United States District Court, D. Kansas
SAMUEL L. REED, Petitioner,
SAM CLINE, et al., Respondents.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. Crabtree United States District Judge
14, 2017, the court denied petitioner Samuel L. Reed's
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 22) and entered
Judgment (Doc. 23). On August 11, 2017, petitioner filed a
Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P.
59(e) (Doc. 24). Petitioner also has filed Objections to
Finding of Facts and Conclusions of Law (Doc. 29),
Supplement to his Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (Doc.
30), and an Additional Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 33).
These filings all assert that the court erred when it denied
his petition for federal habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Petitioner also filed a Motion for Leave to
Appeal in forma pauperis (Doc. 26). For reasons explained
below, the court denies petitioner's Motion to Alter or
Amend Judgment but grants his Motion for Leave to Appeal in
59(e) allows a party to file a motion to alter or amend a
judgment no later than 28 days after entry of judgment. A
court may grant a motion to alter or amend a judgment under
Rule 59(e) on one of the following three grounds: “(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.”
Somerlott v. Cherokee Nation Distribs., Inc., 686
F.3d 1144, 1153 (10th Cir. 2012). A Rule 59(e) motion is
“appropriate where the court has misapprehended the
facts, a party's position, or the controlling law.”
Servants of the Paraclete v. Does, 204 F.3d 1005,
1012 (10th Cir. 2000). “It is not appropriate to
revisit issues already addressed or advance arguments that
could have been raised in prior briefing.” Id.
(citing Van Skiver v. United States, 952 F.2d 1241,
1243 (10th Cir. 1991)). Petitioner claims the court made
“manifest errors of law and fact.” Doc. 30 at 1.
contends the court should amend or alter its judgment for
four reasons. The court analyzes each one, below, in turn.
petitioner argues the court misconstrued Kansas law governing
a witness's availability. If a witness is unavailable,
Kansas courts allow the admission of certain types of hearsay
statements into evidence. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 40-460(c).
Specifically, petitioner argues that the court should have
found that the state district court impermissibly admitted
hearsay into evidence when the declarant was not unavailable.
Doc. 29 at 6. According to petitioner, the state district
court should have ordered the declarant to testify before
finding him unavailable. Id. However, the Kansas
Supreme Court already has held that a trial judge does not
need to order a declarant to testify to find a declarant
unavailable. State v. Reed, 352 P.3d 530, 544 (Kan.
2015). The court did not misconstrue state law by following
the law adopted by the state's highest court. And even if
it had erred, “federal habeas corpus relief does not
lie for errors of state law.” Swarthout v.
Cooke, 562 U.S. 216, 219 (2011).
last four arguments do not justify a need to amend or alter
the court's earlier order. First, petitioner argues the
court erred in finding his Sixth Amendment right to a public
trial was violated. Doc. 30 at 2. Second, petitioner argues
the court erred in finding Mr. Pittman did not provide
ineffective assistance of counsel when he did not object to
the admission of Mr. Becknell's hearsay testimony.
Id. at 4. Third, petitioner argues the court erred
by finding Mr. Pittman did not provide ineffective assistance
of counsel when he did not object to the prosecutor's
attempt to bolster a witness's credibility. Id.
at 5. Last, petitioner argues the court erred by finding
petitioner's right to confront witnesses against him was
not violated. Doc. 33 at 3. Petitioner's arguments on
these issues are essentially the same ones he advanced in his
original briefing. He has not shown “an intervening
change in the controlling law, new evidence previously
unavailable, [or] the need to correct clear error or prevent
manifest injustice.” The court thus denies
petitioner's Motion to Amend or Alter the Judgment.
also filed a Motion for Leave to Appeal in forma pauperis.
Doc. 26. Neither habeas corpus proceedings, nor the appeals
of those proceedings, are subject to the Prison Litigation
Reform Act or its filing fees. See United States v.
Simmonds, 111 F.3d 737, 743-44 (10th Cir. 1997),
rev'd on other grounds, United States v.
Hurst, 322 F.3d 1256 (10th Cir. 2003). The court thus
grants petitioner's Motion for Leave to Appeal in forma
pauperis (Doc. 26).
IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT THAT petitioner
Samuel L. Reed's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (Doc.
24) is denied.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT THAT petitioner
Samuel L. Reed's Motion for Leave to Appeal in forma
pauperis (Doc. 26) is granted.
IS SO ORDERED.
 While petitioner filed his Objections
under the guise of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52, this
relief is not available to petitioner. See Trentadue v.
Integrity Comm., 501 F.3d 1215, 1237 (10th Cir. 2007)
(“[Rule 52], however, applies only to cases in which a
district court issues factual findings following a trial on
the merits.”). However, the court construes Doc. 29 as
a Supplement to petitioner's Motion to Alter or Amend
Judgment because the court must construe pro se documents
liberally. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110
(10th Cir. 1991) (“A pro se ...