United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
MICHAEL L. JONES PETITIONER
WENDY KELLY, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction RESPONDENT
O. Hickey United States District Judge
the Court is the Report and Recommendation filed August 6,
2018, by the Honorable Barry A. Bryant, United States
Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. (ECF
No. 103). Judge Bryant recommends that Petitioner Michael L.
Jones' Motion for Reconsideration pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6) (ECF No. 99), seeking to have the Court
reconsider its Order denying Petitioner's previous Motion
for Relief from Judgment, be denied.Plaintiff has filed
objections to the Report and Recommendation. (ECF No. 108).
Plaintiff has also filed numerous other motions relating to
his Rule 60(b)(6) motion. The Court finds this matter ripe for
1996, Jones was convicted of capital murder in Hempstead
County, Arkansas, and sentenced to life imprisonment without
parole in the Arkansas Department of Correction. Jones then
directly appealed his conviction. The Arkansas Supreme Court
affirmed the conviction and sentence, holding as follows:
There is ample evidence of his guilt, and appellant does not
challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to convict him; so
we need not set out the facts in further detail. His sole
point on appeal is that Ark. Code Ann. § 5-10-101
(Supp.1995), the capital murder statute is unconstitutional
due to the “overlap” in the definitions of the
capital felony murder and first-degree felony murder. Ark.
Code Ann. § 5- 10-102 (Repl.1993) . . . .
[A]ppellant's argument has no merit. It is impossible to
avoid the use of general language in the definition of
Jones v. State, 328 Ark. 307, 308, 942 S.W.2d 851,
24, 1997, Jones filed a timely petition for post-conviction
relief pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37. The trial court
denied the petition. The Arkansas Supreme Court dismissed the
appeal because Jones failed to timely file an opening brief
in conformity with the court's abstracting requirements
despite being granted multiple extensions of time. See
Jones v. State, 1999 WL 360268 (Ark. June 3, 1999).
November 4, 1999, Jones filed his first Petition for
Habeas Corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254 in this proceeding. (ECF No. 1). Following a hearing,
this Court, denied the petition as procedurally barred. (ECF
Nos. 45, 46). Jones sought to appeal the denial of his
petition. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth
Circuit denied Jones' request for a certificate of
appealability on July 3, 2002.
August 2013, Jones attempted to file a second petition for
habeas corpus relief in this Court. On August 12,
2013, the Clerk of this Court, acting at the Court's
direction, returned the petition to Jones and directed him to
seek permission from the Eighth Circuit before filing the
second and successive petition. Jones filed his Petition for
Permission to File a Successive Habeas Petition on
February 14, 2014. In this petition, Jones indicated he
wanted to raise ineffective assistance of counsel claims
arising out of his 1996 conviction for capital murder. Some
of these claims had been previously raised and some were new.
He acknowledged his claims were procedurally defaulted but
asserted such default should be excused pursuant to
Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012), and
Trevino v. Thaler, 133 S.Ct. 1911 (2013). He
contended Martinez and Trevino created a
new rule of constitutional law which was made retroactive by
the Supreme Court. The Eighth Circuit, without addressing the
merits of his petition, denied the request for leave to file
a successive petition on July 7, 2014. See Jones v.
Hobbs, No. 14-1342 (8th Cir. 2014).
March 4, 2015, Jones filed his first motion asking this Court
for Rule 60(b)(6) relief. (ECF No. 77). The matter was
referred to Judge Bryant to make a Report and Recommendation.
Judge Bryant concluded that this Court did not have
jurisdiction because Jones' Rule 60(b)(6) motion amounted
to a demand for habeas corpus relief and Jones did
not have permission from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
to file another habeas corpus petition. (ECF No.
78). The Court adopted Judge Bryant's Report and
Recommendation. (ECF No. 83).
18, 2018, Jones filed his second Rule 60(b)(6) motion
requesting the Court reopen habeas corpus
proceedings. (ECF No. 99). This motion was also referred to
Judge Bryant to make a Report and Recommendation. After the
referral to Judge Bryant, Jones filed multiple motions
relating to his 60(b)(6) claim.
August 6, 2018, Jones filed a motion to hold his pending Rule
60(b)(6) motion in abeyance. (ECF No. 102). Jones argues that
holding this action in abeyance is necessary for him to
exhaust state law remedies. On August 14, 2018, Jones, filed
a motion requesting an extension of time to file objections
to Judge Bryant's Report and Recommendation. (ECF No.
104). On August 20, 2018, Jones filed a motion asking leave
of the Court to amend his pending Rule 60(b)(6) motion. (ECF
No. 106). That same day, Jones also filed his amended motion
for Rule 60(b)(6) relief. (ECF No. 107). Finally, on November
2, 2018, Jones filed his objections to Judge Bryant's
Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 108) and a motion
requesting leave of the Court to file a supplement to his
amended motion for Rule 60(b)(6) relief (ECF No. 109).
Bryant recommends denying Jones' Rule 60(b)(6) motion
because it amounts to a successive habeas corpus
petition filed without the Eighth Circuit's permission.
Jones has made numerous objections to Judge Bryant's
Report and Recommendation. (ECF No. 108). Jones'
objections were filed late. However, the Court fully
considers Jones' objections in deciding whether he is
entitled to Rule 60(b)(6) relief. ...