United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.
April 2, 2018, the Court issued an order granting the United
States time to supplement its response to Petitioner Russell
Charles Taylor's motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. §
2255. The United States' response asserted only that Mr.
Taylor's claims for relief were barred by waiver or
procedural default, but these arguments were contrary to the
settled law of this Circuit. Finding that additional briefing
would assist the Court in assessing the merits of Mr.
Taylor's § 2255 motion, the Court granted the United
States through June 1, 2018, to supplement its response and
Mr. Taylor 30 days thereafter to file a reply.
Taylor has moved that the Court reconsider its April 2 order,
arguing that the Court's sua sponte order
prejudices Mr. Taylor and establishes dangerous precedents
for § 2255 proceedings. Mr. Taylor asks the Court to
vacate its order allowing supplemental briefing and set this
matter for an evidentiary hearing on the merits of his §
United States has not responded to the motion.
to reconsider serve a limited function: to correct manifest
errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence.'” Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole
v. CBI Indus., 90 F.3d 1264, 1269 (7th Cir. 1996)
(quoting Keene Corp. v. Int'l Fidelity Ins., 561
F.Supp. 656, 665 (N.D. Ill. 1982)). Mr. Taylor's motion
does not satisfy either standard.
District Court has discretion to order supplemental briefing
in order to better understand a legal issue and advance the
proceedings. Practicalities make supplemental briefing
beneficial in this proceeding. Indeed, Mr. Taylor does not
ask the Court to enter judgment in his favor as a consequence
of the United States' incomplete response. Rather, he
asks the Court to move to an evidentiary hearing on the
merits of his § 2255 motion. And, in the Court's
estimation, the current level of briefing on the legal issues
present in this case do not allow the Court or the parties to
proceed efficiently to a productive evidentiary hearing.
Additionally, whereas Mr. Taylor will have an opportunity to
reply to any issues raised in the United States'
supplemental brief, the Court finds that any prejudice to Mr.
Taylor will be minimal.
Mr. Taylor's motion to reconsider, dkt. , is
denied. The United States shall continue to
have through June 1, 2018, to supplement its
response as permitted by the Court's April 2 order.
this said, Mr. Taylor has raised several well-reasoned
concerns in his motion to reconsider, and the Court wishes to
address two of them here.
the Court acknowledges that an answer to a § 2255 motion
“must address the allegations in the motion.”
Rule 5(b) of the Rules Governing § 2255 Proceedings for
the U.S. District Courts. Litigants should not view the
Court's order permitting supplemental briefing as
approving a lower standard for briefing in § 2255
actions or presume that leave to supplement will be granted
in future cases.
Mr. Taylor expresses concern that this decision will lead to
a practice of bifurcated briefing in § 2255
proceedings-first resolving questions related to waiver and
procedural default and then proceeding to the merits.
See dkt. 16 at ¶ 10. Litigants should not view
this order as establishing such a practice. An answer to a
§ 2255 motion “must address the allegations in the
motion” according to Rule 5(b) and should cover all
relevant legal issues on the merits of the action unless the
Court's show-cause order includes instructions to the
IS SO ORDERED.
See, e.g., Mirfasihi v.
Fleet Mortg., 450 F.3d 745, 751 (7th Cir. 2006)
(“the district court may use its discretion in
requesting additional briefing . . . to obtain greater
information and analyses”); King v. Marion Circuit
Court, No. 1:14-cv-01092-JMS-MJD, 2016 WL 4746890, at *3
(S.D. Ind. Sept. 13, 2016), rev'd on other
grounds, 868 F.3d 589 (7th Cir. 2017) (“At the
conclusion of the bench trial, the Court ordered the parties
to file supplemental briefs that provided legal authority
with respect to the time period for which compensatory
damages are recoverable.”); Novelty, Inc. v.
Mountain View Marketing, No. 1:07-cv-1229-SEB-JMS, 2010
WL 1490416, at *3 (S. D. Ind. Apr. 12, 2010) (“We
believe that supplemental briefing on the Motion for
Sanctions is now in order . . . .”); Robins ...