United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENT PURSUANT TO
RULE 59(E) [#60]
Gershwin A Drain U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court is Petitioner's Motion to Vacate
Judgment Pursuant to Rule 59(e). Petitioner asserts that the
Court should vacate its judgment denying relief under 28
U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons that follow, the Court
will deny Petitioner's Motion.
Anthony LaJuan Fleming was indicted on two counts of
distributing cocaine base in June 2008. Dkt. No. 3. On August
15, 2008, Fleming pleaded guilty to Count Two-distribution of
50 or more grams of cocaine base- and the Government agreed
to dismiss Count One. Dkt. No. 19. Fleming's counsel
objected to whether Fleming's prior conviction for
fleeing constituted a crime of violence under the guidelines.
See Dkt. No. 25, p. 6, 14 (Pg. ID No. 65, 73).
Fleming was sentenced to 290 months imprisonment on December
5, 2008. Dkt. No. 20, p. 2 (Pg. ID No. 50).
filed a Notice of Appeal to the Sixth Circuit concerning his
Judgment and Sentence on January 6, 2009. Dkt. No. 21. The
Sixth Circuit dismissed the appeal, stating that
Fleming's sentence was within the agreed sentencing
range. Dkt. No. 29. The Sixth Circuit also noted that Fleming
knowingly and voluntarily entered a guilty plea. Id.
January 8, 2016, Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate Sentence
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Dkt. No. 36. On June 28, 2016,
the Court granted Petitioner's Motion to Vacate. Dkt. No.
43. However, the Court granted the Government's request
to stay resentencing until the Supreme Court issued a ruling
in Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017).
Dkt. No. 48. After the Supreme Court rendered a decision in
Beckles, the Court ordered supplemental briefing
from the parties to address the new precedent
Beckles set. Dkt. No. 51. The Court then reevaluated
its decision to vacate Petitioner's sentence. On July 25,
2017, this Court denied Petitioner's Supplemental Motion
to Vacate Sentence, and vacated its previous Order to Vacate.
Dkt. No. 58. On August 15, 2017, Petitioner filed the present
Motion asking the Court to reconsider its decision to deny
Petitioner's Motion to Vacate Sentence.
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) governs motions to alter or
amend a judgment. A court may alter the judgment under Rule
59 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).
argues that this Court should alter its July 25, 2017
judgment based on a clear error of law. See Dkt. No.
60, pg. 3 (Pg. ID 261). Petitioner first challenges this
Court's previous order denying his motion to vacate
sentence stating that the court committed legal error.
argues that this Court erred in finding that he could not
proceed with his claim of “newly discovered
facts” under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(4). Id.
In his June 5, 2017 Motion to Vacate, Petitioner cited case
law from the United States Supreme Court, stating that the
holdings in those cases changed the legal consequences of
known facts. Dkt. No. 56, pg. 5-8 (Pg. ID 234-37).
Petitioner then argued that under Phillips v. United
States, these changes in the legal consequences of the
known facts created new facts that this Court can review. 734
F.3d 573 (6th Cir. 2013); Id. This Court held that,
under Phillips, citing case law did not present new
facts. Dkt. No. 58, pg. 5 (Pg. ID 249). Therefore, citing the
Supreme Court decisions did not constitute new facts.
argues that a change in the legal consequences of knowns
facts constitutes new facts under Phillips. Dkt. No.
56, pg. 5 (Pg. ID 234). However, the Phillips
holding does not state this proposition. See
Phillips, 734 F.3d at 580-83. This Court considered all
of the United States Supreme Court cases that Petitioner
cited in his June 5, 2017 Motion to Vacate. Dkt. No. 58, pg.
5 n.1 (Pg. ID 249) (referencing the various Supreme Court
cases Petitioner cited). This Court then held that the cited
precedent does not equate to new facts. Id. This
Court correctly followed Phillips. It was correct in
holding that the discovery of new judicial precedent does not
constitute newly discovered facts.
specifically, Petitioner states Johnson v. United
States held that a vacated prior state conviction
presents a new fact. 544 U.S. 295, 304-05 (2005); Dkt. No.
60, pg. 3 (Pg. ID 261). Petitioner then argues that the rule
changes in Descamps and Mathis operate as
the functional equivalent of having a prior conviction
vacated. Id. Therefore, this Court should have more
carefully considered Petitioner's citations to
Descamps and Mathis. Id. In other
words, Petitioner argues that Descamps and
Mathis are the equivalent of a vacated state
conviction because their holdings would vacate
Petitioner's conviction. Therefore, the holdings in
Descamps and Mathis should constitute new
facts that this Court can consider. This argument is too
indirect. Success in having a prior state ...