United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett, United States District Judge.
February 5, 2010, pro se Petitioner Scott Wilson
("Petitioner" or "Wilson") pled guilty to
arson in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i) after burning
down his business, fleeing from the scene, and threatening
potential Government witnesses. (ECF Nos. 37 & 38.) On
July 10, 2010, this Court sentenced Wilson to a term of
two-hundred and forty (240) months incarceration and three
(3) years of supervised relief. On November 4, 2011, the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
affirmed this sentence. United States v. Wilson, 452
Fed.Appx. 418 (4th Cir. 2011). On January 28, 2013,
Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct
Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which this Court
subsequently denied. (ECF Nos. 83, 122.) Now pending before
this Court are the following motions filed by Wilson: a
Motion for Clarification of Order (ECF No. 86); a Motion to
Alter or Amend Judgment (ECF No. 124); a Motion to Challenge
Jurisdiction (ECF No. 130); two Motions for an Order
dismissing without prejudice separate Motions to Challenge
Jurisdiction (ECF Nos. 131, 132); and a Motion for
Appointment of Attorney for Limited Purposes. (ECF No. 140.)
Court has reviewed Wilson's submissions and no hearing is
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For
the reasons stated below, Petitioner's Motion for
Clarification of Order (ECF No. 86) is DENIED AS
MOOT; the Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment
(ECF No. 124) is DENIED; the Motion for an Order dismissing
without prejudice the Motion to Challenge Jurisdiction (ECF
No. 131) is GRANTED, and therefore the Motion to Challenge
Jurisdiction (ECF No. 130) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE;
the Motion for an Order dismissing without prejudice a
separate, never-filed Motion to Challenge Jurisdiction (ECF
No. 132) is DENIED; and the Motion for Appointment of
Attorney for Limited Purposes (ECF No. 140) is DENIED.
facts of this case, as set forth in Petitioner's plea
agreement, were previously addressed in an Opinion of the
Fourth Circuit and this Court's prior Memorandum Opinion.
See United States v. Wilson, 452 Fed.Appx. 418,
419-20 (4th Cir. 2011); Wilson v. United States,
RDB-09-0036, RDB-13-0302, 2015 WL 1401754, at *l-2 (D. Md.
March 24, 2015). To provide context for Wilson's pending
Motions, this Court will briefly recount these facts and the
procedural posture of this case.
and his wife, Sarah Manning, ran a business at their primary
residence until her death in 2007. Wilson, 452
Fed.Appx. at 419. After her death, Wilson became embroiled in
a legal dispute with his wife's family over her estate.
Id. On October 31, 2008, shortly after the Circuit
Court for Howard County, Maryland issued a ruling adverse to
his interests in the estate, Wilson deliberately set fire to
the house. Id. When the Howard County Fire
Department responded to the fire, Wilson used his vehicle to
escape, narrowly avoiding a collision with a firefighter.
(Plea Agreement, ECF No. 37.) On December 31, 2008, he poured
screws and glass on the driveaway of Priscilla Manning Ford,
his sister-in-law, and a potential Government witness
Wilson, 452 Fed.Appx. at 419. On January 8, 2009, he
called his mother-in-law, Mary Lou Manning, and threatened to
kill her and her grandchildren. Id. He then called
John Manning, Jr., his brother-in-law, and threatened to kill
him. Id. at 420. They, too, were potential
witnesses. (ECF No. 37.)
January 9, 2009, United States Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm
of this Court issued a criminal complaint against Petitioner
for arson in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i). (ECF No.
1.) On January 22, 2009, Petitioner was indicted by a federal
grand jury for arson in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i).
(ECF No. 8.) On February 19, 2009, the grand jury returned a
Superseding Indictment charging Petitioner with one count of
arson in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i), and two counts
of obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1512. (ECF No. 12.)
February 5, 2010, Petitioner pled guilty to Count One of the
Superseding Indictment, charging him with arson in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i). (ECF No. 37.) Pursuant to the
plea agreement, Count Two and Count Three of the Superseding
Indictment were dismissed on the Government's motion.
(ECF No. 51.) On July 10, 2010, Petitioner was sentenced by
this Court to a term of two-hundred and forty (240) months
incarceration and three (3) years of supervised release. (ECF
No. 49.) Petitioner was ordered to pay $147, 247.46 in
restitution and a $100.00 special assessment. (ECF No. 49.)
Judgment on Petitioner's sentence was entered on August
4, 2010. (ECF No. 51.)
has previously advanced two unsuccessful challenges to his
sentence. On August 10, 2010, Petitioner filed a timely
Notice of Appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for
die Fourth Circuit. (ECF No. 53.) On November 4, 2011 the
Fourth Circuit affirmed the Judgment of this Court. (ECF No.
67.) On January 28, 2013, Petitioner filed a Motion to
Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, which this Court subsequendy denied. (ECF No.
83.) On April 20, 2015, Petitioner filed a Motion to Alter or
Amend Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
59(e), arguing that this Court should have held an
evidentiary hearing before ruling on the Motion.
Court recognizes that Petitioner is pro se and has
accorded his pleadings liberal construction. See Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). The Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure do not expressly recognize motions for
"reconsideration." Instead, Rule 59(e) authorizes a
district court to alter, amend, or vacate a prior judgment,
and Rule 60 provides for relief from judgment. See Katyle
v. Penn Nat'l Gaming, Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 471 n.4
(4th Cir. 2011), cert, denied, 132 S.Ct. 115 (2011).
As this Court explained in Cross v. Fleet Reserve
Ass'n Pension Plan, Civ. No. WDQ-05-0001,
2010 WL 3609530, at *2 (D. Md. Sept. 14, 2010):
A party may move to alter or amend a judgment under Rule
59(e), or for relief from a judgment under Rule 60(b).
See Fed. R, Civ. P. 59(e) & 60(b). A motion to
alter or amend filed within 28 days of the judgment is
analyzed under Rule 59(e); if the motion is filed later, Rule
60(b) controls. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e); MLC
Auto., LLC v. Town of S. Pines, 532 F.3d 269, 280 (4th
Cir. 2008); In re Burnley, 988 F.2d 1, 2-3 (4th Cir.
(footnote omitted). Here, Wilson served his Motion for
Reconsideration, expressly pursuant to Rule 59(e), by mail on
April 17, 2015. This Court entered its Order denying
Wilson's Section 2255 motion on March 24, 2015.
Therefore, Wilson's Motion was timely under Rule 59(e).
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has
repeatedly recognized that a final judgment may be amended
under Rule 59(e) in only three circumstances: (1) to
accommodate an intervening change in controlling law; (2) to
account for new evidence not available at trial; or (3) to
correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice.
See, e.g., Gagliano v. Reliance Standard Life Ins.
Co.,547 F.3d 230, 241 n.8 (4th Cir. 2008). Moreover,
"[t]he district court has considerable discretion in
deciding whether to modify or amend a judgment."
Id. Such motions do not authorize a "game of
hopscotch," in which parties switch from one legal
theory to another "like a bee in search of honey."
Cochran v. Quest Software, Inc.,328 F.3d 1, 11 (1st
Cir. 2003). In other words, a Rule 59(e) motion "may not
be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise arguments or
present evidence that could have been raised prior to entry
of judgment." Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'/ Fire
Ins. Co.,148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998) (quoting 11
Wright, et al., Federal Practice and Procedure
§ 2810.1, at 127-28 (2d ed. 1995)). Where a party
presents newly discovered evidence in support of its Rule
59(e) motion, it "must produce a legitimate
justification for not presenting the evidence during the
earlier proceeding." Id. (internal citations
and quotation marks omitted). Where a party seeks
reconsideration on the basis of manifest error, the earlier
decision cannot be '"just maybe or probably wrong;
it must... . strike us as wrong with the force of a five-week
old, unrefrigerated dead fish." TFWS, Inc. v,