United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
CLAUDE F. GARRETT, Petitioner,
BRUCE WESTBROOKS, Warden,  Respondent.
William J. Haynes, Judge
Claude F. Garrett, a state prisoner, filed this pro se action
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 seeking the writ of habeas corpus
to set aside his conviction for first-degree felony murder
for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Petitioner
filed an amended petition, asserting seven broad claims, that
was denied by the Court.
the Court is Petitioner's motion to alter or amend
judgment (Docket Entry No. 26) and supplemental motion to
alter or amend judgment (Docket Entry No. 29), asserting that
the Court should consider new evidence in the form of
"[r]ecently received affidavits from
nationally-recognized fire-science experts Craig L. Beyler,
Ph.D. and John Lentini, CFI, D-ABC" and a report from
the Tetrahedron Committee that debunk prosecution witness
Agent James Cooper's claim that the fire was deliberately
set and order an evidentiary hearing. Relying on this
evidence, Petitioner also seeks the Court under Martinez
v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012) to order an evidentiaiy
hearing on Petitioner's claims of ineffective assistance
of counsel as to (1) trial counsel's failure to present
evidence that in the ten years between the first and second
trials, the methods by which the State's expert witness
reached his conclusion of arson had been discredited by the
scientific community and (2) trial counsel's ineffective
performance at the Daubert hearing including trial
counsel's failure to effectively cross-examine James
Cooper and failure to move for an interlocutory appeal. See
Docket Entry No. 12, at 3-4, claims 2a and 2f.
response (Docket Entry No. 30), Respondent contends that
Petitioner fails to establish the basis for a successful Rule
59(e) motion because he cannot demonstrate that the proffered
expert reports are newly discovered evidence or that he will
suffer manifest injustice if his motion is not granted.
may grant a motion to alter or amend judgment only if there
was "(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." Intera
Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 620 (6th Cir. 2005)
(citing Gen Corp. Inc. v. Am. Int'l
Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir.1999)).
"Rule 59(e) motions are aimed at re
consideration, not initial consideration. Thus, parties
should not use them to raise arguments which could, and
should, have been made before judgment issued. Motions under
Rule 59(e) must either clearly establish a manifest error of
law or must present newly discovered evidence."
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians v.
Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th Cir. 1998) (emphasis in
original) (quoting FDIC v. World Univ, Inc., 978
F.2d 10, 16 (1st Cir. 1992)). Thus, "[s]uch motions...
are 'not intended as a vehicle to relitigate previously
considered issues'; 'should not be utilized to submit
evidence which could have been previously submitted in the
exercise of reasonable diligence'; and are not the proper
vehicle to attempt to obtain a reversal of a judgment 'by
offering the same arguments previously presented.'"
Naele Indus.. Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 175 F.R.D.
251, 254 (E.D. Mich. 1997). aff'd sub nom. Nagle
Indus., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 194 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir.
1999) (citation omitted). "Such a motion is
extraordinary and is seldom granted because it contradicts
notions of finality and repose." Waiters v. City of
Cleveland, No. 1:08-CV-2006, 2009 WL 3063384, at * 1
(N.D. Ohio Sept. 24, 2009).
hearings have been held to be appropriately denied where the
habeas petitioner "has not shown that his ... claims
would result in no reasonable fact finder finding him guilty
of the underlying offenses." Abdus-Samad v.
Bell, 420 F.3d 614, 626-27 (6th Cir. 2005). In
Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181-83 (2011),
the Supreme Court expressly stated that federal habeas review
is limited to the state court record:
We now hold that review under § 2254(d)(1) is limited to
the record that was before the state court that adjudicated
the claim on the merits. Section 2254(d)(1) refers, in the
past tense, to a state-court adjudication that "resulted
in" a decision that was contraiy to, or
"involved" an unreasonable application of,
established law. This backward-looking language requires an
examination of the state-court decision at the time it was
made. It follows that the record under review is limited to
the record in existence at that same time i.e., the record
before the state court.
This understanding of the text is compelled by "the
broader context of the statute as a whole, " which
demonstrates Congress' intent to channel prisoners'
claims first to the state courts. Robinson v. Shell Oil
Co., 519 U.S. 337, 341, 117 S.Ct. 843, 136 L.Ed.2d 808
(1997). "The federal habeas scheme leaves primary
responsibility with the state courts ...."
Visciotti, supra, at 27, 123 S.Ct. 357.
Section 2254(b) requires that prisoners must ordinarily
exhaust state remedies before filing for federal habeas
relief. It would be contrary to that purpose to allow a
petitioner to overcome an adverse state-court decision with
new evidence introduced in a federal habeas court and
reviewed by that court in the first instance effectively de
Limiting § 2254(d)(1) review to the state-court record
is consistent with our precedents interpreting that statutory
provision. Our cases emphasize that review under §
2254(d)(1) focuses on what a state court knew and did.
State-court decisions are measured against this Court's
precedents as of "the time the state court renders its
decision." Lockver v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63,
71-72, 123 S.Ct. 1166, 155 L.Ed.2d 144 (2003). To determine
whether a particular decision is "contrary to"
then-established law, a federal court must consider whether
the decision "applies a rule that contradicts [such]
law" and how the decision "confronts [the] set of
facts" that were before the state court. Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405, 406, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 146
L.Ed.2d 389 (2000) (Terry Williams). If the
state-court decision "identifies the correct governing
legal principle" in existence at the time, a federal
court must assess whether the decision "unreasonably
applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's
case." Id., at 413, 120 S.Ct. 1495. It would be
strange to ask federal courts to analyze whether a state
court's adjudication resulted in a decision that
unreasonably applied federal law to facts not before the
Our recent decision in Schriro v. Landrigan, 550
U.S. 465, 127 S.Ct. 1933, 167 L.Ed.2d 836 (2007), is
consistent as well with our holding here. We explained that
"[b]ecause the deferential standards prescribed by
§ 2254 control whether to grant habeas relief, a federal
court must take into account those standards in deciding
whether an evidentiary hearing is appropriate."
Id., at 474, 127 S.Ct. 1933. In practical effect, we
went on to note, this means that when the state-court record
"precludes habeas relief under the limitations of §
2254(d), a district court is "not required to hold an
evidentiary hearing." Id., at 474, 127 S.Ct.
1933 (citing with approval the Ninth Circuit's
recognition that "an evidentiary hearing is not required
on issues that can be resolved by reference to the state
court record" (internal quotation marks omitted)).
Id. (emphasis added and footnote omitted).
created an equitable exception to procedural default that
"qualifies Coleman by recognizing a narrow exception:
Inadequate assistance of counsel at initial-review collateral
proceedings may establish cause for a prisoner's
procedural default of a claim of ineffective assistance at
trial." 132 S.Ct. at 1315 (emphasis added). In addition,
Martinez applies to "initial-review collateral
proceedings", "which provide the first occasion to
raise a claim of ineffective assistance at trial."
Id. Martinez expressly recognized that
"[d]irect appeals, without evidentiary hearings, may not
be as effective as other proceedings for developing the
factual basis for the [ineffective assistance of trial
counsel] claim." Id. at 1318. In Trevino v.
Thaler, U.S., 133 S.Ct. 1911 (2013), the Supreme Court
extended the Martinez exception where State law
"does not expressly require the defendant to
raise a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel in
an initial collateral review proceeding....[but the
State] law on its face appears to permit (but not require)
the defendant to raise the claim on direct appeal"
Id. at 1918 (emphasis in the original). Moreover,
"[t]o be successful under Trevino, ... [the
habeas petitioner] must show a 'substantial' claim of
ineffective assistance, and this requirement applies as well
to the prejudice portion of the ineffective assistance
claim." McGuire v. Warden, Chillicothe Correctional
Inst, 738 F.3d 741, 752 (6th Cir. 2013) (citing
Trevino, 133 S.Ct. at 1918). "The holding in
[Martinez! does not concern attorney errors in other
kinds of proceedings, including appeals from initial-review
collateral proceedings, second or successive collateral
proceedings, and petitions for discretionary review in a
State's appellate courts. It does not extend to attorney
errors in any proceeding beyond the first occasion the State
allows a prisoner to raise a claim of ineffective assistance
at trial, even though that initial-review collateral
proceeding may be deficient for other reasons."
Martinez, 132 S.Ct. at 1320; Wallace v.
Sexton, No. 13-5331, 2014 WL 2782009, at *10
(6th Cir. June 20, 2014).
Court previously concluded that Petitioner did not carry his
burden to justify another evidentiary hearing because given
Petitioner's trial and two post-conviction hearings the
state record was adequate to decide his claims. Petitioner
cites that the new affidavits of Beyler and Lentini were just
completed and constitute newly discovered evidence. (Docket
Entry No. 26 at 22-23). Here, Petitioner's
characterization of these affidavits and reports as new
evidence does not constitute new evidence.
constitute 'newly discovered evidence, ' the evidence
must have been previously unavailable." Gen Corp,
Inc. v. Am. Int'l Underwriters,178 F.3d 804, 834
(6th Cir. 1999). Newly submitted evidence does not constitute
newly discovered evidence. Whitehead v. Bowen, 301
F.App'x 484, 489 (6th Cir. 2008). When a Rule 59 motion
rests on newly submitted evidence, the party must show
"that due diligence would not have uncovered this
evidence before the court ruled on ...