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United States v. Golson

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 13, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
COREY GOLSON, SR., Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          William W. Caldwell United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Presently before the court is defendant Corey Golson, Sr.'s motion (Doc. 119) for reconsideration of this court's previous denial of his Rule 60(b) motion for relief from a final judgment in his underlying 28 U.S.C. § 2255 proceedings. Defendant has also moved (Doc. 120) to amend his initial § 2255 motion, which has already been adjudicated on the merits. For the following reasons, Defendant's motions will be denied.

         II. Background

         On September 7, 2012, Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to a three-count indictment, reserving the right to appeal a previous denial of his suppression motion. (Doc. 82). On January 24, 2013, this court sentenced Defendant to a term of 161 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised release. (Doc. 88). Shortly thereafter, he filed a notice of appeal. (Docs. 89, 96). On February 11, 2014, the Third Circuit affirmed this court's denial of Defendant's suppression motion. (Docs. 105, 106). Defendant's petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States was denied on June 23, 2014. United States v. Golson, 743 F.3d 44 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 134 S.Ct. 2857 (2014) (mem.).

         On June 16, 2015, Defendant timely filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. 107). The 2255 motion raised four claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. (Doc. 107 at 4-9). On June 30, 2015, the court issued a standard Miller notice[1] to Defendant, informing him of the importance of including all claims for relief in his initial 2255 motion. (Doc. 109). Defendant was given thirty days to respond to the notice. (Id. at 3). On September 28, 2015, after waiting approximately three months and having received no response from Defendant, the court decided Defendant's 2255 motion as originally filed. (Doc. 110 at 2). The court addressed the merits of each claim, and denied relief. (Doc. 110 at 4-11; Doc. 111). A certificate of appealability was also denied. (Doc. 110 at 11; Doc. 111).

         Defendant then timely sought a certificate of appealability from the Third Circuit. (Doc. 112). On July 15, 2016, the Third Circuit denied Defendant's request for a certificate of appealability, (Doc. 114), and several months later denied his petition for a rehearing, United States v. Golson, No. 15-3580 (3d Cir. Sept. 12, 2016), ECF No. 3112405084.

         On March 8, 2017, nearly six months after the Third Circuit denied Defendant's petition for a rehearing, Defendant filed a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) in this court, seeking relief from the denial of his 2255 motion. (Doc. 115). On April 12, 2017, this court denied the motion, finding that Defendant did not qualify for relief from a final judgment under Rule 60(b). (Docs. 117, 118).

         Defendant has now moved for reconsideration and to amend. In his motion for reconsideration, which appears to incorporate his motion to amend by way of the relief he seeks, he argues that this court abused its discretion when it denied his Rule 60(b) motion. (Doc. 119 at 2). He first claims that the court was required, by the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings, to order the Government to respond to his 2255 motion before denying it. (Id. at 3). He also argues that it was “Manifest Injustice” that the court did not “assure itself” that Defendant had received the June 30, 2015 Miller notice before deciding Defendant's 2255 motion. (Id. at 5, 6). Finally, he claims that the statute of limitations could have been tolled to allow him to “file all the legal papers” related to his initial 2255 motion, or that he could have been permitted to amend his 2255 motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c). (Id. at 6).

         For these reasons, Defendant asserts that the court should reconsider its denial of his Rule 60(b) motion. He further contends that upon reconsideration, the court should vacate the denial of his 2255 motion and allow him to submit supporting legal arguments and documentation regarding the ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims he initially raised in the 2255 motion. The court will address each of Defendant's claims in turn, and will also address his related motion to amend.

         III. Discussion

         When seeking reconsideration of a final order, i.e., to alter or amend judgment, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), the movant must show (1) an intervening change in controlling law, (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court issued the underlying order, or (3) “the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.” See Max's Seafood Café ex rel. Lou- Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (citation omitted). Only the third basis for granting reconsideration is potentially implicated here, but none of Defendant's claims in his motion for reconsideration satisfies this standard.

         Defendant first claims that the court was required to order the Government to respond to his 2255 motion before it denied the motion. Defendant is mistaken. As previously explained in this court's September 28, 2015 opinion, (see Doc. 110 at 3), under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2255, the district court may dismiss a 2255 motion “[i]f it plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving party is not entitled to relief[.]” 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2255 Rule 4(b); United States v. Nahodil, 36 F.3d 323, 325 (3d Cir. 1994); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). After review of Defendant's 2255 motion and the record, the court determined that it was clear that he was not entitled to relief, and properly denied his motion without requiring a response from the Government.

         Defendant's second claim is that he never received the June 30, 2015 Miller notice, and the court erred by not “assur[ing] itself” that he had received the notice prior to reviewing and denying his 2255 motion as ...


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