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Burton v. Horn

United States District Court, Third Circuit

September 26, 2013

FREDERICK BURTON
v.
MARTIN HORN, GERALD L. ROZUM, THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF THE COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF PHILADELPHIA

MEMORANDUM

NORMA L. SHAPIRO, J.

Before the court is a motion for reconsideration of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by Frederick Burton (“Burton”). Papers nos. 74 and 76. On March 27, 2013, the court issued a Memorandum (paper no. 72) (“Mem.”) and Order (paper no. 73) dismissing Burton’s habeas corpus petition as untimely.[1] Burton asserts that a recent Supreme Court decision, McQuiggin v. Perkins, 133 S.Ct. 1924 (2013), represents an intervening change in controlling law compelling the court to grant his petition. He also contends the court made four errors of law and fact in dismissing his petition. For the reasons stated below, the motion for reconsideration will be granted in part and denied in part, and Burton’s habeas petition will again be dismissed.

I.MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

Motions for reconsideration serve to correct manifest errors of law or fact. Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). A motion for reconsideration should “address[] only factual and legal matters that the court may have overlooked. It is improper on a motion for reconsideration to ask the court to rethink what it has already thought through—rightly or wrongly.” Glendon Energy Co. v. Borough of Glendon, 836 F.Supp. 1109, 1122 (E.D. Pa. 1993) (citation omitted). “Because federal courts have a strong interest in the finality of judgments, motions for reconsideration should be granted sparingly.” Continental Casualty Co. v. Diversified Indus., Inc., 884 F.Supp. 937, 943 (E.D. Pa. 1995).

A court should reconsider a decision only when: (1) there has been an intervening change in controlling law; (2) new evidence has become available; or (3) there is a need to prevent manifest injustice or correct a clear error of law or fact. Max’s Seafood Café By Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). Burton moves for reconsideration based upon the first and third of these grounds.

A. Alleged Errors of Law and Fact

Burton argues the court made four errors of law and fact in dismissing his habeas corpus petition. He asserts the court erred by:

(1) stating that Burton conceded in his briefing that he could have obtained the third preliminary hearing transcript in 2003;
(2) finding that Burton’s petition was not statutorily tolled;
(3) failing to consider that a “stay and abey” order was unavailable to Burton in exhausting his state court remedies; and
(4) not analyzing the merits of Burton’s actual innocence claim.

As discussed below, Burton raises no new issues or evidence from which the Court could conclude that there has been any clear error of law or fact. Burton’s motion to reconsider based on alleged errors of law and fact will be denied.

B. McQuiggin v. Perkins

Burton argues that the instant motion should be granted because the United States Supreme Court’s decision in McQuiggin v. Perkins, 133 S.Ct. 1924 (2013), after this court dismissed Burton’s petition as untimely is an intervening change in controlling law. In McQuiggin, the Court held that a failure to submit a timely petition for habeas under the statute of limitations of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) did not serve as an absolute bar to relief where a petitioner presents a claim of actual innocence. 133 S.Ct. at 1930-31. Instead, the Court found that failing to meet the requirements of AEDPA’s statute of limitations should be considered by the federal habeas court “as a factor in determining whether actual innocence has been reliably shown.” Id. at 1928. In reaching this conclusion, the Court extended its ...


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