United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Evans, an inmate at the South Central Correctional Facility
in Clifton, Tennessee, filed a pro se petition for
the writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
on September 8, 2017. (Doc. No. 1.) On July 12, 2019, the
Clerk entered judgment on the merits of the petition and
dismissed this action based on the Court's Memorandum
Opinion and Order filed on July 11, 2019. (Doc. Nos. 10-12.)
August 5, 2019, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals received
Petitioner's pro se Motion for Enlargement of
the Time (Doc. No. 13) and a cover letter explaining that he
seeks an extension of time to petition the Sixth Circuit for
a certificate of appealability (COA) due to an ongoing
facility lockdown. (Doc. No. 14.) In these documents,
Petitioner reports that the lockdown began on July 2, 2019
(id. at 1), that he received this Court's order
dismissing his petition on July 15, 2019 (Doc. No. 13 at 2),
and that he needs additional time to challenge the dismissal
before the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit forwarded these
documents to the Clerk of this Court, under a cover letter
reciting that the documents were received in the Sixth
Circuit on August 5, 2019, but that they “appear more
appropriately directed to the district court.” (Doc.
No. 13 at 4.) This Court received the Sixth Circuit's
mailing on August 26, 2019.
Court construes Petitioner's Motion for Enlargement of
Time as a notice of appeal. The Federal Rules of Appellate
Procedure require that a notice of appeal in a civil case
“be filed with the district clerk within 30 days after
entry of the judgment or order appealed from.” Fed. R.
App. P. 4(a)(1)(A). Here, the Sixth Circuit received
Petitioner's Motion on August 5, 2019,  less than thirty
days after this Court dismissed his case. In addition to
being timely filed, a notice of appeal must specify the party
taking the appeal, the judgment or order being appealed, and
the court to which the appeal is taken. Fed. R. App. P.
3(c)(1). The Sixth Circuit has clarified that
“functional rather than formalistic compliance”
with Rule 3(c)(1) is all that is required, and that a
would-be appellant's timely but imperfect filing should
therefore be accepted as a notice of appeal “where no
genuine doubt exists about who is appealing, from what
judgment, to which appellate court.” Isert v. Ford
Motor Co., 461 F.3d 756, 759 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Becker v. Montgomery, 532 U.S. 757, 767 (2001)).
Isert court noted that “an extension-of-time
motion frequently will satisfy the modest requirements of
Rule 3(c).” Id. at 762. Though Isert
dealt specifically with a motion for extension of time to
file a notice of appeal, its analysis is no less applicable
to Petitioner's motion for an extension of what he
believes to be his 14-day deadline for filing a motion for
COA before the Sixth Circuit. See id. (citing
Hindes v. Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp., 137 F.3d 148, 156
(3d Cir. 1998) (“[I]f a litigant files a document,
regardless of its title, within the time for appeal under
[Rule] 4, it is effective as a notice of appeal provided that
it gives sufficient notice of the party's intent to
appeal.”)). Indeed, the Sixth Circuit has construed a
habeas petitioner's motion for a certificate of probable
cause (the predecessor of a COA) as a notice of appeal,
explaining as follows:
Although Rule 3(c) does suggest a form to be followed, there
is no magic document called a Notice of Appeal. Any document
that meets the requirements of Rule 3(c) and is filed within
the time prescribed by Rule 4(a) can function as a notice of
appeal. This is particularly important where the filing is
the work of a prisoner proceeding pro se.
McMillan v. Barksdale, 823 F.2d 981, 983 (6th Cir.
Petitioner's Motion was captioned for filing in the Sixth
Circuit and specifies that Petitioner seeks additional time
in which “to respond” to this Court's July
11, 2019 denial of his habeas corpus petition. (Doc. No. 13
at 2.) The Court finds that Petitioner has clearly
demonstrated his intent to appeal the judgment in this case
to the Sixth Circuit and has done so in a timely fashion.
the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to docket
Petitioner's Motion for Extension of the Time (Doc. No.
13) as his Notice of Appeal, and to terminate Docket Entry
Nos. 13 and 14 as pending motions.
was permitted to proceed in forma pauperis before
this Court and therefore “may proceed on appeal in
forma pauperis without further authorization.” Fed. R.
App. P. 24(a)(3). Because this Court denied a COA (Doc. No.
11), Petitioner must now obtain a COA from the Sixth Circuit
if his appeal is to be heard. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c); Fed.
R. App. P. 22(b). If Petitioner does not file an express
request for a COA before the Sixth Circuit, his Notice of
Appeal will constitute such a request. Fed. R. App. P.
Clerk of Court shall provide a copy of this Order to the