United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR DISCOVERY AND FOR PRODUCTION
OF EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE
L. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Marcus Thomas moves for discovery and for production of
exculpatory evidence. (Motion (“Mot.”), ECF No.
5.) Petitioner specifically seeks information pertaining to
the investigation that resulted in his state-court
conviction, information concerning witnesses to his crime,
and information regarding communications between Petitioner
and the state prosecutor. (Id.) Thomas requests in
camera inspection if there is some question about the
exculpatory nature of evidence. (Id. at PageID 126.)
He requests these materials at the earliest opportunity and
in advance of evidentiary proceedings. (Id.) The
Court DENIES Petitioner's Motion for the following
petitioners do not have an automatic right to discovery.
See Johnson v. Mitchell, 585 F.3d 923, 934 (6th Cir.
2009) (quoting Stanford v. Parker, 266 F.3d 442, 460
(6th Cir. 2001)). Discovery in habeas cases is controlled by
Rule 6(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts (“Habeas Rules”).
Habeas Rule 6 is meant to be “consistent” with
the Supreme Court's decision in Harris v.
Nelson, 394 U.S. 286 (1969), where the Court held that
petitioners must be given an adequate opportunity to seek out
information about the facts of their case when the
allegations reasonably demonstrate that the petitioner is
entitled to relief. See Bracy v. Gramley, 520 U.S.
899, 909 (1997).
this rule, “[a] judge may, for good cause, authorize a
party to conduct discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and may limit the extent of discovery.”
See Cornwell v. Bradshaw, 559 F.3d 398, 410 (6th
Cir. 2009) (“For good cause shown, the district court
has the discretion to permit discovery in a habeas proceeding
. . . .”). The rule further states that “[a]
party requesting discovery must provide reasons for the
“good cause” standard is not demonstrated by
“bald assertions” or “conclusory
allegations.” Stanford, 266 F.3d at 460;
see also Williams v. Bagley, 380 F.3d 932, 974 (6th
Cir. 2004). Instead, the requested discovery must be
materially related to claims raised in the habeas petition
and likely to “resolve any factual disputes that could
entitle [the petitioner] to relief.” Williams,
380 F.3d at 975 (quoting Stanford, 266 F.3d at 460)
(internal quotation marks omitted); see Bracy, 520
U.S. at 908-09 (allowing discovery relevant to
“specific allegations” of fact in support of a
claim of constitutional error); Post v. Bradshaw,
621 F.3d 406, 425 (6th Cir. 2010) (stating that discovery
provides petitioner “that extra evidence he . . . needs
to prove or strengthen his case”); Braden v.
Bagley, No. 2:04-CV-842, 2007 WL 1026454, at *2 (S.D.
Ohio Mar. 30, 2007) (“Rule 6's ‘good
cause' standard requires petitioner to at least attempt
to identify what he expects to uncover through his discovery
requests.”). In other words, Rule 6(a) does not permit
a “fishing expedition masquerading as discovery,
” Stanford, 266 F.3d at 460.
Motion does not establish a connection between the requested
information and specific allegations in his petition.
Moreover, he does not state what he expects this information
to reveal. The Court therefore finds that Petitioner has not
demonstrated good cause for discovery.
these reasons, the Court DENIES Petitioner's Motion for
Discovery and for Production of Exculpatory Evidence.
 “The Sixth Circuit has not
determined whether § 2254(e)(2) applies to motions for
discovery.” Hill v. Anderson, 4:96CV0795, 2010
WL 5178699, at *8 (N.D. Ohio Dec. 14, 2010). A petitioner may
show good cause under Habeas Rule 6 without meeting the
higher standard for an evidentiary hearing in 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(2). Payne v. Bell, 89 F.Supp.2d 967,
970 (W.D. Tenn. 2000); see Braden, 2007 WL 1026454,
at *6 (distinguishing discovery from factual development
under § 2254(e)(2)); see also Simmons v.
Simpson, No. ...