United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Reeves, United States District Judge
James Shelton previously filed a motion to vacate his
sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [Record No. 71]
and a motion for leave to conduct discovery [Record No. 89].
The Court denied these motions on December 10, 2018. [Record
Nos. 90, 91] Shelton has now filed a motion to reconsider
under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
[Record No. 94].
a final judgment has been entered in the case, Shelton's
motion will be construed as a motion to alter or amend a
judgment under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The purpose of Rule 59(e) is to allow the district
court to make its own corrections, thus sparing the parties
and appellate court the burden of unnecessary appellate
proceedings. Howard v. United States, 533 F.3d 472,
475 (6th Cir. 2008). The rule, however, does not permit a
party to re-argue a case. Id. (citing Sault Ste.
Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367,
374 (6th Cir. 1998)). Instead, a court may grant relief under
Rule 59(e) only to: (1) correct a clear error of
(2) account for newly discovered evidence; (3) accommodate an
intervening change in controlling law; or (4) prevent a
manifest injustice. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky.
v. McCreary Co., Ky., 607 F.3d 439, 450 (6th Cir. 2010);
Besser v. Sepanek, 478 Fed.Appx. 1001, 1001-02 (6th
Cir. 2012). Here, Shelton asserts that a clear error of law
occurred. [Record No. 94]
context of Rule 59€, “manifest error” has
been defined as the “wholesale disregard,
misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent
on the part of the court.” Oto v. Metro. Life Ins.
Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) (also noting that
“[a] ‘manifest error' is not demonstrated by
the disappointment of the losing party”). Similarly,
the Northern District of Texas explained that
[t]here is no precise definition in the law for what
constitutes clear error, though it's clear that any
analysis of clear error should conform to a very exacting
standard. District courts should have a clear conviction of
error before finding that a… judgment was predicated
on clear error. In essence, a judgment must be dead wrong to
qualify as being clearly erroneous.
H & A Land Corp. v. City of Kennedale, No.
04:02-458, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25797, *5 (N.D. Tex. Oct.
24, 2005) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
“Based on these definitions, to prevail on a Rule 59(e)
motion based on [clear error of law, ] the moving party must
not only demonstrate that errors were made, but that these
errors were so egregious that an appellate court could not
affirm the district court's judgment.” United
States v. Collier, No. 06:05-58, 2011 WL 2470115 at * 1
(E.D. Ky. June 20, 2011).
has not demonstrated any error of law, let alone a clear
error of law. Likewise, he has not indicated there is any
newly discovered evidence, an intervening change in the
controlling law or manifest injustice which would cause the
Court to reconsider its prior decision. [See Record
regard to Shelton's motion for discovery, Shelton has not
established that the Court's prior opinion was based on a
manifest error of law. Instead, he reiterates his specific
requests and the need for each document. [Record No. 94, p.
1] Because Shelton is essentially restating arguments made in
his motion for leave to conduct discovery, the Court will not
reconsider its decision. Howard, 533 F.3d at 475.
bases his motion for reconsideration regarding his §
2255 motion on the Court's failure to consider his
objections to the United States Magistrate Judge's
Recommended Disposition. He states, “[a]larmingly, the
district court beginning its review of the objections filed
disregards them - proceeding on mere assumption that he
‘makes the same arguments that the Magistrate Judge has
already considered and rejected in the Recommended
Disposition.'” [Record No. 94, p. 3-4] Generally,
the Court makes a de novo determination of the
portions of the Magistrate Judge's recommendations to
which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). But
the Court is not required to review the Magistrate
Judge's recommendations “[w]here no objections are
made, or the objections are vague or conclusory.”
United States v. Hale, No. 0:15-18, 2017 WL 6606861,
at *1 (E.D. Ky. Dec. 26, 2017). And while Shelton's
objections were difficult to follow and the objections
appeared to make the same arguments the Magistrate Judge
already considered, the Court examined the record and made a
de novo determination. [Record No. 91]
similarity of Shelton's objections and the arguments in
his § 2255 motion is exemplified by his summary of the
objections that he made. His summary makes it clear that the
objections were previously raised in his § 2255 motion
and were considered by the Magistrate Judge and the Court in
the Memorandum Opinion and Order filed on December 10, 2018.
[See Record Nos. 91, 94.] Because the Court
conducted a de novo review of the Magistrate
Judge's recommendations, regardless of the fact that the
objections were difficult to follow and reiterated arguments
previously made, Shelton has not established a clear error of
next argues that the Court should not have required him to
“show a reasonable probability that, but for
counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and
would have insisted on going to trial.” Hill v.
Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 59 (1985); see also United
States v. Wynn, 663 F.3d 847, 851 (6th Cir. 2011).
Instead, Shelton contends that the court should have required
that he “show a reasonable probability that, but for
counsel's errors, his sentence would have been
different.” Weinberger v. United States, 268
F.3d 346, 352 (6th Cir. 2001). However, Hill is a
Supreme Court case and is controlling precedent.
Additionally, Weinberger is not persuasive because
Shelton has not demonstrated the prejudice required under
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).
Shelton has not demonstrated prejudice because he has not
shown how his sentence would have been different. Therefore,
Shelton has not established a clear error of law.
Shelton contends that the Court “completely
ignores” his affidavit that creates a factual dispute
requiring an evidentiary hearing. [Record No. 94] However,
the Court need not consider Shelton's affidavit when
there was objective evidence supporting counsel's motion
for a competency hearing. See United States v.
Jackson, 179 Fed.Appx. 921, 933 (6th Cir. 2006) (a
competency evaluation is appropriate where there is
reasonable cause supporting the motion for a competency
examination). Therefore, Shelton has not established a clear
error of law with regards to his request for an evidentiary
summary, Shelton has not demonstrated any reason for the
Court reconsider its previous decision. Therefore, being
sufficiently advised, it is hereby
that Shelton's motion for reconsideration ...