146 F.3d 345 (6th Cir. 1998), 96-6496, Reynolds v. Berry

Docket Nº:96-6496.
Citation:146 F.3d 345
Party Name:Michael REYNOLDS, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Steve BERRY, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.
Case Date:June 04, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 345

146 F.3d 345 (6th Cir. 1998)

Michael REYNOLDS, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

Steve BERRY, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 96-6496.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

June 4, 1998

Argued April 21, 1998.

Joseph Ray Myers (argued and briefed), Kentucky Resource Center, Department of Public Advocacy, Frankfort, KY, for Petitioner-Appellant.

David A. Sexton, Assistant Attorney General (argued), Todd D. Ferguson (briefed), Office of the Attorney General, Civil Division, Frankfort, KY, for Respondent-Appellee.

Before: RYAN, DAUGHTREY, and LAY, [*] Circuit Judges.

OPINION

LAY, Circuit Judge.

In 1979, the State of Kentucky convicted Michael Reynolds of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced him to twenty years in prison. The Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed Reynolds' conviction. See Reynolds v. Commonwealth, 596 S.W.2d 372 (Ky. 1979). On August 18, 1980, Reynolds moved to compel the trial court to provide the factual contents of his presentence investigation

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report as required by Kentucky Revised Statutes § 532.050. Thereafter, the State and Reynolds' legal advisor met and corrected several errors of the pretrial sentence report. The trial court's failure to comply with § 532.050 made it mandatory for the court to resentence Reynolds and enter a new judgment. The court resentenced Reynolds to twenty years imprisonment.

Subsequently, on November 14, 1980, Reynolds filed a motion to vacate his sentence and judgment pursuant to Kentucky Rule of Criminal Procedure 11.42 ("Rule 11.42"), 1 alleging the State violated his constitutional rights during his original trial. 2 In December 1980, the state trial court denied Reynolds' motion without holding an evidentiary hearing, concluding he had already filed and been granted an earlier motion to vacate his sentence, and he had already filed a direct appeal on his conviction, which the Kentucky Supreme Court fully reviewed and upheld. See J.A. at 69 (reprinting state trial court's order denying Reynolds' November 14, 1980 motion to vacate his sentence). Reynolds appealed. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed, see Reynolds v. Commonwealth, No. 81-CA-553-MR (Ky.Ct.App. Sept. 25, 1981), and the Kentucky Supreme Court denied review. See Reynolds v. Commonwealth, No. 81-SC-745-D (Ky. Dec. 8, 1981).

More than ten years later, Reynolds filed another motion to vacate his sentence and judgment pursuant to Rule 11.42. On November 8, 1991, the trial court denied the motion, stating Reynolds' trial attorney was unavailable to answer or respond to the numerous trial related issues Reynolds framed, and the passage of time from the date of trial to the date of the motion was such as to bar meaningful review of the issues. See J.A. at 107-108 (reprinting state trial court's order denying Reynolds' 1991 Rule 11.42 motion to vacate judgment). Reynolds appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed the trial court's decision. See Reynolds v. Commonwealth, No. 91-CA-2722-MR (Ky.Ct.App. July 3, 1992). This time, however, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals. On January 14, 1993, the supreme court reversed and remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing on Reynolds' Rule 11.42 motion. See Reynolds v. Commonwealth, No. 92-SC-591-D (Ky. Jan. 14, 1993).

In the meantime, on April 8, 1993, Reynolds filed a supplemental Rule 11.42 motion, which the State considered to be a third Rule 11.42 motion. The trial court denied this third motion as successive. Reynolds appealed the denial of his motion and the denial of an evidentiary hearing on his motion to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The court of appeals affirmed. See Reynolds v. Commonwealth, No. 93-CA-1464-MR (Ky.Ct.App. Dec. 23, 1994). 3 Reynolds appealed to the

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Kentucky Supreme Court, seeking discretionary review as well as an order directing the trial court to comply with the Kentucky Supreme Court's January 14, 1993 order, which had directed the trial court to conduct an evidentiary hearing on Reynolds' second Rule 11.42 motion. On May 10, 1995, the Kentucky Supreme Court denied Reynolds' requests. See Reynolds v. Commonwealth, No. 95-SC-45-D (Ky. May 10, 1995).

On October 24, 1994, Reynolds filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The district court referred the matter to a federal magistrate judge who recommended dismissal of Reynolds' petition on the ground that Reynolds had not yet exhausted his state remedies. The district court dismissed Reynolds' petition, concluding the Kentucky Supreme Court should have an opportunity to respond to Reynolds' request for enforcement of the Kentucky Supreme Court's January 14, 1993 ruling before a federal court reviewed Reynolds' claim in a habeas corpus proceeding. See Reynolds v. Berry, No. 94-404 (E.D.Ky. Apr. 7, 1995). Reynolds appealed to this court. In August 1995, the Sixth Circuit concluded Reynolds had effectively exhausted his state remedies, dismissed his appeal, and remanded his case to the district court for further proceedings. See Reynolds v. Berry, No. 95-5625 (6th...

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