obtaining an executive pardon. Although petitioner was not convinced that an executive pardon, if obtained, would constitute the vindication she desired, Mr. Cramer prevailed upon her, arguing that her resort to the courts had thus far yielded nothing in tangible results. In fact, neither this federal habeas corpus when originally heard nor the state post-conviction proceeding had resulted in any evidentiary hearing on the merits of her claim. Executive pardon was pursued informally by Mr. Cramer, relying on his personal contacts with high public officials. Meetings with attorneys general for the state of Pennsylvania and their assistants were held during November, 1972 and April, 1973. (N.T. 47-48). After the final meeting, Mr. Cramer became convinced that an attempt to obtain an executive pardon would be futile, and he concluded that it would be necessary to return to the courts.
In June 1973, an associate of Mr. Cramer's law firm, Richard Shiro, began to assist with research and the preparation of court documents. A decision was made to file a new habeas corpus petition and a declaratory judgment action. Mr. Cramer lost the assistance of Mr. Shiro when Shiro left later that year to teach at the University of Pennsylvania
In October of 1973 one of Mr. Cramer's partners, Attorney David Creskoff, assumed a measure of responsibility for petitioner's case. Mr. Creskoff familiarized himself with the lengthy file in her case, but was required to relinquish his responsibility when he was appointed special counsel by a court in California in a complex antitrust case. (N.T. 50). Thereafter another partner, Mr. Norris Gelman, began to work with Mr. Cramer on petitioner's case. In June 1974, they unsuccessfully sought to obtain from the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas a transcript of petitioner's trial for murder. (N.T. 50-53).
Mr. Cramer's Pro bono work on petitioner's behalf continued. His testimony suggests that his work for her was time-consuming and understandably created a certain amount of concern on Mr. Cramer's part that more concentrated efforts would not be fair to his law partners. Mr. Cramer also testified that he was constantly in touch with petitioner and her advisor, Attorney Vernon. Additional research was conducted on both procedural and substantive questions and, in September of 1975, a new habeas corpus petition and a declaratory judgment were filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, raising a number of substantive objections to petitioner's conviction including the contention at issue here. (N.T. 53-61).
During the four and one-half year period of time from 1970 to 1975, the actions of petitioner showed reasonable diligence. She lacked financial resources to hire private counsel, especially of the caliber and reputation of Attorney Cramer. Mindful of her prior experiences, to have sought other counsel while Mr. Cramer was working on the case would have been unwise. Similarly, the actions of counsel, including Mr. Cramer, showed reasonable diligence under the circumstances. In the face of a difficult assignment and many other pressing professional obligations, Mr. Cramer willingly expended considerable periods of time in this matter, Pro bono, in addition to being confronted, as had earlier counsel, with litigation directed to him personally.
The pursuit of other legal remedies, i. e. executive pardon and the new habeas corpus action, was reasonably prompt under the circumstances here. See Cariola, 323 F.2d at 183. From a professional point of view, this case was not only difficult, time consuming, and with minor compensation but also appeared to have minimal chances of success. Furthermore, the reasonableness of this four and one-half year period must be judged in light of the fact that the legal work was undertaken Pro bono. It would be unjust to deny petitioner's Rule 60(b)(6) motion because legal relief may not have been pursued as vigorously as might have been expected had counsel been fully compensated. From her perspective, she acted as any reasonable person would be expected to act under the circumstances.
The delay in seeking Rule 60(b)(6) relief was reasonable under the circumstances. The motion for Rule 60(b)(6) will be granted, and the court will schedule such further proceedings in this matter as may be appropriate.