Richardson v. Mosley
ORDER denying 26 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Honorable Patrick Michael Duffy on 07/12/2017.(adeh, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Martin Richardson, # 40898-424,
A. Mosley, Warden,
C.A. No.: 8:17-cv-747-PMD-JDA
This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Martin Richardson’s motion to reconsider
the Court’s June 16, 2017 order denying his 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition (ECF Nos. 26 & 22). For
the following reasons, the Court denies the motion.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In this § 2241 proceeding, Richardson seeks relief from a prison sentence that a federal
court in Wisconsin imposed upon him. He contends his sentence was improper because it is
based on the sentencing court’s allegedly erroneous determination that he was a career offender
under the United States Sentencing Guidelines.
Richardson filed his pro se § 2241 petition in March 2017. In accordance with Local
Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c), the petition was referred to a magistrate judge for initial review. On
April 6, United States Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin issued a report and recommendation
(“R & R”), in which she concluded Richardson’s petition should be summarily dismissed,
without prejudice, because his claim is not cognizable under § 2241 and the “savings clause” in
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) does not allow him to bring his claim under § 2241. (ECF No. 11.)
Richardson’s original deadline to file objections to the R & R was April 23.
Richardson’s request, the Court extended the deadline to May 24. He then asked for a second
thirty-day extension. The Court granted a twenty-day extension, making the deadline June 13.
That date passed without Richardson filing any objections. Hearing nothing from Richardson,
and seeing no clear error in the R & R, the Court issued an order on June 16 adopting the R & R
and ordering that Richardson’s § 2241 petition be dismissed without prejudice. The Court issued
a judgment that same day.
Three days later, Richardson completed and filed his objections to the R & R. 1 Then, on
June 21, Richardson sent the Clerk of Court a letter stating that he had received the Court’s June
16 order and that he had believed his objections were not due until June 23. He therefore asked
that his objections be construed as a motion to alter or amend the judgment under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 59(e).
The Court will not analyze Richardson’s untimely objections as true objections to the R
& R. It has no obligation to do so. See Darby v. South Carolina, 355 F. App’x 751, 751 (4th
Cir. 2009) (per curiam). Indeed, Richardson has not asked the Court to consider them as such.
Instead, the Court will accommodate Richardson’s request to construe his untimely
objections as a Rule 59(e) motion. Reconsideration of a judgment is an extraordinary remedy
that should be used sparingly. Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat’l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th
Cir. 1998). A motion to alter or amend a judgment may be granted for only three reasons: (1) to
follow an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not previously
available; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice. Id.
Richardson asserts he filed his objections June 16. However, the certificate of service on the objections is
dated June 19, and so is the postmark on the envelope containing Richardson’s objections. In any event, filing the
objections on June 16 still would have been too late.
Richardson has not pointed to any changes in controlling law and he has not pointed to
any newly available evidence. He spends the first half of his motion arguing the merits of his
claim. Rearguing the merits is not an appropriate use of Rule 59(e), especially where the Court
disposed of the case on grounds independent of the merits. See Register v. Cameron & Barkley
Co., 481 F. Supp. 2d 479, 481 n.2 (D.S.C. 2007).
Richardson spends the second half of his motion contending that not applying the savings
clause here amounts to an unconstitutional suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. That
argument comes too late. In his § 2241 petition, Richardson argued at length why the savings
clause applied and, therefore, why he should be able to present his claim under § 2241.
However, he did not include his constitutional contention in that argument. He may not do so
now. See Register 481 F. Supp. 2d at 481 n.2 (“Rule 59(e) motions may not be used to raise
arguments which could have been raised prior to the issuance of the judgment.”). In any event,
Richardson’s argument does not reveal any clear error of law in the Court’s prior order or any
manifest injustice it has caused.
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that Richardson’s motion to
reconsider is DENIED.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
July 12, 2017
Charleston, South Carolina
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?