United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION
LINDSAY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is Patrick Henry Murphy's (“Murphy”
or “Petitioner”) Motion to Alter or Amend this
Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order Denying Relief on
Murphy's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 121),
filed April 27, 2017. Lorie Davis (“Davis” or
“Respondent”) has filed a response in opposition
to the motion (Doc. 122), to which Murphy has filed a reply
(Doc. 123). The court denies the motion, as
it properly addressed the arguments Murphy presented in his
pleadings, and his new arguments do not warrant relief from
59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a court
“to rectify its own mistakes in the period immediately
following entry of judgment.” White v. New
Hampshire Dep't of Emp't Sec., 455 U.S. 445, 450
(1982). Although district courts have discretion as to
whether to reopen a case under Rule 59(e),
“[r]econsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly.”
Templet v. HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th
Cir. 2004) (citing Clancy v. Employers Health Ins.
Co., 101 F.Supp.2d 463, 465 (E.D. La. 2000)).
“A motion to alter or amend the judgment under Rule
59(e) ‘must clearly establish either a manifest error
of law or fact or must present newly discovered evidence'
and ‘cannot be used to raise arguments which could, and
should, have been made before the judgment issued.'
” Rosenzweig [v. Azurix Corp., 332 F.3d 854,
863-64 (quoting Simon v. United States, 891 F.2d
1154, 1159 (5th Cir.1990)]. Relief under Rule 59(e) is also
appropriate when there has been an intervening change in the
controlling law. See In re Benjamin Moore & Co.,
318 F.3d 626, 629 (5th Cir.2002).
Schiller v. Physicians Res. Grp. Inc., 342 F.3d 563,
567-68 (5th Cir. 2003) (footnote omitted).
determining whether to grant Rule 59 relief, the Fifth
Circuit has set forth a balancing test between “two
important judicial imperatives relating to such a motion: 1)
the need to bring litigation to an end; and 2) the need to
render just decisions on the basis of all the facts. The task
for the district court is to strike the proper balance
between these competing interests.” Templet,
367 F.3d at 479 (citations omitted).
district court, however, has no jurisdiction to consider a
successive habeas petition, even if it is couched as a motion
filed under Rule 59, unless the petitioner first obtains the
required authorization from the court of appeals. A motion to
reopen under Rule 59 is considered a successive habeas
petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b) when it raises a
claim that was or could have been raised in the petition.
See Hardemon v. Quarterman, 516 F.3d 272, 275 (5th
determining whether a motion to reopen under Rule 59(e) is
actually an impermissible successive habeas petition, this
Circuit applies the same framework of Gonzalez v.
Crosby, 545 U.S. 524 (2005), that is used to determine
whether a motion to reopen under Rule 60(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure is a second or successive habeas
petition, and, thus, subject to the AEDPA's additional
jurisdictional requirements. See Williams v. Thaler,
602 F.3d 291, 304 (5th Cir. 2010).
In most cases, determining whether a Rule 60(b) motion
advances one or more “claims” will be relatively
simple. A motion that seeks to add a new ground for relief .
. . will of course qualify. A motion can also be said to
bring a “claim” if it attacks the federal
court's previous resolution of a claim on the
merits, since alleging that the court erred in
denying habeas relief on the merits is effectively
indistinguishable from alleging that the movant is, under the
substantive provisions of the statutes, entitled to habeas
relief. That is not the case, however, when a Rule 60(b)
motion attacks, not the substance of the federal court's
resolution of a claim on the merits, but some defect in the
integrity of the federal habeas proceedings.
Gonzalez, 545 U.S. at 532 (emphasis in original)
(footnotes omitted). “More specifically, a petitioner
does not make a habeas corpus claim ‘when he merely
asserts that a previous ruling which precluded a merits
determination was in error-for example, a denial for such
reasons as failure to exhaust, procedural default, or
statute-of-limitations bar.'” Williams,
602 F.3d at 305 (quoting Gonzalez, 545 U.S. at 532
motion makes a slightly different claim than that presented
in the petition by asserting that the state court did not
require the state to elect which theory of capital murder to
convict, but it is not different enough to constitute a
successive petition that would be beyond the jurisdiction of
this court. This court properly denied this claim as
procedurally barred because it was not presented on direct
appeal. Alternatively, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
(“CCA”) correctly denied the claim on direct
appeal because Murphy complained only about the conviction
and not the death sentence. Further a complaint under
Enmund v. Florida, 458 U.S. 782 (1982), against the
punishment phase instructions that included a special issue
in satisfaction of the Enmund requirement would lack