United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
GREER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Montague (“Petitioner”) filed a motion pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 seeking to vacate, set aside, or
correct the sentence entered in his criminal case [Doc. 3],
which the Court dismissed on February 12, 2008 [Doc. 58].
Presently before the Court is Petitioner's second motion
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) requesting relief
from judgment [Doc. 79]. For the reasons explained below,
Petitioner's motion [Doc. 79] will be
PROCEDURAL HISTORY 
Court previously summarized the procedural history of
Petitioner's conviction and state appeal and
post-conviction proceedings, stating:
In 1993, [P]etitioner was convicted of first-degree murder by
a jury in the Criminal Court for Washington County, Tennessee
and sentenced to a life-term in prison. Petitioner was
unsuccessful on direct appeal, State v. Montague,
No. 03C01- 9306-CR-00192, 1994 WL 652186 (Tenn. Crim. App.
Nov. 21, 1994), perm. app. denied (Tenn. 1995); in
petitioning for post-conviction relief, State v.
Montague, No. E2000-00083-CCA-R3-PC, 2000 WL 949233
(Tenn. Crim. App. July 11, 2000), perm. app. denied
(Tenn. Dec. 27, 2000); and in obtaining state habeas corpus
relief. [Addendum No. 17, Montague v. State,
E2002-0868-CCA-R3-PC (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 15, 2002
[Doc. 57 at 2-3].
filed a habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254 on March 31, 2003 [Doc. 3]. This Court dismissed the
amended § 2254 petition on February 12, 2008, holding
that several of Petitioner's claims were procedurally
defaulted, and the remaining claims should be dismissed on
the merits [Docs. 57; 58]. The Court then found that
“reasonable jurists could not disagree with the
resolution of these claims, ” and denied a Certificate
of Appealability (“COA”) [Doc. 57 p. 43].
filed a motion for relief from judgment [Doc. 68] on February
7, 2014, which this Court denied on May 1, 2014 [Doc. 71].
After Petitioner filed a notice of appeal [Doc. 72], the
Court denied Petitioner a COA on May 15, 2014 [Doc. 75]. The
Sixth Circuit then denied Petitioner's COA application,
along with his § 2244(b) application and all other
pending motions, as moot on January 15, 2015 [Doc. 76].
Petitioner filed the present “Motion to Reopen
Judgment” [Doc. 79] on August 10, 2017, as well as a
memorandum in support of his motion [Doc. 81]. Respondent
then filed a response in opposition to Petitioner's Rule
60 motion [Doc. 83].
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)
August 10, 2017, Petitioner filed a motion requesting relief
from judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure [Doc. 79]. Rule 60(b) allows a party to seek
relief from a final judgment and request reopening of his
case under limited circumstances, including fraud, mistake,
and newly discovered evidence. Petitioner is proceeding under
Rule 60(b)(6), which provides for relief for “any other
reason that justifies relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6).
However, relief under Rule 60(b)(6) “applies only in
exceptional and extraordinary circumstances.” Jinks
v. Allied Signal, Inc., 250 F.3d 381, 387 (6th Cir.
motion, Petitioner seeks relief from the Court's order
[Doc. 58] dismissing his § 2254 petition. Petitioner
claims that the Court applied an incorrect standard in
denying the issuance of a COA of its order dismissing his
habeas petition [Doc. 79 p. 4]. Additionally, Petitioner
argues that he is entitled to relief due to the change in
decisional law set forth in Trevino v. Thaler, 133
S.Ct. 1911 (2013); Martinez v. Ryan, 556 U.S. 1
(2012); and Sutton v. Carpenter, 745 F.3d 787 (6th
Cir. 2014) [Doc. 81 at 6-7]. Lastly, Petitioner states that
the Court failed to rule on several issues set forth in his
habeas petition [Id. at 5].
Proper Standard for Denying COA
argues that he is entitled to relief from judgment, as the
Court applied an incorrect standard in denying the issuance
of a COA of the dismissal of his habeas petition [Doc. 79 p.
4]. Petitioner claims that under Buck v. Davis, 137
S.Ct. 759 (2017), the “district court abused it's
[sic] discretion and used an incorrect legal standard”
in denying him a COA [Id.]. Therefore, Petitioner
alleges that this abuse constitutes an extraordinary
circumstance under Rule 60(b)(6) [Id. at 1]. Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(c) requires a motion filed
pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6) to be filed within a reasonable
time after the entry of the judgment or order. Petitioner
claims that his Rule 60(b) motion is timely, as it was filed
within a year of the Supreme Court's decision in Buck
v. Davis, 137 S.Ct. 759 (2017). [Id.].
60(b)(6) relief is available only in “exceptional or
extraordinary circumstances.” Stokes v.
Williams,475 F.3d 732, 735 (6th Cir. 2007). “Such
circumstances will rarely occur in the habeas context,
” Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 535
(2005), and do not usually include a change in decisional
law, in and of itself. Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S.
203, 239 (1997); Blue Diamond Coal Co. v. Trustees of the
UMWA Combined Benefit Fund, 249 F.3d 519, 524 (6th Cir.
2001). Instead, a change in decisional law must generally be