United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
RICHARD L. VOORHEES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court upon Petitioner's pro
se “Motion for Reconsideration of Judgment Entered
Denying Motion to Vacate Judgment for Voidness.” (Doc.
No. 4.) The Court shall consider the Motion under Rule 59(e)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
was convicted in this Court of one count of conspiracy to
possess with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of
aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute
cocaine. He was sentenced to a term of 360-months'
imprisonment and is presently serving that sentence. Judgment
was entered on April 1, 1998, see J., United
States v. Dudley, 5:97-cr-00001-RLV-1 (W.D. N.C. ), Doc.
No. 67, and affirmed on appeal, United States v.
Dudley, 165 F.3d 20, 1998 WL 756911 (4th Cir. 1998)
(unpublished Table decision).
September 27, 1999, Petitioner filed a § 2255 motion to
vacate which the Court denied on the merits. See
Mar. 27, 2002 Order, Dudley v. United States,
5:99-cv-00152-RLV (W.D. N.C. ), Doc. No. 24. Petitioner's
appeal was dismissed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Dudley v. United States, 46 F. App'x 188 (4th
Cir. 2002) (unpublished). Since then, Petitioner has filed
numerous § 2255 motions to vacate that this Court has
dismissed as unauthorized, successive § 2255 motions
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). See
5:13-cv-00132-RLV; 5:13-cv-00161-RLV; 5:14-cv-00028-RLV;
5:14-cv-00043-RLV; 5:14-cv-00057-RLV; 5:14-cv-00073-RLV;
5:14-cv-00104-RLV; 5:14-cv-00180-RLV; 5:15-cv-00091-RLV.
23, 2017, Petitioner filed another § 2255 attacking the
validity of his 1998 judgment. (Doc. No. 1.) Petitioner
contends that the district court did not have jurisdiction to
accept his guilty plea and should have ordered a jury trial.
(§ 2255 Mot. 2-3, Doc. No. 1.) On August 2, 2017, this
Court dismissed the Motion without prejudice as an
unauthorized, successive habeas motion under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2244(b)(3)(A), 2255(h). (Doc. No. 2.) Petitioner
filed the instant motion to reconsider on August 14, 2017.
(Mot. to Reconsider 8, Doc. No. 4.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
district court “has the discretion to grant a Rule
59(e) motion only in very narrow circumstances: ‘(1) to
accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to
account for new evidence not available at trial; or (3) to
correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest
injustice.'” Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d
701, 708 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Collison v. Int'l
Chem. Workers Union, 34 F.3d 233, 236 (4th Cir. 1994)).
“Rule 59(e) motions may not be used to make arguments
that could have been made before the judgment was
entered.” Hill, 277 F.3d at 708.
does not seek reconsideration to accommodate an intervening
change in controlling law or to account for new evidence not
available at trial. Instead, he seeks reconsideration
“to correct a clear error of law or to prevent manifest
injustice.” See id. Specifically, Petitioner
contends the Court erred in concluding that it does not have
jurisdiction to consider his unauthorized, successive motion
to vacate. (Mot. to Reconsider 2) (“The District court
operated under an erroneous presumption of applicable law and
procedure thereby concluding that . . . it lacked subject
matter jurisdiction over . . . petitioners original pleadings
that, [when viewed through a more forgiving lens] is
indistinguishable from challenges to the courts exercise of
subject matter jurisdiction to enter [a] judgment.”).
According to Plaintiff, a district court has the inherent
authority to determine, after the fact, whether it had
subject matter jurisdiction to enter a criminal judgment.
(Mot. to Reconsider 2) (citing United States v.
Ruiz, 536 U.S. 622, 628 (2002) (“[A] federal court
always has jurisdiction to determine its own
jurisdiction.”)) This argument represents a
misunderstanding of the district court's jurisdiction
over a collateral attack brought by way of a 28 U.S.C. §
2255 Motion to Vacate.
district court's jurisdiction to consider claims raised
in a § 2255 motion is defined by statute. For example,
§ 2255 provides in relevant part that:
A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established
by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the
ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court
was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the
sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or
is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court
which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Thus, a district court's
jurisdiction is limited under § 2255 to consideration of
claims that fall within the parameters outlined above.
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
restricted the jurisdiction of the district courts to hear
second or successive applications for federal habeas corpus
relief by establishing a “‘gatekeeping'
mechanism.” Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651,
657 (1996). As has been explained to Petitioner numerous
times, “[b]efore a second or successive application
permitted by this section is filed in the district court, the
applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for
an order authorizing the district court to consider the
application.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A); see
also § 2255(h). Accordingly, this Court lacks
jurisdiction to entertain a successive § 2255 motion
from Petitioner ...