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Adams v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 27, 2015



MAUREEN P. KELLY, Magistrate Judge.

Timothy Adams, ("Plaintiff) has filed a document entitled "Re: REQUESTING PERMISSION FOR THIS COURT TO ENTERTAIN INDEPENDENT ACTION" (the "Independent Action") which sought to have the current action construed as an "Independent Action" pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(d). ECF No. 4. The Clerk's Office docketed the document as a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. The Clerk's Office apparently did so because Plaintiff was attacking the validity of a judgment rendered in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina that denied Plaintiff's Motion For Relief filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (the "Section 2255 Motion").

Plaintiff's claim in this case is the same claim that he has repeatedly filed in other federal courts, namely, that he should be relieved of the judgment in his Section 2255 Motion proceedings because the attorney who represented Petitioner at his criminal trial (the "criminal defense attorney") filed a false affidavit in his Section 2255 Motion proceedings. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that his criminal defense attorney suffered under a conflict of interest because his criminal defense attorney represented an individual by the name of Velvet Jetter, whose interest was apparently at odds with the interests of Plaintiff. In response to Plaintiff's allegations about the alleged conflict of interest, his criminal defense attorney filed an affidavit in Plaintiff's Section 2255 Motion proceedings, wherein the attorney averred that an associate of the firm had represented Ms. Jetter but that "at no time did Ms. Jetter, to my knowledge, ever provide any information in which in [sic] any way implicated or even mentioned the defendant herein. The Jetter case was not Federal in nature, had nothing do to with a conspiracy and her cooperation did not produce any information whatsoever about the defendant, Adams. Ms. Jetter was not a witness in the case against Mr. Adams, nor was she on the Government's witness list." ECF No. 4-1 at 2. Petitioner contends that his criminal defense attorney lied in this affidavit and thus committed a fraud upon the Court. None of the federal courts previously presented with Plaintiff's same claims have granted Plaintiff relief.

At the outset, we note that Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fairton ("FCI-Fairton") in New Jersey and that the present case has no connection to this District and we are at a loss to understand why Plaintiff has chosen to file in this District, other than his pattern of seeking any court to entertain his claims given that he has also filed similar claims in the District Courts of the District of Columbia and Virginia.

The Court will deny Plaintiff's Independent Action for two alternative reasons. First, the Independent Action is at least Plaintiff's fifth such filing in several different federal courts, which renders the present Independent Action repetitious and, therefore, frivolous or malicious. Second, Plaintiff fails to merit relief under an Independent Action.


A. Prior Filings

The following facts and procedural history are taken from the District Court's opinion in Adams v. Schultz, Civ.A. No. 07-2133 (D.N.J. ECF No. 2, filed 5/17/2007):

On April 13, 1995, Adams was convicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine base ("crack"), before the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. On August 2, 1995, Adams was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. He appealed his conviction and sentence, arguing that (1) there was insufficient evidence; (2) the evidence was erroneously admitted; (3) the statute and guidelines employed were unconstitutional; and (4) the sentence violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed Adams' conviction and sentence. United States v. Adams, 103 F.3d 120 (4th Cir. 1996) (Table) (unpublished opinion at 1996 WL 721890). The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in February 1997. Adams v. United States, 520 U.S. 1180 (1997).
On November 26, 1997, Adams filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He raised the following arguments: (1) his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to disclose a conflict of interest, failing to adequately cross-examine witnesses, failing to call witness on Adams' behalf, failing to object to sentencing errors, advising Adams not to testify at trial, and failing to conduct an adequate pretrial investigation; and (2) prosecutorial misconduct for permitting witnesses to give false testimony at trial, failing to disclose impeachment information, and failing to report negotiations with Adams' attorney that were against Adams' interest. On August 24, 1998, the United States Magistrate Judge filed a Report and Recommendation recommending that the § 2255 motion be summarily dismissed. Adams filed objections to the Report and Recommendation, as well as a motion to expand the record and hold an evidentiary hearing. On January 27, 1999, the District Court denied Adams' application for relief under § 2255, and denied the motion for an evidentiary hearing as moot. Adams appealed. The Fourth Circuit denied a certificate of appealability, and the appeal dismissed on June 24, 1999. United States v. Adams, 182 F.3d 910 (4th Cir. 1999)(Table)
Thereafter, Adams filed several motions. On November 2, 1999, he filed a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). On January 14, 2000, he filed a motion to amend his pleadings. On May 15, 2000, Adams filed a motion to take judicial notice. On August 22, 2000, he filed a motion to set a hearing. On September 27, 2000, Adams filed a motion for a writ of mandamus.
On November 1, 2000, the court denied the motion to amend the pleadings, the motion to take judicial notice, the motion to set a hearing, and the motion for judgment. On December 19, 2000, the district court denied Adams' Rule 60(b) motion. Adams appealed to the Fourth Circuit, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision.
As stated above, a search of the docket in this District Court reveals that Adams has filed three prior actions in this district challenging his conviction. In 2005, Adams filed a Complaint for Independent Action, asserting jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, in which he alleged that trial counsel's affidavit in his § 2255 proceeding amounted to a fraud on the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Adams v. United States, Civil No. 05-1677 (RBK). The Honorable Robert B. Kugler held that the district court lacked jurisdiction to re-open or vacate the judgment, for fraud on the court, in a matter pending in another federal district court, citing Stewart v. Johnston, 97 F.2d 548 (9th Cir. 1938), cert. denied, 312 U.S. 677 (1941) (federal district court in district of confinement has no authority in habeas corpus matters to review the action of the district court in which the petitioner was convicted or to issue writs of certiorari to that court). However, pursuant to its duty to construe pro se pleadings liberally, Judge Kugler construed the complaint as a § 2241 habeas petition, and then dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction as an impermissible second or successive § 2255 motion.
Adams thereafter filed a § 2241 petition on or about March 29, 2006, see Adams v. Miner, Civil No. 06-1477 (RBK), in which he challenged the very same conviction at issue in the present case on similar grounds. That case also was assigned to Judge Kugler, who again dismissed the § 2241 petition for lack of jurisdiction, finding that petitioner demonstrated no exception to the ...

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