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United States v. Gantt

United States District Court, D. Kansas

July 13, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DESHANE GANTT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ERIC F. MELGREN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner Deshane Gantt has filed a Motion to Amend Judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) and a Request for the District Court to Find the Facts Specially and State the Conclusions of Law Separately under Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a)(1) (Doc. 101) . He also seeks an evidentiary hearing (Doc. 111). For the following reasons, the Court denies Petitioner's motions.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On November 9, 2010, Petitioner was charged with one count of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d) (Count I) and one count of carrying, using, and brandishing a firearm during and relating to the bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (Count II). On January 24, 2011, Petitioner pled guilty to the second count. In his written plea agreement, he admitted that he entered a federal credit union, armed with a 9 mm Highpoint pistol, and ordered several employees to the floor. He removed cash, approximately $7, 800, from the teller drawers and fled the building. On April 25, 2011, the Court sentenced Petitioner to a term of 20 years.

         On May 2, 2011, Petitioner appealed his conviction and sentence to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He argued that the district court's sentence was both procedurally and substantively unreasonable. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the Court's decision in a decision dated May 30, 2012. In that opinion, the Tenth Circuit stated that “Defendant's sentence was procedurally reasonable because the district court adequately explained why it varied from the guideline sentence, and it was substantively reasonable because the length of the sentence was not an abuse of discretion.”[1]

         On November 1, 2013, Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In this motion, Petitioner, proceeding pro se, argued multiple grounds of error including (1) that the district court was without subject matter jurisdiction, (2) that the district judge abused his discretion, (3) prosecutorial misconduct, and (4) ineffective assistance of counsel. On November 22, 2013, the district court found Petitioner's arguments to be without merit and thus denied Petitioner's motion. Petitioner appealed the order to the Tenth Circuit. On April 8, 2014, the Tenth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of prosecution.

         Over three years later, on July 19, 2017, Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration. He stated that he brought the motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(5) and (6). He claimed that he had a number of substantive ineffective assistance claims that were not properly raised in his first § 2255 motion. The Court denied the Rule 60(b) motion finding that Petitioner brought an improper successive § 2255 motion. Thus, the Court dismissed Petitioner's motion for lack of jurisdiction.

         Petitioner is now before the Court again. He seeks relief from the denial of his Rule 60(b) motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). He claims that the Court committed clear error.

         II. Legal Standard

         Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party to request reconsideration of a final judgment. The Court will reconsider an earlier judgment if the movant presents evidence of (1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) newly discovered evidence, or (3) the need to correct clear error.[2] Rule 59(e) is not an appropriate vehicle for revisiting issues already considered or arguing matters that were not raised in prior briefs.[3]

         III. Analysis

         Petitioner contends that the Court committed clear error because it misapprehended his argument in his previous 60(b) motion. He states that he filed a true 60(b) motion in this Court because he presented a claim that a defect occurred in his initial § 2255 proceeding. Petitioner asserts that the Court instead construed his argument to be that he had a Sixth Amendment right to counsel in his initial 2255 proceedings. Petitioner is mistaken.

         The Court previously considered whether Petitioner established a defect in the integrity of the federal habeas proceeding. The Court cited the Tenth Circuit's standard when determining whether Petitioner's motion was a true 60(b) motion or a successive 2255.

[A] 60(b) motion is a second or successive petition if it in substance or effect asserts or reasserts a federal basis for relief from the petitioner's underlying conviction. Conversely, it is a “true” 60(b) motion if it either (1) challenges only a procedural ruling of the habeas court which precluded a merits determination of the habeas application, or (2) challenges a defect in the integrity of the federal habeas proceeding, provided that such a ...

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