United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY United States District Court
the court for disposition is Petitioner William Richard
Perrego's (hereinafter “petitioner”) motion
for relief from judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b)(6). (Doc. 38). After a careful review, the
court will deny petitioner's motion.
March 14, 2007, petitioner beat Lewis Jones to death
following a dispute over a bottle of whiskey. Charged with
criminal homicide, petitioner proceeded to a bench trial in
the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. On March 5, 2008,
the trial court found petitioner guilty of third degree
time of his conviction, petitioner had a prior voluntary
manslaughter conviction. Accordingly, the trial court
sentenced petitioner to a term of life imprisonment for this,
his second killing.
direct appeal, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed
petitioner's conviction and sentence on November 19,
2009. Petitioner filed a petition for allowance of appeal to
the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court denied on May 28, 2010. Petitioner next filed a
timely petition for certiorari in the United States Supreme
Court. The Court denied the petition on October 12, 2010.
petitioner filed a pro se motion, pursuant to the
Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (hereinafter
“PCRA”), in the Luzerne County Court of Common
Pleas. The Common Pleas Court denied the petition on January
18, 2013. Petitioner appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior
Court. The Superior Court affirmed the Common Pleas
Court's decision on January 20, 2014. Petitioner next
filed a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court, which the court denied on July 23, 2014.
September 16, 2014, petitioner filed in this court a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
(hereinafter “section 2254 ”). (Doc. 1). The
Clerk of Court assigned the case to Magistrate Judge Martin
C. Carlson for the issuance of a report and recommendation
(hereinafter “R&R”). Subsequent to the
completion of briefing, Magistrate Judge Carlson issued an
R&R, which proposed dismissing the section 2254 petition
without prejudice. (Doc. 19). The court adopted the R&R
on June 26, 2015, and dismissed the petition without
prejudice. (Doc. 23). Petitioner appealed this decision to
the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which the Third Circuit
denied on February 1, 2016. (Doc. 27).
next filed a section 2254 petition and a supporting
memorandum of law on February 24, 2016. (Doc. 29, 30). On
March 1, 2016, the court dismissed this petition with
prejudice and declined to issue a certificate of
appealability. (Doc. 33). Petitioner appealed the court's
dismissal of his section 2254 petition to the Third Circuit
Court of Appeals, which the Third Circuit denied on June 22,
February 23, 2017, petitioner filed a motion and supporting
brief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6)
(hereinafter “Rule 60(b)(6)”), contending the
court must reopen his case and address the merits of his
section 2254 petition.
instant motion, petitioner seeks relief under Rule 60(b)(6),
which is “intended to be a means for accomplishing
justice in extraordinary situations.” Ackermann v.
United States, 340 U.S. 193, 199 (1950); Kock v.
Gov't of the V. I., 811 F.2d 240, 246 (3d Cir.1987).
It is well-settled that relief under Rule 60(b)(6) is
“extraordinary and may be granted only upon a showing
of exceptional circumstances.” In re Fine Paper
Antitrust Litig., 840 F.2d 188, 194 (3d Cir. 1988);
U.S. Steel Corp. v. Fraternal Ass'n of Steel
Haulers, 601 F.2d 1269, 1274 (3d Cir.1979).
evaluating a Rule 60(b) motion, the district court must
determine whether the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act's limits on successive petitions apply.
Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 529 (2005). A Rule
60(b) motion shall be treated as a successive habeas petition
if it is “in substance a habeas corpus
application.” Id. at 531. If the motion is
construed as a second or successive habeas petition, the
district court does not have jurisdiction to entertain the
motion unless the petitioner is authorized by the court of
appeals to file a successive petition. Burton v.
Stewart, 549 U.S. 147, 153 (2007). In Gonzalez,
the Supreme Court provided several examples of Rule 60(b)
motions that were actually habeas claims, including a motion
seeking leave to present newly discovered evidence, a motion
attacking the effectiveness of trial counsel, and a motion
seeking relief for “any other reason” under Rule
60(b)(6). Id.; see also Pridgen v. Shannon,
380 F.3d 721, 727 (3d Cir. 2004) (“[W]hen the Rule
60(b) motion seeks to collaterally attack the
petitioner's underlying conviction, the motion should be
treated as a successive habeas petition”); United
States v. Edwards, 309 F.3d 110, 113 (3d Cir. 2002)
(determining that a motion under Rule 60(b) to reconsider a
section 2255 petition should be treated as an unauthorized
successive section 2255 petition).
the factual predicate of a petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion
attacks the manner in which the earlier habeas judgment was
procured and not the underlying conviction, the Rule 60(b)
motion may be adjudicated on the merits. Pridgen,
380 F.3d at 727. As the Third Court has held, this principle
is consistent ...