Steed v. Mayes
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: Petitioner's Motion and IFP application (Doc. Nos. 23 and 24 ) are DENIED. As reasonable jurists would not debate the Court's ruling on Petitioner's Rule 60 Motion, the Court DENIES a certificate of ap pealability. Petitioner may, however, seek a certificate of appealability directly from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Fed. R. App. P. 22(b)(1). The Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3). IT IS SO ORDERED. Signed by Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr on 11/14/2023. (xc:Pro se party by regular mail. ) (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(af)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
REGINOLD CAVOY STEED, #472318,
TONY MAYES, Warden,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This pro se habeas corpus case has been closed for more than three years. On November 3,
2023, Petitioner Reginold Steed filed a “Motion for Relief from Judgment Pursuant to F.R.C.P.
Rule 60(b)(3) (d)(3)” (Doc. No. 23) and an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(IFP). (Doc. No. 24). As explained below, the Motion and IFP application will be denied.
I. Procedural History
On July 5, 2020, the Court denied Petitioner’s pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and dismissed this case. (Doc. Nos. 13–15). Petitioner did not appeal.
On May 4, 2023, Petitioner sought permission from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit to file a second or successive habeas petition in this Court. 1 On October 6, 2023, the Sixth
Circuit denied Petitioner’s motion and entered judgment against him. (Doc. Nos. 18–19). In so
ruling, the Sixth Circuit: (1) noted that this Court, in dismissing the case in 2020, had denied
Petitioner’s claim that “his attorney was ineffective at sentencing for failing to address the victim’s
post-trial recantation of his identification of Steed in a victim impact statement included in the
See In re Steed, No. 23-5408, Doc. No. 1 (6th Cir. May 4, 2023).
presentence report”; (2) found that Petitioner now proposed to raise a new “claim concerning the
victim’s alleged recantation in the presentence report,” this time asserting a due process violation
based on the fact that the trial court’s electronic docket report does not reflect the filing of the
presentence report “because it included this exculpatory statement”; and (3) found that the
proposed due process claim did not rely on a new rule of constitutional law or any new facts, but
on (a) an electronic docket report that could have been discovered before Petitioner filed his § 2254
petition, and (b) speculative allegations of a recantation without proof that the recanting statement
actually existed. (Doc. No. 18 at 1–3). The Sixth Circuit found that, not only was the electronic
docket report offered by Petitioner not “new,” it did not, by its failure to refer to the presentence
report’s filing, establish that the presentence report must have contained a recanting statement. (Id.
After receiving the Sixth Circuit’s order and judgment, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal
from this Court’s July 2020 dismissal order on October 23, 2023. (Doc. No. 20). Ten days later,
on November 3, he filed the instant Motion and IFP application in this Court as well as a motion
for voluntary dismissal of his appeal in the Sixth Circuit; he asked the Sixth Circuit to “please
terminate that appeal so the Rule 60(b) proceeding can commence in the U.S. District Court.”
Steed v. Fitz, No. 23-5941, Doc. No. 3 (6th Cir. Nov. 3, 2023). The Sixth Circuit dismissed the
appeal on November 8, 2023. Id., Doc. No. 5.
Although the Motion before the Court is styled a motion under “Rule 60(b)(3) (d)(3)”
(Doc. No. 23 at 1), Petitioner primarily argues for relief under Rule 60(b)(3). He asserts fraud by
the State, contending that the trial court’s electronic docket report showing “there was no
presentence report filed with the trial court in January 2016” amounts to evidence that “the State
elected to tender forged documents” when it produced records showing that the presentence report
had been filed on January 4 and supplemented on January 14, 2016. (Doc. No. 23 at 1–2, 7; see
Doc. No. 8-12, Exhibits from Sentencing Hearing, at 5, 18).
Rule 60(b)(3) allows for relief from judgment based on “fraud (whether previously called
intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
60(b)(3). But a Rule 60(b)(3) motion “must be made . . . no more than a year after the entry of the
judgment or order or the date of the proceeding.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(c)(1); see Blunt v. Campbell,
No. 19-1470, 2019 WL 11753818, at *2 (6th Cir. Aug. 8, 2019). Because judgment entered against
Petitioner more than three years ago, his Motion under Rule 60(b)(3) is clearly untimely and
subject to denial on that basis.
Petitioner also briefly argues for relief under Rule 60(d)(3), which allows an independent
action in equity for fraud on the court “to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice, which in the
habeas context requires a strong showing of actual innocence.” Blunt, 2019 WL 11753818, at *2–
3 (quoting Mitchell v. Rees, 651 F.3d 593, 596, 596 (6th Cir. 2011)) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Assuming that the Motion could be construed as an effective vehicle for instituting such
an independent action, it would not be untimely, as such actions “are not time-limited.” Mitchell,
651 F.3d at 597 (quoting Buell v. Anderson, 48 F. App’x 491, 498 (6th Cir. 2002)). However, the
Sixth Circuit has already rejected Petitioner’s assertion of a claim arising from what the record in
this case says about the presentence report’s filing in state court, versus what the electronic docket
report fails to say, and found that such discrepancy did not suffice to show “that no reasonable
factfinder would have found him guilty of the underlying offense.” (Doc. No. 18 at 2–3); cf. Blunt,
2019 WL 11753818, at *2–3 (approving district court’s decision denying Rule 60 motion in habeas
case on ground that Sixth Circuit “had decisively rejected this exact claim” earlier in the litigation).
Petitioner offers no new grounds to show that a different outcome is warranted as a matter of equity
under Rule 60(d)(3). Accordingly, his Motion for such relief is without merit.
For the above reasons, Petitioner’s Motion and IFP application (Doc. Nos. 23 and 24) are
Because this constitutes a “final order adverse to” Petitioner, the Court must “issue or deny
a certificate of appealability.” Habeas Rule 11(a). A certificate of appealability may issue only if
Petitioner “has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c)(2). Furthermore, where a habeas petition is dismissed on procedural grounds, a
certificate of appealability will not issue unless “jurists of reason would find it debatable whether
the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Dufresne v. Palmer, 876 F.3d 248, 253 (6th
Cir. 2017) (quoting Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000)).
As reasonable jurists would not debate the Court’s ruling on Petitioner’s Rule 60 Motion,
the Court DENIES a certificate of appealability. Petitioner may, however, seek a certificate of
appealability directly from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Fed. R. App. P. 22(b)(1).
The Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in good
faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR.
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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