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Rines v. Warden, Usp Allenwood

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 1, 2013

RONALD E. RINES, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, USP ALLENWOOD, et al., Respondents,

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROBERT D. MARIANI, District Judge.

On April 2, 2012, the Court denied Petitioner Ronald E. Rines's ("Petitioner" or "Rines") Petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 18). Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 19) on April 12, 2012. In support of his Motion for Reconsideration, Petitioner attached an opinion of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, which addressed an earlier mandamus petition filed by Rines in which he argued that his state sentence was incorrectly calculated. In essence, Petitioner's inclusion of this earlier opinion is meant to buttress Rines's argument that he exhausted his state remedies prior to the filing of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. To address Rines's new argument concerning exhaustion, the Court issues the following opinion.

STANDARD

A motion for reconsideration is a mechanism "to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). A motion for reconsideration is generally permitted only upon the basis of three grounds: (1) there is an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) new evidence becomes available; or (3) clear error of law or to prevent manifest injustice. See Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999)(citing North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)).

DISCUSSION

In support of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, Petitioner avers that his constitutional rights were violated when the federal court elevated his sentence based upon an allegedly improper sentence imposed by the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Rines's cryptic petition challenges that his earlier state sentence was recalculated by state authorities without notice or a hearing, and that as a result, his present federal sentence is improper. Rines's Petition asserts:

This Court is constrained to agree that Due Process entitled the Petitioner to an opportunity to have his claim THAT HIS MAXIMUM PRISON SENTENCE HAD EXPIRED IN OCTOBER 1989, that release date meaningfully and expeditiously considered the risk of error....

Rines's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus at 4, ECF Dkt. 1.

Rines continues to assert:

The Respondents were obligated and bound by their own rule of law and by the Constitution of the United States [Due Process Clause] to give the Petitioner his Due Process Rights, but because of the vindictiveness did not.

Rines's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus at 5.

Given the confusing nature of Rines's Petition and Motion for Reconsideration, the Court will analyze the propriety of issuing a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to both 28 U.S.C. § 2254 or 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Section 2254 reads, in pertinent part:

The Supreme Court, a Justice thereof, a circuit judge, or a district court shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or law or treaties of the United States.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). This Court has extensively discussed the purpose and mechanics of Section 2254 in Marinelli v. Beard, No. 07-0173, 2012 WL 5928367 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 26, 2012):

On April 24, 1996, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996), went into effect and amended the standards for reviewing state court judgments in federal habeas petitions filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A habeas corpus petition pursuant to § 2254 is the proper mechanism for a prisoner to challenge the "fact or duration" of his confinement. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 498-99, 93 S.Ct. 1827, 36 L.Ed.2d 439 (1973). "[I]t is not the province of a federal habeas court to reexamine state-court determinations on state-law questions." Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68, 112 S.Ct. 475, 116 L.Ed.2d 385 (1991). Rather, federal habeas review is restricted to ...

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