United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO AMEND [Dkt.
62] AND DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO MAKE ADDITIONAL
FINDINGS [Dkt. 58]
Honorable Nancy G. Edmunds United States District Judge.
a habeas corpus case filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by a
state prisoner who was convicted in 1974 along with two other
men of two counts of first-degree murder. The three
defendants were accused of murdering two young boys after
their ransom demands were not met. The Court denied the
petition on March 30, 2016. Presently before the Court is
Petitioner's motion to make additional findings under
Rule of Civil Procedure 52(b), in which he seeks
reconsideration of the Court's decision denying him
primarily complains that Respondent failed to file the
portions of the trial record necessary for a fair review of
his claims. He argues the Court erroneously relied on a
statement of facts contained in the state trial court's
order denying his motion for relief from judgment. Petitioner
notes that the statement of facts was adopted by the trial
court from purportedly biased statement of facts appearing in
an earlier pleading filed by the prosecutor.
response to the motion, Respondent filed what appears to be a
complete copy of the record from Petitioner's 1974 jury
trial, which includes 40 transcript volumes, as well as a
response to Petitioner's claims. See Dkts. 63 and 64.
Upon review of the motion, response, and the record of the
trial court proceedings, the Court finds that it was not
misled by the trial court's statement of facts, 0and it
correctly determined that Petitioner's claims lack merit.
The motion to make additional findings will therefore be
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 52(b) provides that “[o]n a
party's motion . . . the court may amend its findings- or
make additional findings- and may amend the judgment
accordingly. The motion may accompany a motion for a new
trial under Rule 59.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(b). The Court
construes Petitioner's pro se pleading as also seeking an
order altering or amending the Court's decision denying
his petition pursuant to Rule 59(e). A motion under this rule
may be granted only if 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). The Sixth Circuit has “repeatedly held that a
Rule 59(e) motion ‘does not permit parties to . . .
re-argue a case' and ‘cannot be used to present new
arguments that could have been raised prior to
judgment.'” Schellenberg v. Twp. of
Bingham, 436 F.App'x 587, 598 (6th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Howard v. United States, 533 F.3d 472, 475
(6th Cir. 2008)).
Failure to File Trial Record
first asserts that Respondent failed to comply with Rule
5(d)(1) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases when it
failed to file the trial transcripts along with its initial
responsive pleading to the petition. He notes that the Court
relied upon a statement of facts contained in the trial
court's order denying Petitioner's motion for relief
from judgment. Petitioner asserts that the trial court's
statement of facts constitutes an unreasonable determination
of the facts under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2) because it
adopted a purportedly inaccurate statement of facts submitted
by the prosecutor in an earlier filed pleading.
§ 2254 proceedings, the state must indicate in its
responsive pleading what transcripts are available and what
proceedings have been recorded but not transcribed. See Rule
5(c) of the Rules Governing Section 2254. If the state fails
to submit the entire record, any decision by the district
court on the merits may be subject to challenge. See, e.g.,
Nash v. Eberlin, 437 F.3d 519, 523-34, 2006 FED App.
0057P (6th Cir. 2006) (vacating judgment where district court
did not have complete state court transcript and review of
the additional evidence was required).
Respondent filed its initial response to the petition, it
filed portions of the state appellate record, as well as some
of the pleadings filed in the state courts during state
post-conviction review, but it did not file any of the trial
transcripts. See Dkt. 47. Most of Petitioner's claims,
not surprisingly, concern matters contained in the trial
transcripts. It was therefore incumbent on Respondent to file
the portions of the state court record pertaining to
the error in failing to file the transcripts has now been
cured because Respondent has filed what appears to be the
complete trial record. See Dkt. 64. The Court has now had an
opportunity to review Petitioner's claims in light of the
trial record. Though the trial court's statement of facts
does seem to be a copy of a statement of facts submitted by
the prosecutor, see Dkt. 47-2, after review of the trial
record, the Court concludes that it accurately summarized the
trial proceedings, and it does not constitute an unreasonable
determination of the facts contrary to § 2254(d)(2).
Court finds that the failure to file the trial transcripts
does not provide a basis for relief because, for the reasons
that follow, none of Petitioner's ...