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Quatrine v. Berghuis

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 31, 2017

CHARLES QUATRINE, Jr., Petitioner,
v.
MARY BERGHUIS, Respondent,

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING THE MOTION TO LIFT THE ABEYANCE ON PETITIONER'S PENDING MOTIONS [Dkt. # 64], DENYING THE MOTION TO DISQUALIFY THE JUDGE [Dkt. # 58] AND THE MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT [Dkt # 59], AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY AND LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          HONORABLE DENISE PAGE HOOD CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This Court summarily denied the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, on the ground that the original and amended habeas petitions were barred by the statute of limitations contained within 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). See Quatrine v. Berghuis, No. 2014 WL 793626 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 27, 2014).

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the petition for writ of habeas corpus. Quatrine v. Berghuis, No. 14-1323, 2016 WL 1457878 (6th Cir. Apr. 12, 2016).

         On October 21, 2016, petitioner filed a petition for writ of certiorari. While this petition was pending, petitioner filed a Rule 60(b) motion and a motion to disqualify this Court from hearing the case. This Court held the motions in abeyance pending a decision from the See United States Supreme Court. On January 9, 2017, the Supreme Court denied petitioner a writ of certiorari. Quatrine v. Berghuis, No. 16-6723, 2017 WL 69504 (U.S. Jan. 9, 2017).

         Petitioner has now filed a motion to lift the stay and to adjudicate his pending motions. The Court GRANTS the motion to lift the stay and abeyance. The Court DENIES the motion to disqualify and the Rule 60(b) motion.

         Petitioner filed a motion to disqualify this Court itself from hearing the case, claiming judicial bias on the part of the Court.

         28 U.S.C. § 455 (a) provides that “[a]ny justice, judge, or magistrate of the United States shall disqualify himself [or herself] in any proceeding in which his [or her] impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), a judge must recuse himself or herself “‘if a reasonable, objective person, knowing all of the circumstances, would have questioned the judge's impartiality.'” United States v. Sammons, 918 F.2d 592, 599 (6th Cir.1990)(quoting Hughes v. United States, 899 F.2d 1495, 1501 (6th Cir.1990)). The Supreme Court has held that under § 455(a), opinions formed by judges on the basis of facts introduced or events occurring “in the course of current proceedings, or of prior proceedings, do not constitute bias or partiality” unless they display “such a high degree of favoritism or antagonism as to make fair judgment impossible.” Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994). To state a claim that a judge is biased, a defendant must show either actual bias or the appearance of bias creating a conclusive presumption of actual bias. United States v. Lowe, 106 F.3d 1498, 1504 (6th Cir. 1997). Adverse rulings are not themselves sufficient to establish bias or prejudice which will disqualify a judge. See Hence v. Smith, 49 F.Supp.2d 547, 549 (E.D. Mich. 1999). A habeas petitioner's “unsupported accusations”and “unfounded surmise” of bias on the part of a federal judge presiding over his or her habeas petition are insufficient to establish grounds for disqualification of that judge from presiding over the case. See Bates v. Grant, 98 F. App'x. 11, 15 (1st Cir. 2004).

         The only evidence petitioner offers of judicial bias is that this Court found petitioner's habeas application to be time-barred and dismissed his case on that basis. Adverse rulings by a judge do not establish judicial bias that would support judicial disqualification. Petitioner's motion to disqualify is DENIED.

         Petitioner has filed a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment, claiming that both this Court and the Sixth Circuit erred in dismissing his habeas petition as time-barred, in light of the Sixth Circuit's subsequent decision in another habeas case. Petitioner points to the recent case of Holbrook v. Curtin, 833 F.3d 612, 619 (6th Cir. 2016), in which the Sixth Circuit held that a habeas petitioner is entitled to tolling of the limitations period under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2) for the time that he or she could have appealed the denial of a state post-conviction motion, even if the petitioner never filed an appeal. This Court and the Sixth Circuit, in reliance on the U.S. Supreme Court case of Evans v. Chavis, 546 U.S. 189, 191 (2006), ruled that the tolling of the limitations period ended when the state trial court denied petitioner's two post-conviction motions because petitioner never filed any appeal from the denial of these motions. Petitioner seeks relief from judgment based on the Sixth Circuit's decision in Holbrook, arguing that his petition is timely if this Court or the Sixth Circuit were to toll the limitations period for the time period that petitioner could have appealed the denial of his post-conviction motions, even though he did not do so.

         A motion for relief from judgment can be granted for the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct ...

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