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Teague v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

August 5, 2019

ANTHONY DAVID TEAGUE Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY FILING RESTRICTIONS SHOULD NOT BE IMPOSED

          ROBERT C. BRACK, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court, sua sponte under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 2255, upon Movant Anthony David Teague's second Motion for Relief From Judgment or Order. (CV 07-0326 RB/LCS (hereafter “CV”) Doc. 24.) Teague's Motion for Relief From Judgment is a successive motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 filed without authorization from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and the Court will dismiss the Motion for lack of jurisdiction. The Court will also order Movant Teague to show cause why filing restrictions should not be imposed based on his lengthy and abusive filing history.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Anthony David Teague was sentenced by this Court to 21 months imprisonment on March 26, 2004, for Threat to Injure a Person Through Interstate Commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(c). (CR 03-1133 RB (hereafter “CR”) Doc. 61.) Teague filed a direct appeal of his conviction and sentence on April 2, 2004. (CR Doc. 63.) One of the issues raised in Teague's direct appeal was claimed error in the jury instruction on the elements of the crime. The Tenth Circuit rejected Teague's argument and affirmed his conviction and sentence on May 15, 2006. (CR Doc. 72 at 21-25.)

         Teague filed his first motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 attacking the conviction and sentence in his criminal case on March 30, 2007. (CR Doc. 74.) This case was opened as a companion civil case, No. CV 07-0326 RB/LCS (CV Doc. 1.) In his first § 2255 motion, Teague raised the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel but chose not to include the jury instruction question as part of his challenge to his conviction. (CR Doc. 74 at 4.) United States Magistrate Judge Leslie C. Smith entered Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition (“PFRD”), concluding that Teague was not entitled to relief on his § 2255 claims, including his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. (CV Doc. 14.) The undersigned adopted Judge Smith's PFRD, dismissed the Motion with prejudice, and entered Judgment against him on August 16, 2007. (CV Docs. 16; 17; CR Doc. 81.)

         After he finished his sentence, but while incarcerated on Texas state criminal charges in Texas, Teague then filed a Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis on July 25, 2016. (CR Doc. 82.) Teague sought to have his conviction in CR 03-1133 set aside because it was allegedly being used to improperly enhance his Texas state sentence. (See id.) Teague expressly raised the argument that his counsel was ineffective for failing to properly object to the jury instruction on the elements of the crime. (Id. at 1-2.) United States Magistrate Judge William P. Lynch issued Proposed Findings and a Recommended Decision (“PFRD”) on August 25, 2017, rejecting Teague's contentions regarding the jury instruction and recommending that Teague's Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis be denied with prejudice. (CR Doc. 130 at 3-5.) The undersigned adopted the PFRD and denied the Petition with prejudice on October 27, 2017. (CR Doc. 134.)

         Teague filed a second Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody on December 26, 2017. (CR Doc. 138.) In his Motion, Teague again attacked his now-completed sentence in CR 03-1133, contending that it is being used to improperly enhance his Texas state sentence. (Id. at 11.) Once again, Teague claimed that his counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the jury instruction. (Id. at 13-14.) The Court determined that Teague's Motion constituted a second or successive § 2255 and was filed in violation of 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244 and 2255. (CR Doc. 141.)

         On April 28, 2018, Teague then filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, again attacking use of the conviction and sentence in CR 03-1133 to enhance his Texas state court sentence. (CV 18-0635 Doc. 1.)[1] The Southern District determined that, because Teague is incarcerated in Beeville, Texas, the case should be transferred to the district of incarceration. The Southern District of Texas transferred the case to the Eastern District of Texas. (CV 18-0635 Doc. 5.) The Eastern District of Texas entered an order concluding that because Teague seeks to be relieved of the federal court sentence imposed in CR 03-1133, his Petition should be construed as a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and should be transferred to the court that imposed the sentence. (CV 18-0635 Doc. 14.) The Eastern District of Texas then transferred Teague's Petition to this Court as the sentencing Court. (CV 18-0635 Doc. 14.)

         Teague did not object to the transfer of the case to this District, nor did he challenge the Eastern District of Texas's characterization of his filing as a § 2255 motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence. This Court determined that Teague would not be able to obtain any relief under § 2241 because he is not incarcerated in this District, declined to reconsider the characterization of the Petition as a § 2255 motion, and dismissed the Petition as a second or successive § 2255 filing filed without Tenth Circuit authorization pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). (CV 18-0635 Docs. 17; 18.)

         Teague then filed his first Motion for Relief From a Judgment or Order “pursuant to Rule 60(b) of Fed. R. Civ. P.” in this case on August 16, 2018. (CV Doc. 18 at 1; CR Doc. 144 at 1.) As in his prior filings, Teague claimed error in connection with the jury instruction and that his conviction in CR 03-1133 is being wrongfully used to enhance his Texas state criminal sentence. (CV Doc. 18 at 1-2; CR Doc. 144 at 1-2.) Teague's Motion for Relief did not specify any basis for setting aside the Court's prior order denying him § 2255 relief but, instead, claimed that the underlying judgment of conviction in his criminal case was the result of denial of “his right to the effective assistance of counsel when his trial attorney failed to object to erroneous jury instructions or failed to request proper jury instructions regarding the mens rea element of the offense as well as a ‘reasonable person' element.” (CV Doc. 18 at 1; CR Doc. 144 at 1.) Teague “assert[ed] that his is not a successive § 2255 motion but is cognizable as a due process constitutional violation regarding his current sentence.” (CV Doc. 18 at 1; CR Doc. 144 at 1.) Teague asked the Court to “grant relief by reversing the Court's previous order denying § 2255 relief and vacate his unconstitutional prior judgment of conviction on the criminal case. (CV Doc. 18 at 2; CR Doc. 144 at 2.) This Court construed Teague's Rule 60(b) motion as a successive § 2255 collateral attack on his conviction and sentence, filed without Tenth Circuit authorization, and dismissed the motion for lack of jurisdiction. (CV Doc. 22; CR Doc. 147.)

         Without acknowledging the Court's prior dismissal of his first motion, Teague has now filed what he acknowledges to be a second Rule 60(b) motion. (CV Docs. 24; 25.) Teague argues that his second Motion is a “true” Rule 60(b) motion that challenges a defect in the prior § 2255 proceedings. Teague claims that, if the Court had appointed counsel to represent him in connection with his 2007 Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence, counsel would have raised his jury instruction arguments and that would have resulted in setting aside his “illegal” conviction under §2255. (CV Doc. 24 at 1.)

         TEAGUE'S SECOND RULE 60(b) MOTION IS A SUCCESSIVE § 2255 MOTION TO VACATE HIS CONVICTION

         Once again, as a threshold matter, the Court must determine whether his second Motion For Relief From Judgment is a “true” Rule 60(b) motion or, instead, a second or successive § 2255 motion. See Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 537 (2005); Spitznas v. Boone, 464 F.3d 1213, 1215 (10th Cir. 2006). Under Gonzalez, a 60(b) motion is a second or successive petition if it in substance or effect asserts or reasserts a federal basis for relief from the petitioner's underlying conviction or sentence. See 545 U.S. at 537. Conversely, it is a “true” 60(b) motion if it either (1) challenges only a procedural ruling of the court which precluded a merits determination of the § 2255 motion or (2) challenges a defect in the integrity of the § 2255 proceeding, provided that such a challenge does not itself lead inextricably to a merits-based attack on the disposition of a prior petition. Id. at 532, 541. A Rule 60(b) motion that asserts or reasserts a federal basis for relief from the underlying conviction or sentence should be treated as second or successive habeas petition. id. at 530.

         The Court determines that Teague's second Motion For Relief should be considered a second or successive § 2255 motion because it challenges the merits of his underlying criminal sentencing, not a defect in the original § 2255 proceeding. See Spitznas, 464 F.3d at 1215. Teague was aware of the jury instruction issue at the time he filed his first ยง 2255 proceeding, but he chose not to raise it as part of his ineffective assistance of counsel argument. (CR Doc. 30 at 3-5.) His contention that the 2007 proceeding was defective because, if the Court had appointed counsel, counsel would have undoubtedly raised the issue for him, is no more than an attempt to circumvent the Court's dismissal of his first 60(b) motion. The substance of his second 60(b) ...


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