United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the court for disposition is pro se Petitioner
Barkley Gardner's (hereinafter referred to as
“Gardner”) motion for relief under Rule 60(b)(6)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 25). Gardner
asks this court to “adjudicate the merits of claims
raised in [his previous habeas corpus petitions under 28
U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2255(e)].” (Id.
at 1). Also before the court for disposition is Gardner's
motion under Rule 15(c), (Doc. 26), filed eighteen (18) days
after his Rule 60(b)(6) motion. This matter is ripe for
is a federal inmate presently confined at United States
Penitentiary-Lewisburg. On August 1, 1996, Gardner and
several others were charged in a ten-count indictment in the
Eastern District of North Carolina. (Doc. 2, Ex. A,
Indictment). The indictment charged petitioner as follows:
Count 1B racketeering; Count 2B racketeering conspiracy;
Count 3B narcotics conspiracy; Count 4B conspiracy to murder
Lateisha Beaman; Count 5B murder of Lateisha Beaman; Count 6B
carjacking resulting in death; Count 7B using and carrying a
firearm causing death to Lateisha Beaman; Count 8B conspiracy
to murder Jason Washington; Count 9B using and carrying a
firearm causing death to Jason Washington; and Count 10B
conspiracy to kidnap Roneka Jackson. (Id.)
indictment alleges that in 1993, petitioner and others began
a large drug-trafficking enterprise in North Carolina, New
York, and Maryland. The group began in Brooklyn and its
principal purpose was to generate money for its members and
associates. Specifically, petitioner and his group engaged in
various criminal activities including illegal narcotics
trafficking, robbery, kidnaping, carjacking and the
threatened and actual use of violence, including murder.
group used alias names and identities to prevent government
detection of their identities and illegal activities.
Furthermore, the indictment alleges that petitioner was
committed to murdering other persons within the group,
particularly members who represented a threat or were likely
to “flip” and become potential witnesses.
1996, following a month-long jury trial, Gardner and several
co-defendants were convicted in the Eastern District of North
Carolina on racketeering, drug and other violent crime
charges. Gardner was sentenced to concurrent life sentences
on Counts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 and 120 months on Count 4.
(Doc. 2-2, Ex. K, Sentencing Tr. at 19). The Fourth Circuit
Court of Appeals affirmed Gardner's convictions and
sentence on direct appeal, and the United States Supreme
Court denied certiorari. See United States v.
Celestine, 43 Fed.Appx. 586, 588 (4th Cir. 2002), cert.
denied, sub nom Gardner v. United States, 537 U.S.
2, 2003, petitioner filed a motion to vacate his sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which the District Court
for the Eastern District of North Carolina denied on December
22, 2006. (Doc. 2-1, Ex. F, section 2255 mem. & ord). The
Fourth Circuit affirmed. United States v. Gardner,
231 Fed. App'x 284 (4th Cir. 2007).
5, 2014 Gardner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
in this court pursuant to section 2241, challenging his life
sentence. (Doc. 1). On July 7, 2014 Magistrate Judge Thomas
Blewitt issued a Report & Recommendation in which he
proposed dismissing the section 2241 petition for lack of
jurisdiction. (Doc. 14). The magistrate judge reasoned that
Gardner's claims challenging his life sentence must be
raised in a section 2255 petition with the sentencing court -
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
filed timely objections contending that a section 2241
petition is the proper vehicle to challenge his life sentence
under Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99 (2013).
(Doc. 15). This court overruled Gardner's objections,
adopted Magistrate Judge Blewitt's R&R, (Doc. 17),
and Gardner appealed. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals
affirmed our decision. Gardner v. Warden Lewisburg
USP, 845 F.3d 99 (3d Cir. 2017). Gardner did not
petition the Supreme Court of the United States for a writ of
certiorari. Instead he filed the instant motions (Docs. 25,
26) on April 26, 2018 and May 14, 2018, respectively, thereby
bringing the case to its current posture.
explained below, the court finds that we lack subject matter
jurisdiction in this case. (“The District Court had the
power to ascertain its own jurisdiction, ”
Gardner, 845 F.3d at 102 (citing Arbaugh v. Y
& H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006)).
60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a final judgment,
and request reopening of his case, under a limited set of
circumstances....” Atkinson v. Middlesex
County, 610 Fed. App'x 109, 112 (2015), citing
Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 528 (2005).
“A party seeking Rule 60(b)(6) relief must demonstrate
the existence of ‘extraordinary circumstances' that
justify reopening the judgment.” Spuck v.
Ridge, 532 Fed. App'x 100, 101 (3d Cir. 2013),
citing Budget Blinds, Inc. v. White, 536 F.3d 244,
255 (3d Cir. 2008)(quoting Gonzalez, 545 U.S. at
524). “[A] party seeking Rule 60(b)(6) relief must