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Davis v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

May 21, 2019

DARRYL LAMONT DAVIS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING POST-JUDGMENT MOTIONS

         Before the Court are Petitioner Darryl Lamont Davis' motions: (1) to alter or amend the judgment denying his motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [Doc. 4]; (2) to compel and subpoena evidence [Doc. 5]; (3) to indict various Government officials [Doc. 15]; and (4) to appoint counsel to assist him with his post-judgment motions [Docs. 8, 16]. The United States has filed a response in opposition to Davis' motion to alter the judgment [Doc. 14]. Upon review of the pleadings and the record in this cause, along with the applicable law, the Court finds Davis' motions should be denied.

         I. RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In mid-2007, Davis, a convicted felon, robbed a bank and two convenience stores in Knoxville, Tennessee, while brandishing a semi-automatic pistol [Doc. 26 in No. 3:07-CR-66; Doc. 136 p. 7-8, 16-18, 48-52, 98-99 in No. 3:07-CR-66]. While fleeing after the crimes, Davis discarded two hats and a ski mask, and DNA was recovered from the hats [Doc. 136 p. 10-11, 16-17, 32-35, 52-53, 64-66 in No. 3:07-CR-66; Doc. 137 p. 9, 104-10 in No. 3:07-CR-66].

         Following Davis' arrest, his DNA was twice obtained via buccal swabs - first pursuant to a federal grand jury subpoena, and then after his indictment, pursuant to a federal search warrant - and both of those DNA samples matched the DNA recovered from the hats [See Doc. 104 p. 2 n.1 in No. 3:07-CR-66; Doc. 137 p. 104-10 in No. 3:07-CR-66; Doc. 160 in No. 3:07-CR-66]. In the meantime, Davis had persuaded his girlfriend to move the pistol used in the robberies, but federal agents later found the weapon and recovered it [Doc. 137 p. 46-53, 63-66 in No. 3:07-CR-66].

         In 2009, a jury convicted Davis of bank robbery, two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, three counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of crimes of violence, possessing a firearm as a felon, and tampering with evidence with the intent to prevent its availability for use as evidence against him, all in violation of federal law [Doc. 100 in No. 3:07-CR-66]. Davis was sentenced to an aggregate term of 762 months' imprisonment, consisting of the consecutive statutorily mandated minimum sentences for the use-of-firearms convictions during a crime of violence (hereinafter “§ 924(c) convictions”), and 78 months' imprisonment for the other five offenses [Doc. 125 in No. 3:07-CR-66]. The Sixth Circuit affirmed Davis' convictions and sentences on appeal and denied his subsequent petition for rehearing, after which the Supreme Court denied certiorari [Docs. 149, 150, 153 in No. 3:07-CR-66].

         Thereafter, Davis filed a timely § 2255 motion containing claims concerning the buccal swabs taken from him for DNA analysis [Doc. 154 in No. 3:07-CR-66]. Specifically, Davis alleged that his attorney rendered ineffective assistance for (1) not moving to suppress all evidence on the ground that the first DNA swab was illegally obtained; (2) not presenting certain evidence and arguments regarding the swab during trial; and (3) not alleging government misconduct and “malicious prosecution” on appeal [Id. at 4-8]. He also alleged that the government prosecuted him in “bad faith” and suppressed from trial evidence of the first swab, which was allegedly favorable to the defense [Id. at 8]. The Government responded in opposition to the motion [Doc. 160 in No. 3:07-CR-66]. Davis submitted a reply to the Government's response [Doc. 163 in No. 3:07-CR-66]. On July 27, 2017, this Court denied Davis' motion, determining that he was not entitled to § 2255 relief and finding that no evidentiary hearing was necessary [Docs. 175, 176 in No. 3:07-CR-66].

         On or about August 25, 2017, Davis filed a motion to alter or amend judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) [Doc. 4]. In his Rule 59 motion, Davis alleges that the Court erred by denying his § 2255 motion, but he also seeks to litigate several new issues for the first time - specifically, whether his § 924(c) convictions were invalidated by Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) and Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), and whether his sentence for the “underlying offenses” was invalidated by Dean v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 1170 (2017). Davis also filed concomitant motions to compel evidence, to indict government officials, and to appoint counsel [Docs. 5, 8, 15, 16]. In the meantime, Davis also filed a notice of appeal from the denial of his § 2255 motion, which is being held in abeyance pending resolution of Davis' Rule 59 motion [Doc. 10; see also Docs. 186, 191 in No. 3:07-CR-66].

         II. MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND

         Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a petitioner to move to alter or amend a judgment within twenty-eight days after entry of the judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). Such a motion may only be granted “to correct a clear error of law; to account for newly discovered evidence or an intervening change in the controlling law; or to otherwise prevent manifest injustice.” Volunteer Energy Servs., Inc. v. Option Energy, LLC, 579 Fed.Appx. 319, 330 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting Doran v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 467 Fed.Appx. 446, 448 (6th Cir. 2012)). A Rule 59 motion may not be used to relitigate issues out of dissatisfaction with the Court's initial ruling, nor may it be used to offer a new, independent basis for a criminal defendant to challenge his sentence. See, e.g., Howard v. United States, 533 F.3d 472, 475 (6th Cir. 2008) (explaining that Rule 59(e) “allows for reconsideration; it does not permit parties to effectively ‘reargue a case'”); see also Nat'l Ecological Found. v. Alexander, 496 F.3d 466, 477 (6th Cir. 2007) (noting “Rule 59(e) motions ‘are aimed at reconsideration, not initial consideration'”) (citation omitted).

         A. Davis' challenges to the Court's conclusions

         Davis alleges four discrete errors in this Court's denial of his § 2255 motion. In his first two claims of error, he contests the accuracy of this Court's statements that “the Supreme Court . . . has not addressed whether DNA samples obtained from grand jury subpoenas are permissible, ” and that “analysis of the first swab had not been completed before the Government obtained the warrant and the second swab” [Doc. 4 p. 3]. Next, he faults the Court for not conducting an evidentiary hearing and for not requiring the Government to produce the grand jury subpoena for the initial buccal swab [Id. at 4].

         First, Davis has not shown any error in the Court's statement that “the Supreme Court. . . has not addressed whether DNA samples obtained from grand jury subpoenas are permissible, ” as he has failed to identify a Supreme Court case involving the factual scenario addressed by the Court. [Doc. 175 p. 5 in No. 3:07-CR-66]. Rather, he only argues that the Fourth Amendment demands that evidence from warrantless searches not falling under an exception to the warrant requirement usually be excluded [Doc. 4 p. 11-13]. His arguments have no bearing on the question posed in this case, however. Because the initial buccal swab was not precluded by controlling precedent at the time, suppression of the evidence would not have been required even if the swab had been illegally obtained. See United States v. Master, 614 F.3d 236, 242 (6th Cir. 2010) (finding “the decision to exclude evidence is divorced from whether a Fourth Amendment violation occurred”). Accordingly, this claim fails to warrant reconsideration of the Court's judgment.

         Next, Davis disputes the Court's factual finding that “analysis of the first swab had not been completed before the Government obtained the warrant and second swab” [Doc. 4 p. 3]. According to Davis, this conclusion was erroneous, because an FBI report indicated that “preliminary results” from the initial buccal swab were “back from the laboratory” at the time the second buccal swab was taken from him [Doc. 4 p. 13-14]. However, the report's use of “preliminary” confirms the Court's conclusion that analysis was not yet complete. Indeed, the FBI laboratory did not issue a report regarding analysis of the first swab until July 31, 2017, nine days after the second buccal swab had been obtained from Davis [See, e.g., Doc. 15 p. 8-11]. Therefore, this claim offers no basis for relief under Rule 59(e).

         Third, Davis has not demonstrated that an evidentiary hearing was necessary in this case, and therefore, he cannot prove that the Court erred by not conducting one. The claims in his § 2255 motion do not involve disputed facts; they involve disputes about the legal significance of undisputed facts. See, e.g., Valentine v. United States, 488 F.3d 325, 333 (6th Cir. 2007) (holding hearing required to resolve factual dispute). Moreover, the Court found that the record conclusively showed that Davis was not entitled to relief, and therefore, no hearing was necessary. See Arredondo v. United States, 178 F.3d 778, 782 ...


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