Love v. PA State Attorney General et al
MEMORANDUM re pltf's MOTION for Reconsideration 40 (Order to follow as separate docket entry)Signed by Honorable Sylvia H. Rambo on 5/2/17. (ma)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MARIROSA LAMAS, et al.,
Civil No. 1:13-cv-0456
Judge Sylvia H. Rambo
Before the court is Tyshaunt Love’s (“Love”) motion for reconsideration
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). (Doc. 40.) Plaintiff moves this
court to alter or amend its February 21, 2017 memorandum and order (Docs. 38 &
39) adopting the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation and dismissing
Love’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 as
untimely. For the reasons set forth below, Love’s motion will be denied.
The scope of a motion under Rule 59(e) is extremely limited. Blystone v.
Horn, 664 F.3d 397, 415 (3d Cir. 2011). A proper motion to alter or amend
judgment must rely on one of three major grounds: (1) an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence not available previously; or
(3) the need to correct a clear error of law or manifest injustice. Harrison v. Coker,
587 F. App’x 736, 740 (3d Cir. 2014). It is not a tool to relitigate and reargue
issues which have already been considered and disposed of by the court. Dodge v.
Susquehanna Univ., 796 F. Supp. 829, 830 (M.D. Pa. 1992).
As was set forth more fully in the magistrate judge’s report and
recommendation, Love is an inmate serving a 15-30 year state prison sentence that
was imposed after he was convicted by a jury of killing his girlfriend, Iris Fennel,
in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In his petition for writ of habeas corpus, Love argued
that, although his petition was unquestionably filed beyond the one-year statute of
limitations prescribed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of
1996 (“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244(d)(1)(A), the court should nevertheless find
that principles of equitable tolling apply on the grounds that new evidence shows
that he is actually innocent of Fennel’s murder. See McQuiggins v. Perkins, 133 S.
Ct. 1924, 1928 (2013) (“Actual innocence, if proved, serves as a gateway through
which a petitioner may pass whether the impediment is a procedural bar, or . . .
expiration of the statute of limitations.”) After reviewing the parties’ submissions
in the case, the court concluded that that Love failed to put forth a tenable actualinnocence claim, and that his petition was therefore barred by the one-year statute
of limitations. In his motion for reconsideration, Love simply repeats arguments
raised in both his petition for habeas corpus and his objections to the report and
recommendation, namely, that new evidence tending to show his actual innocence
subjects his claims to equitable tolling. See Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298 (1995).
In his report and recommendation, the magistrate judge provided a
thorough recitation of the law following Schlup, which the court reiterated in its
memorandum adopting the magistrate judge’s recommendation. In this regard, the
court repeatedly emphasized that the petitioner must support his claim of actual
innocence with new reliable evidence that was not presented at trial. (See Doc. 33,
pp. 12-14; Doc. 38, p. 2.) As this court stated previously, although Love claims
that there is exculpatory evidence that was not presented to the trier of fact, and
should therefore be considered newly presented evidence, this evidence was
available to Love at the time of his trial and was presented on direct appeal.
Indeed, the Superior Court explicitly addressed these issues in its disposition of
Love’s case. As such, there is no basis for this court to construe any of the
evidence Love points to as “new evidence” tending to show Love’s innocence.
Accordingly, Love has not met his burden of coming forward with new evidence to
satisfy the standards set forth in Schlup for making a gateway claim of actual
innocence, and, therefore, his claims for habeas relief are untimely and not subject
to equitable tolling.
For the reasons stated above, Love’s motion pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(e) will be denied. An appropriate order will issue.
s/Sylvia H. Rambo
SYLVIA H. RAMBO
United States District Judge
Dated: May 2, 2017
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