United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER
N. CHATIGNY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
seeks reconsideration of the denial of his habeas petition
and his request for a certificate of appealability (ECF Nos.
84, 88). In addition, he has filed a new motion for a
certificate of appealability, which is duplicative of his
motion for reconsideration (ECF No. 89). Familiarity with the
ruling and order denying the petition is assumed.
See Ruling and Order (ECF No. 76). For reasons that
follow, the motions are denied.
standard governing motions for reconsideration is
“strict.” Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc.,
70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). “[R]econsideration
will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to
controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked . .
.” Id. “The major grounds justifying
reconsideration are an intervening change of controlling law,
the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a
clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Virgin
Atlantic Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956
F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (quotations omitted).
“[A] motion to reconsider should not be granted where
the moving party seeks solely to relitigate an issue already
decided.” Shrader, 70 F.3d at 257.
ruling denying the petition, I found that a number of
petitioner's claims are procedurally defaulted because
they were rejected in state habeas proceedings and he failed
to exhaust state remedies. See Ruling and Order, at
6 n.2, 13-14 (ECF No. 76) (citing Edwards v. Warden,
No. CV064000942, 2011 WL 2739461 (Conn. Super. Ct. May 24,
2011), aff'd sub nom. Edwards v. Comm'r of
Correction, 141 Conn.App. 430, 63 A.3d 540 (2013));
Edwards v. Warden, No. CV990423254S, 2003 WL
23191955 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 29, 2003), aff'd sub
nom. Edwards v. Comm'r of Correction, 87 Conn.App.
517, 865 A.2d 1231 (2005)). I also concluded that Courtney
Davis's recantation of the statement used to impeach
petitioner at trial, viewed in light of all the evidence,
does not provide petitioner with a credible, compelling claim
of actual innocence, which would permit his defaulted claims
to be considered on the merits. See id. at 18.
motions for reconsideration, petitioner argues that the
eyewitness testimony on which the state relied - that he bent
the victim over at the waist and shot him in the back of the
head - is undercut by blood stains on the upper shoulder,
collar and back of the jacket he was wearing at the time. He
asserts that if he shot the victim in the manner described by
the eyewitnesses, the victim's blood would not be found
at those places on the jacket. I understand him to be saying
that when Davis's recantation is viewed in light of the
exculpatory value of the jacket, the actual innocence
exception is satisfied.
record does not support petitioner's assertion that the
victim's blood was found on the jacket at the locations
he describes. The record shows that the state lab examined
the jacket prior to trial and issued a report stating that it
was unable to determine whether stains found on the jacket
contained blood. See Trial Tr., at 81-82 (quoted in
Petitioner's Request for DNA Testing (ECF No. 61, at 9));
see also Search Warrant (ECF No. 61, at 10); State
Lab Report (ECF No. 61, at 16). In light of that report, the
trial judge instructed the jury it was not permissible to
find that any blood was found on the jacket. See
Trial Tr., at 89 (quoted in Petitioner's Request for DNA
Testing (ECF No. 61, at 9). When petitioner's state
habeas counsel sought DNA testing of the jacket in 2009,
respondent's counsel informed him that the state lab had
destroyed the jacket in 2000, after petitioner's
conviction had been affirmed on direct appeal.
course of habeas proceedings in state court, petitioner made
an ineffective assistance of counsel claim predicated on his
trial counsel's failure to investigate the exculpatory
value of the jacket. The claim was rejected because it was
“based upon conjecture and speculation.” See
Edwards, 2003 WL 23191955, at *4. I agree with that
assessment. Even assuming the jacket was stained with the
victim's blood in the locations petitioner describes, it
is not apparent that blood spatter in the area of the chest,
collar and back of the jacket would tend to disprove the
account provided by the eyewitnesses. Nor is it apparent that
blood stains in those areas of the jacket would tend to
corroborate petitioner's account. “[T]he medical
examiner opined, based upon the angle of the gunshot wound to
[the victim]'s head, that the shooting could not have
occurred as described by the petitioner.”
Edwards, 2011 WL 2739461, at *9. The examiner stated
“that the gunshot wound that he observed in [the
victim]'s head could not have been caused by the victim
having the gun in his right hand and pointing it to the left
side of his head.” Id. at *7. The presence of
the victim's blood on petitioner's jacket would not
affect the medical examiner's conclusion.
2006 state habeas petition, petitioner claimed that the state
violated his right to due process by destroying the jacket.
See Amended Petition for A Writ of Habeas Corpus, at
12-13 (Count Seven), Edwards v. Warden, No.
CV06-4000942 (Conn. Super. May 18, 2009) (ECF No. 1-3, at
124-37). After a hearing, the claim was dismissed. See
id., 2011 WL 2739461, at *1. Petitioner did not appeal
the dismissal. In denying the petition, I concluded that this
claim, like a number of other claims in the 2006 petition,
could not be considered on the merits due to petitioner's
procedural default. See Ruling and Order, at 18-19.
motions for reconsideration, petitioner seems to be seeking
adjudication of this claim on the merits. He cites
California v. Trombetta, 467 U.S. 479, 489 (1984),
which requires the government to preserve evidence that is
apparently exculpatory, and Arizona v. Youngblood,
488 U.S. 51, 5758 (1988), which recognizes a due process
violation when potentially exculpatory evidence is destroyed
by the government in bad faith. However, as discussed above,
he fails to show that the actual innocence exception applies.
the motions for reconsideration are hereby denied. A
certificate of appealability will not issue.
 In his motions for reconsideration,
petitioner states that the jacket was destroyed before his
trial in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S.
83, 87 (1963). However, nothing in the record suggests that
the jacket was not available to ...