alter or amend
judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). Respondent has not filed a response to the
motion, and the time allowed for doing so has expired.
Petitioner, Darren Vaughn, was convicted of two counts of first-degree robbery
and two counts of armed criminal action on March 22, 2006. He failed to appear
during his trial, and was apprehended four months later. Petitioner was sentenced on
August 11, 2006 to concurrent terms of nine years of imprisonment on each count of
armed criminal action, and fifteen years and twenty years on the robbery counts. The
Missouri Court of Appeals dismissed petitioner’s appeal based on the Missouri “escape
rule.” Petitioner’s motion for post-conviction relief was denied by the trial court for the
same reason, and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal.
On December 2, 2009, petitioner filed a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, asserting four grounds for relief. The Court denied the petition on November
Subsequently, petitioner filed the instant motion to alter or amend judgment.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) was adopted to clarify a district court’s
power to correct its own mistakes in the time period immediately following entry of
judgment. Norman v. Arkansas Dep’t of Educ., 79 F.3d 748, 750 (8th Cir. 1996)
(citing White v. New Hampshire Dep’t of Empl. Sec., 455 U.S. 445 (1982)).
59(e) motions serve a limited function of correcting “manifest errors of law or fact or
to present newly discovered evidence.” Innovative Home Health Care, Inc. v. P.T.-O.T.
Assocs. of the Black Hills, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286 (8th Cir. 1998) (internal quotation and
citations omitted). Such motions 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. Id.
Petitioner argues that the Court erred in refusing to review his claims on the
merits. He contends that the Missouri Court of Appeals reached the merits of his
claims, lifting any existing procedural bar. Petitioner relies on that court’s statement
that, “[w]e have reviewed the briefs of the parties, the legal file, and the record on
appeal, and find the claims of error to be without merit.” Resp. Ex. J. However, it is
evident from the Missouri Court of Appeals’ supplemental memorandum that
petitioner’s claims were not evaluated on the merits, but were denied as defaulted due
to the application of the Missouri escape rule and petitioner’s failure to raise certain
claims on direct appeal. Therefore, petitioner is not entitled to relief.
Petitioner has not shown any manifest errors in the Court’s previous denial of
the petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Because petitioner has not made a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional right, the Court again declines to issue a
certificate of appealability.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner’s motion to alter or amend judgment
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) [Doc. # 23] is denied.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 22nd day of March, 2013.
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