United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER ADDRESSING PETITIONER'S MOTIONS AND
DIRECTING RESPONDENT TO RESPOND
THOMAS ANDERSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are the following motions of Petitioner Timothy
Aaron Baxter: (1) Motion for Recusal (ECF No. 6)-as well as a
Motion to Render Decision regarding the recusal Motion (ECF
No. 16); (2) Motion for Conditional Release Pending Federal
Habeas Corpus Review (ECF No. 7); (3) Motion to Set
Evidentiary Hearing (ECF No. 8); (4) Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 9); (5) Motion for Judicial
Estoppel (ECF No. 10); (6) Motion for Entry of Default by
Clerk of Court (ECF No. 15); and (7) Motion for Rule
Enforcement (ECF No. 17). These motions all arise from
Baxter's underlying pro se Petition (ECF No. 1)
for habeas corpus relief (the “Petition”). The
Court addresses each Motion below.
reasons that follow, Petitioner's Motion to Render
Decision on the recusal Motion is GRANTED,
but the Motions for Recusal, Conditional Release, Partial
Summary Judgment, Entry of Default, Judicial Estoppel,
Evidentiary Hearing, and Rule Enforcement are hereby
DENIED. Further, Respondent Russell Washburn
is DIRECTED to file a response to the
allegations set forth in the Petition in accordance with the
October 2017, Petitioner filed his Petition pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254. The Petition sets forth the following
challenges to Baxter's conviction for failure to appear
on an aggravated assault charge:
1. “The evidence underlying Baxter's conviction for
failure to appear fails to satisfy the sufficiency standard
of Jackson v. Virginia, 1979.” Pet. Under 28
U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in
State Custody, at 5, Oct. 23, 2017, ECF No. 1.
2. “Pervasive Government misconduct, secretive,
selective, vindictive, and Baxter was denied a preliminary
hearing preventing exercise of 4th Amendment
violation.” Id. at 6.
3. “State trial court abused its discretion by allowing
admission of hearsay evidence violating Crawford v.
Washington, supra.” Id. at 8.
4. “Baxter's trial counsel was ineffective at trial
and on direct appeal and Baxter's post-conviction counsel
was ineffective, Martinez v.
Ryan.” Id. at 10.
Motions for Recusal and to Render Decision
February 26, 2018, Petitioner filed a Motion for Recusal,
requesting that the undersigned judge be recused from this
case. In support, he cites “asserted claims of judicial
bias and conflict of interest in” his 2010 civil rights
case, over which the undersigned presided. Mot. for Recusal,
at 1, Feb. 26, 2018, ECF No. 6. He contends that recusal is
proper because the civil rights case “is still pending
at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.” Id. On
April 30, 2018, Baxter filed a Motion to Render Decision, in
which he requests that the Court rule on his recusal Motion.
sufficient to justify recusal must be personal, arising out
of the judge's background, and not based on the
judge's interpretation of the law. Taylor
Acquisitions, L.L.C. v. City of Taylor, 313 Fed.Appx.
826, 838 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing United States v.
Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 583 (1966); Ullmo ex
rel. Ullmo v. Gilmour Acad., 273 F.3d 671, 681 (6th Cir.
2001)). “[A] judge is presumed to be impartial, and the
party seeking disqualification bears the substantial burden
of proving otherwise.” Scott v. Metro. Health
Corp., 234 Fed.Appx. 341, 352 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting
United States v. Dention, 434 F.3d 1104, 1111 (8th
Cir. 2006)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
here has not met his burden of proving personal bias. He does
not identify specific facts to support the conclusory
allegation of “judicial bias and conflict of
interest.” Additionally, the mere fact that the
undersigned participated in Petitioner's civil rights
case does not support a demand for recusal. See Liteky v.
United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994)
(“[O]pinions formed by the judge on the basis of facts
introduced or events occurring in the course of . . . prior
proceedings, do not constitute a basis for a bias or
partiality motion unless they display a deep-seated
favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment
impossible.”). Finally, there is no prejudice
to Petitioner resulting from the pendency of the appeal in
his civil rights case; the appeal was dismissed by the Sixth
Circuit for want of prosecution five months before Baxter
filed his recusal motion. Baxter v. ...