Vaughn v. Dormire
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that movants motion to reopen his previous habeas petition [Doc. # 41 ] is denied. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that movants motion for judicial notice of adjudicative facts [Doc. # 40 ] is denied. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 4/2/14. (KJS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
DARREN K. VAUGHN,
Case No. 4:09-CV-1985 (CEJ)
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motions of Darren K. Vaughn to reopen
his habeas corpus action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6) and for “judicial notice of
adjudicative facts.” Respondent has not filed responses in opposition, and the time
allotted to do so has expired.
Movant, 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. Movant 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.
Missouri Court of Appeals dismissed movant’s appeal based on the Missouri “escape
rule,” which is “a judicially-created doctrine that operates to deny the right of appeal
to a defendant who escapes justice.” State v. Vaughn, 223 S.W.3d 189, 191 (Mo. Ct.
App. 2007). Movant’s motion for post-conviction relief was denied by the trial court
for the same reason, and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal. See Vaughn v. State,
273 S.W.3d 578 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009).
On December 2, 2009, movant filed a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, asserting four grounds for relief. The Court denied the petition on November
14, 2012, concluding that movant’s claims were procedurally defaulted. See Vaughn
v. Dormire, No. 4:09-CV-1985 (CEJ), 2012 WL 5511769, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 14,
2012). Subsequently, movant filed a motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) and a motion for a certificate of appealability, both of which were
denied. On October 9, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
denied movant’s application for a certificate of appealability and dismissed his appeal.
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2244,
imposes three requirements on a second or successive habeas petition:
First, any claim that has already been adjudicated in a previous petition
must be dismissed. § 2244(b)(1). Second, any claim that has not
already been adjudicated must be dismissed unless it relies on either a
new and retroactive rule of constitutional law or new facts showing a high
probability of actual innocence. § 2244(b)(2). Third, before the district
court may accept a successive petition for filing, the court of appeals
must determine that it presents a claim not previously raised that is
sufficient to meet § 2244(b)(2)’s new-rule or actual-innocence provisions.
Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 529-30 (2005). While Rule 60(b) allows a habeas
petitioner to seek relief from final judgment and request reopening of his case, the rule
only applies to the extent that it is consistent with the AEDPA. Id. at 529. Therefore,
if the Court determines movant’s Rule 60(b) motion to be a second or successive
habeas petition, the Court must dismiss it for failure to obtain authorization from the
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, or alternatively transfer the motion to the Eighth
Circuit. United States v. Boyd, 304 F.3d 813, 814 (8th Cir. 2002).
A Rule 60(b) motion is considered a second or successive habeas corpus petition
if it contains a “claim.” Ward v. Norris, 577 F.3d 925, 933 (8th Cir. 2009). A Rule
60(b) motion contains a claim if it “seeks to add a new ground for relief” or “attacks
the federal court’s previous resolution of a claim on the merits.” Gonzalez, 545 U.S.
at 532. “[A] motion does not attack a federal court’s determination on the merits if
it merely asserts that a previous ruling which precluded a merits determination was in
error - for example, a denial for such reasons as failure to exhaust, procedural default,
or statute-of-limitations bar.”
Ward, 577 F.3d at 933 (citations and quotations
omitted). In the instant case, movant argues that the Court should have considered
the merits of his claims, rather than finding them to be procedurally defaulted.
Accordingly, his motion does not contain a “claim,” and the Court has jurisdiction to
Movant argues that he is entitled to relief from final judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P.
60(b)(6), which provides that a court may relieve a party from a final judgment due
to “any ... reason [other than those listed in Rule 60(b)(1)-(5)] that justifies relief.”
Movant contends he is entitled to relief based on Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309
(2012) and Trevino v. Thaler, 133 S.Ct. 1911 (2013), in which the Supreme Court held
that, under certain circumstances, ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel can
be “cause” excusing procedural default. However, as this Court recently explained, the
Martinez decision does not constitute extraordinary circumstances warranting Rule
60(b) relief. See DeJournett v. Luebbers, No. 4:01-CV-1341 (CEJ), 2014 WL 81837,
at *4 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 9, 2014). More importantly, the reason for movant’s procedural
default is unrelated to post-conviction counsel’s performance.
Instead, it is the
Missouri “escape rule” that bars federal habeas review of the merits of his claims.
In conclusion, movant has not sufficiently demonstrated circumstances justifying
the reopening of his previous habeas case. Additionally, the Court finds that movant
has not made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. See 28
U.S.C. § 2253. Therefore, the Court will not issue a certificate of appealability.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that movant’s motion to reopen his previous habeas
petition [Doc. #41] is denied.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that movant’s motion for judicial notice of
adjudicative facts [Doc. #40] is denied.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 2nd day of April, 2014.
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