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United States v. Smith Williams

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 11, 2019

United States of America, Respondent-Plaintiff,
Jermaine Reggie Smith Williams, a/k/a Corey Young, a/k/a Midnight, Petitioner-Defendant.

          Jermaine Reggie Smith Williams, Petitioner-Defendant, Pro Se.

          Benjamin Bejar, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, counsel for the Government.




         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner-Defendant Jermaine Reggie Smith Williams' (“Petitioner-Defendant”) self-styled pro se motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). (Doc. No. 101.) The United States of America (the “Government”) opposes Petitioner-Defendant's motion. (Doc. No. 110.)

         Petitioner-Defendant seeks an order altering or amending the Court's denial of his previous motion to set aside judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3) as well as his motion for discovery and his first motion for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The Government notes that Petitioner-Defendant's most recent submissions constitute his seventh substantive post-conviction pleading and argues that his motion should be dismissed without issuance of a certificate of appealability because it amounts to an unauthorized successive § 2255 motion and Petitioner-Defendant's claims lack merit. Petitioner-Defendant augments his claim with additional argument regarding the Supreme Court's recent Rehaif decision in his reply to the Government's response. (Doc. No. 111.)

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court respectfully denies Petitioner-Defendant's motion.


         The Court examined the factual background and procedural history at length in previous orders and these are incorporated herein by reference. (Doc. Nos. 84, 99.)

         On May 1, 2017, Petitioner-Defendant was convicted of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2) and sentenced to a term of 70 months' imprisonment pursuant to his plea of guilty to Count 1 of a two-count indictment. (Doc. No. 56 at 1-2.) Pertinent here, he admitted and agreed both in the plea agreement that he signed and when he pled guilty that he knew he was legally prohibited from possessing a firearm at the time of his offense due to his convicted felon status, that he knowingly and voluntarily possessed a firearm, and that he knew he violated the law by doing so. (Doc. No. 36 ¶ 2(f)-(h); Doc. No. 77 at 27-29.)

         Petitioner-Defendant did not file an appeal of his conviction or sentence. He did, however, file a timely § 2255 motion, which the Government opposed. (Doc. Nos. 64, 66.) Petitioner-Defendant filed additional motions, including motions to amend his habeas petition that were granted. (Doc. Nos. 70-72, 75.) Petitioner-Defendant's motion for relief under § 2255 was denied, and no certificate of appealability (“COA”) was issued. (Doc. No. 84.) The Court rejected Petitioner-Defendant's arguments as to the calculation and application of the Guidelines, the alleged ineffectiveness of his trial counsel, his underlying convictions, and his justifications for discovery. (Id.) The Court concluded that Petitioner-Defendant's assertions were “entirely contrary to the record before this Court and contrary to Petitioner-Defendant's own behavior at all stages of this case.” (Id. at 13.) The Court also construed Petitioner-Defendant's then-pending “Supplemental/Amended” § 2255 motion to be a successive § 2255 motion because it asserted new claims of ineffective counsel that did not relate back to his initial motion. Thus, it was barred. (Id. at 14.)

         Most recently, the Court denied Petitioner-Defendant's pro se motions to set aside judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3) and (6) and for discovery under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 (Doc. Nos. 86, 95) were denied. (Doc. No. 99.) The Court concluded that no evidentiary hearing was required and declined to issue a COA. (Id. at 9-10.)


         Petitioner-Defendant once again attempts to relitigate his previous motions, arguing that after his motions were denied, he “obtained information that directly contradicted the affidavit filed” by his former counsel, and further, that his former attorney's actions show that this attorney “has taken sides with the Government sufficient to be made an adverse party.” (Doc. No. 101 at 4, 5.) Petitioner-Defendant asserts that his latest motions should have been construed as amendments to his original § 2255 petition, and that the Court abused its discretion both by denying him yet another amended petition under Fed. R. Civ. 15(a) or (c) and by shirking its obligations to hear and decide his amended petition and to instruct him how to conform with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id. at 6.) For these reasons, he argues, he is entitled to have these “manifest errors of law” corrected pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e). (Id. at 2.)

         The Government argues that Petitioner-Defendant's motion is untimely under Rule 59(e), but even if timely filed, Petitioner-Defendant's motion would fail because it does not describe a situation rising to the level of the “extraordinary circumstances” under which such relief can be granted. (Doc. No. 110 at 5.)

         I. ...

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