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Martinez v. Carpenter

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

March 26, 2019

MICA ALEXANDER MARTINEZ, Petitioner,
v.
MIKE CARPENTER, Interim Warden, Oklahoma State Penitentiary, [1] Respondent.

          ORDER

          TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The Court has ordered an evidentiary hearing on whether Petitioner can show cause and prejudice to overcome a state procedural bar of his first claim for habeas relief. Respondent has asked the Court to reconsider its order, or in the alternative, certify the order for interlocutory appeal. Having reviewed the parties' submissions, the Court denies both requests.

         Motion to Reconsider

          “The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not recognize a ‘motion to reconsider.'” Van Skiver v. United States, 952 F.2d 1241, 1243 (10th Cir.1991); see also Warren v. American Bankers Ins., 507 F.3d 1239, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007). However, a district court has inherent power to revise interlocutory orders at any time before the entry of a final judgment. See Warren, 507 F.3d at 1243; Riggs v. Scrivner, Inc., 927 F.2d 1146, 1148 (10th Cir. 1991). The appropriate circumstances for seeking reconsideration of issues previously decided in a case are limited:

Grounds warranting a motion to reconsider include (1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) new evidence previously unavailable, and (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice. Thus, a motion for reconsideration is appropriate where the court has misapprehended the facts, a party's position, or the controlling law. It is not appropriate to revisit issues already addressed or advance arguments that could have been raised in prior briefing.

Servants of Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005, 1012 (10th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted); see also Van Skiver, 952 F.2d at 1243; Devon Energy Prod. Co., L.P. v. Mosaic Potash Carlsbad, Inc., 693 F.3d 1195, 1212 (10th Cir. 2012).

         Respondent's position appears to be that the Court misapprehended controlling law. Respondent advances six legal arguments related to the Court's order.[2]

         1. Cause will not overcome the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals' procedural bar.

         Respondent argues that even if Petitioner can establish cause for not raising his jury claim, that evidence would still not satisfy the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals' (“OCCA”) pleading requirements.

         The Court takes no position on whether the “cause” Petitioner has presented to overcome the procedural bar would be sufficient to meet the OCCA's pleading requirements for a successive post-conviction application. That inquiry has no bearing on whether a federal court will apply a state procedural bar. It is not the province of a federal court to second-guess whether a state court properly barred a claim. See Runningeagle v. Ryan, 686 F.3d 758, 768 (9th Cir. 2012) ([w]e would not be able to review the state court's conclusion that this claim was procedurally defaulted under [state] law”); Jacquin v. Stenzil, 886 F.2d 506, 508 (2d. Cir. 1989) (the merits of a particular state procedural bar are not the concern of a federal court presented with a habeas corpus petition). Rather, federal courts must determine, applying federal law, whether a petitioner can establish cause and prejudice to obtain review of a defaulted claim. See Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 489 (1986) (the question of cause for avoiding procedural default is a question of federal law); see also Simpson v. Carpenter, 912 F.3d 542, 571 (10th Cir. 2018).

         Therefore, while Respondent claims Petitioner failed to comply with the OCCA's pleading requirements, the Court will not review the OCCA's decision on that point of state law. Nor will the Court attempt to divine whether the OCCA's procedural default rested on a state pleading requirement or a substantive a finding that the claim was reasonably available. What matters is that the OCCA procedurally defaulted the claim. This Court must therefore determine whether Petitioner can show cause and prejudice under federal law for this Court to review the claim in spite of that default.

         2. Petitioner's lack of diligence precludes the Court from hearing evidence on the merits of his claim.

         Respondent claims that if the Court holds an evidentiary hearing on cause and prejudice, it cannot consider any evidence from that hearing in deciding the underlying claim. Respondent bases this argument on the requirement that a habeas petitioner be diligent in developing the factual bases for claims in state court. The Court agrees that a petitioner must show diligence in attempting to develop the factual bases for a claim in state court. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2) requires that a petitioner attempt to develop factual evidence in state proceedings, even for claims that a federal court later reviews de novo. See Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 185-86 (2011). But the Court finds Petitioner was diligent in developing the factual basis of his claim.

         Section 2254(e)(2) states that “[i]f the applicant has failed to develop the factual basis of a claim in State court proceedings, the court shall not hold an evidentiary hearing on the claim” unless he can fulfill the requirements of Section 2254(e)(2). The Supreme Court has construed the term “failed” to indicate a “lack of diligence, or some greater fault, attributable to the prisoner or the prisoner's counsel.” Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 420, 431-32 (2000). The Tenth Circuit has found that when a petitioner seeks an evidentiary hearing in state court and submits affidavits and a memorandum of law in favor of his request, he has been diligent under Section 2254(e)(2). Parker v. Scott, 394 F.3d 1302, 1324-25 (10th Cir. 2005); compare Calvert v. Dinwiddie, 461 Fed.Appx. 729, 736 n.1 (10th Cir. 2012) (petitioner was not diligent when he never sought an evidentiary hearing in state court, did not submit documentary ...


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