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Banister v. Davis
Brief of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: A Rule 59 motion is "part and parcel" of a habeas petitioner's "one full opportunity" to litigate a first federal habeas petition. The Fifth Circuit's rule leads to inefficient judicial administration of habeas petitions and unfair results for habeas petitioners. Rule 59 motions allow district courts to correct their own errors before judgment becomes final, thus avoiding unnecessary reversals and unfair results. Rule 59 motions also allow district courts to clarify their own orders even where they continue to deny relief, thus avoiding unnecessary remands. Eliminating Rule 59 motions would create additional burdens for the court of appeals. Recharacterizing Rule 59 motions as unauthorized second or successive petitions would deprive many petitioners of the opportunity to appeal in their first federal habeas proceedings.