United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood, Senior U.S. District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Roger Dean
Hall's motion to amend, alter, or vacate the final
judgment [DE 16] and order [DE 15] entered in this
case on September 5, 2019. [DE 19]. Additionally, the Court
will address Hall's motion to for leave to supplement his
objection to the Magistrate Judge's report and
recommendation in this case. For the reasons set forth below,
the Court will grant both of Hall's motions.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
an inmate at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in
West Liberty, Kentucky. [DE 1]. Hall filed a petition for
writ of habeas corpus on July 14, 2017 pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. [DE 1]. He alleged that his state-imposed
sentence violated new Kentucky case law and provisions of the
United States Constitution. On August 20, 2019, United States
Magistrate Judge Candace J. Smith filed a report and
recommendation in the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b). [DE 20]. The report proposed that Hall's petition
be dismissed for failure to meet the applicable statutes of
limitations and found that, regardless of any time bar,
Hall's claims also failed on the merits. [Id.].
days later, on September 5, 2019, this Court entered an order
and judgment adopting Magistrate Judge Smith's report.
[DE 16]. The memorandum opinion and order stated that the
report was ripe for a ruling because Hall failed to file an
objection. [DE 15 at 1]. On that same day, the Clerk entered
Hall's objection to Magistrate Judge Smith's report,
which was postmarked on September 3, 2019. [DE 17]. On
September 9, 2019 (filed September 17, 2019), Hall's
motion for leave to submit additional facts and authorities
in support of his objection was postmarked. [DE 18].
September 18, 2019, the Court received from Hall a
“motion for the court to correct a fundamentally
incorrect order.” [DE 19]. Hall argued that he did
timely file an objection on September 3, 2019, which was
entered by the Clerk on September 5, 2019. [Id. at
1-2]. He attached the “Legal Mail Log Record, ”
which shows that he submitted the document into that system
on August 30, 2019. [DE 19-1 at 4-5]. Additionally, Hall
points out that the Court's order refers to him in one
instance as “Combs” instead of Hall.
[Id. at 2].
filed a notice of appeal on September 18, 2019. [DE 20]. On
September 19, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for
the Sixth Circuit entered a notice that the case would be
held in abeyance until this Court ruled on the pending
motions in the case. [DE 22]. On October 9, 2019, Hall filed
a motion for leave to proceed on appeal in forma
pauperis. [DE 24].
Motion to alter, amend, or vacate the order and
primary complaint is the Court's finding that he did not
file a timely objection to the report and recommendation.
Regrettably, the Court relied on the date the objection was
filed with the Clerk's office and failed to consider the
prisoner mailbox rule and its implications on Hall's
prisoner mailbox rule is a judicially created doctrine
requiring federal courts to use as the filing date the day
the document is handed to prison officials for transmittal to
the Clerk. Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 270
(1988). Additionally, the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases
in the United States District Courts § 3(d) states:
“A paper filed by an inmate confined in an institution
is timely if deposited in the institution's internal
mailing system on or before the last day for filing.”
If the institution where the prisoner resides has a system
designed for legal mail, the inmate must use that system to
receive the benefit of the prisoner mailbox rule. Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases § 3(d). Local Rule 72.2
states that objections to non-dispositive rulings of a
magistrate judge must be filed within fourteen days of
service of the order.
it is unclear when Hall received the report and
recommendation, if he was served on August 20,  his objection was
still timely. He submitted the objection to the prison's
legal-mail system on August 30, 2019, well within the
fourteen-day deadline. [DE 19-1 at 4]. The objection was
postmarked on September 3, 2019, still within the fourteen
days. Considering the prison mailbox rule and the local rules
of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Hall did timely file his
objection to Magistrate Judge Smith's report and
motion to alter or amend a judgment under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(e) should be granted only where
“there is a clear error of law, newly discovered
evidence, an intervening change in controlling law, or to
prevent manifest injustice.” GenCorp, Inc. v. Am.
Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir.
1999) (internal citations omitted). Here, the Court admits
clear error of law by failing to apply the prisoner mailbox
rule. Thus, the order and judgment must be vacated.
Motion for ...