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Riley v. Taylor

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

December 30, 2013



THOMAS B. RUSSELL, Senior District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner's Motion to Reconsider this Court's Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59. (Docket No. 22.) The Respondent has submitted a response (Docket No. 24), and the time for Petitioner to reply has elapsed. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motion to Reconsider is DENIED.


On September 10, 2001, the McCracken Circuit Court convicted Petitioner Freeland Thomas Riley of possession of marijuana and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, in violation of Kentucky state law. Ky. Rev. Stat. 218A.1422(2); Ky. Rev. Stat. 218A.500(5). Originally Class A misdemeanors, each offense was enhanced to a Class D felony based on the finding that Riley possessed a firearm at the time the offenses were committed. Ky. Rev. Stat. 218A.992(1)(b). The marijuana charge was also enhanced by the finding that Riley was a persistent felony offender in the first degree. Ky. Rev. Stat. 532.080(3). He was sentenced to a total of twenty years' imprisonment.

The Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of conviction on May 22, 2003. Riley v. Commonwealth, 120 S.W.3d 622 (2003). On December 18, 2003, the Kentucky Supreme Court denied Riley's petition for rehearing.

Prior to the Kentucky Supreme Court's decision, on February 11, 2002, Riley filed his first post-conviction motion pursuant to Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure (CR) 60.02. The trial court denied this motion on February 25, 2002. Although Riley appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, he failed to respond to the Court's show cause order. Consequently, his appeal was dismissed on December 13, 2004. Riley v. Commonwealth, 2011 WL 4633817, *2 (Ky. Ct. App. 2011).

Riley later filed two additional motions for post-conviction relief, each of which was denied. The first, filed in February 2004, alleged ineffective assistance of counsel pursuant to Kentucky Rule of Criminal Procedure (RCr) 11.42. This motion was denied in the same month, and Petitioner failed to submit a timely notice of appeal. On July 27, 2007, the Kentucky Court of Appeals denied Riley's motion to file a belated appeal. Id. In 2008, Riley filed his final collateral attack pursuant to CR 60.02 and RCr 10.26. The trial court denied these motions. On October 7, 2011, the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed. Riley v. Commonwealth, 2011 WL 4633817 (Ky. Ct. App. Oct. 7, 2011).

On or about March 18, 2013, Riley filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 1.) At issue is when the clock began running for the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") one-year statute of limitations, during which Riley's habeas petition was timely.[1] This one-year statute of limitations begins to run at the "expiration of the time for seeking" direct review. Bronaugh v. Ohio, 235 F.3d 280, 283-84 (6th Cir. 2000).

A magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation ("R & R") to deny Riley's petition as time-barred by the one-year period of limitation established by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). (Docket No. 16). Riley filed objections to the R & R, claiming that his incarceration violated his constitutional rights and that he lacked access to materials to file a habeas petition. He did not, however, claim that the statute should be equitably tolled. (Docket No. 17.)

After conducting a de novo review of the Magistrate Judge's Report in light of the objections thereto and the record as a whole, the Court adopted the Magistrate Judge's Report and dismissed the petition. (Docket No. 18.) On August 8, 2013, the Court entered an Order and Judgment dismissing Riley's petition for writ of habeas corpus, denying a certificate of appealability, and dismissing the mater from the Court's active docket. (Docket Nos. 20, 21.) Riley now moves the Court to reconsider its ruling. (Docket No. 22.)


The Sixth Circuit has consistently held that a Rule 59 motion should not be used either to reargue a case on the merits or to reargue issues already presented. See Whitehead v. Bowen, 301 F.Appx. 484, 489 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998)), or otherwise to "merely restyle or rehash the initial issues, White v. Hitachi, Ltd., 2008 WL 782565, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. Mar. 20, 2008) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "It is not the function of a motion to reconsider arguments already considered and rejected by the court." Id. (citation omitted). As another district Court in this Circuit articulated, "Where a party views the law in a light contrary to that of this Court, its proper recourse is not by way of a motion for reconsideration but appeal to the Sixth Circuit." Hitachi Med. Sys. Am., Inc. v. Branch, 2010 WL 2836788, at *1 (N.D. Ohio July 20, 2010) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

Accordingly, the Sixth Circuit instructs that a motion for reconsideration should only be granted on four grounds: "Under Rule 59, a court may alter or amend a judgment based on: (1) a clear error of law; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) an intervening change in controlling law; or (4) a need to prevent manifest injustice.'" Leisure Caviar, LLC v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 616 F.3d 612, 615 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 620) (6th Cir. 2005)). Furthermore, because there is an interest in the finality of a decision, this Court and other district courts have held that "[s]uch motions are extraordinary and sparingly granted." Marshall v. Johnson, 2007 WL 1175046, at*2 (W.D. Ky. Apr. 19, 2007) ...

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