United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
E. KOBAYASHI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
On May 17, 2012, Defendant Simeta E. Taulua, Jr.
(“Taulua”) was sentenced to 235 months of
imprisonment and five years of supervised release for one
count of conspiracy to distribute, and possess with intent to
distribute, fifty grams or more of methamphetamine. [Minutes,
filed 5/17/12 (dkt. no. 172); Judgment in a Criminal Case,
filed 5/21/12 (dkt. no. 175).] On August 24, 2015, Taulua
filed a Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set
Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody
(“§ 2255 Motion”). [Dkt. no. 229.] The §
2255 Motion was denied on January 26, 2016 (“1/26/16
§ 2255 Order”). [Dkt. no. 240.] On March 7, 2016,
Taulua filed a motion for reconsideration of the 1/26/16
§ 2255 Order. [Dkt. no. 244.] The motion for
reconsideration was denied on May 9, 2016 (“5/9/16
Reconsideration Order”). [Dkt. no. 255.]
November 21, 2017, Taulua filed a “Motion for Leave to
File an Amended 2255 Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c); in the
Alternative for Relief from a Final Order(s) Pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)” (“11/21/17 Motion”).
[Dkt. no. 293.] On December 18, 2017, Taulua filed a
“Motion for Relief from a Final Order Pursuant to Rule
60(b)(6) and Motion for Leave to File an Amended 2255
Pursuant to Rule 15(c)(1)” (“12/18/17
Motion”). [Dkt. no. 294.] On December 26, 2017, this
Court issued an entering order (“12/26/17 EO”)
that: 1) construed the 11/21/17 Motion and the 12/18/17
Motion as motions for certification of a second or successive
28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion; and 2) transmitted the motions
to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. [Dkt. no. 295.] In so
construing the 11/21/17 Motion and the 12/18/17 Motion
(collectively “the Motions”), this Court
implicitly concluded that the Motions did not allege: 1) any
factual or legal basis supporting his request to amend his
August 24, 2015 § 2255 Motion; or 2) any ground that, if
proven, would warrant Rule 60(b) relief from the 1/26/16
§ 2255 Order and the 5/9/16 Reconsideration Order.
Instead, the Motions are attempts to challenge Taulua's
underlying conviction and sentence. Thus, to the extent the
Motions sought to amend Taulua's § 2255 Motion or to
obtain relief from the 1/26/16 § 2255 Order and the
5/9/16 Reconsideration Order, the Motions were denied.
January 16, 2018, Taulua failed a Notice of Appeal from the
12/26/17 EO. [Dkt. no. 295.] On January 30, 2018, the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals issued an Order remanding the case
to this district court to determine whether a certificate of
appealability should be issued for the appeal. [Dkt. no. 299
determining whether Taulua is entitled to a certificate of
appealability as to the 12/26/17 EO, this Court looks to the
standard to issue a certificate of appealability from the
denial of a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion.
In dismissing a § 2255 motion, the court must also
address whether [defendant/petitioner] should be granted a
certificate of appealability (“COA”).
See R. 11(a), Rules Governing Section 2255
Proceedings (providing that “[t]he district court must
issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a
final order adverse to the applicant”). A COA may issue
only if the petitioner “has made a substantial showing
of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C.
“The standard for a certificate of appealability is
lenient.” Hayward v. Marshall, 603 F.3d 546,
553 (9th Cir. 2010) (en banc), overruled on other grounds
by Swarthout v. Cooke, 562 U.S. 216 (2011). The
petitioner is required to demonstrate only “that
reasonable jurists could debate the district court's
resolution or that the issues are adequate to deserve
encouragement to proceed further.” Id.
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). The standard
“requires something more than the absence of frivolity,
but something less than a merits determination.”
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
The court carefully reviewed [the defendant/petitioner's]
assertions and gave him every benefit by liberally construing
them. Based on the above analysis the court finds that
reasonable jurists could not find the court's rulings
Leon v. United States, Civ. No. 15-00099 JMS-BMK,
2015 WL 3965895, at *9-10 (some alterations in
Court FINDS that reasonable jurists would not find that its
rulings in the 12/26/17 EO are debatable. This Court
therefore DENIES the issuance of a certificate of
appealability as to the 12/26/17 EO.
Court DIRECTS the Clerk's Office to transmit a copy of
this Order to the Ninth Circuit.