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Williams v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 22, 2018

TERRANCE WILLIAMS, Petitioner
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          KANE JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60 (Doc. No. 2239), filed by Petitioner Terrance Williams. For the reasons provided herein, the Court will deny Petitioner's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On March 27, 2014, Petitioner Terrance Williams filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. No. 2144.) Upon receipt of his motion to vacate, the Court issued Petitioner a standard notice of election form pursuant to United States v. Miller, 197 F.3d 644 (3d Cir. 1999) (Doc. No. 2158). On September 19, 2014, the Court received and docketed Petitioner's signed and dated but otherwise incomplete notice of election form. (Doc. No. 2166.) Along with the returned notice of election form, Petitioner sent a motion to amend his previously-filed § 2255 motion (Doc. No. 2167), to which he appended a 22- page affidavit (Doc. No. 2167-1), and duplicate copies of his 52-page proposed amended motion to vacate (Doc. Nos. 2167-2, 2167-3).

         On September 22, 2014, the Court docketed Petitioner's handwritten “Motion to File [a] ‘Completed' Notice of Election Form” dated September 17, 2014. (Doc. No. 2168.) In his motion, Petitioner indicated that he had neglected to complete the initial notice of election form he had previously mailed with his motion to amend, and requested that the Court accept the attached notice of election form indicating his election to withdraw his original § 2255 motion and proceed on his proposed amended petition. (Doc. No. 2168.) On September 22, 2014 (Doc. No. 2169), the Court entered an Order that granted Petitioner's motion to amend (Doc. No. 2167), deemed the § 2225 motion withdrawn in light of Petitioner's completed notice of election form (Doc. No. 2168, ) directed service of the amended petition on the United States Attorney, and set a briefing schedule on the amended § 2225 motion. In compliance with the Court's Order granting Petitioner's motion to amend, and to ensure that the docket properly reflected that Petitioner was proceeding on his all-inclusive amended petition, the Clerk later refiled the proposed amended § 2255 motion and 22-page affidavit, which were originally attached to Petitioner's motion to amend, as a separate docket entry. (Doc. No. 2218.)

         On October 14, 2014, the Government filed a response to Petitioner's amended § 2255 motion. (Doc. No. 2178.) Petitioner filed his reply brief on November 20, 2014. (Doc. No. 2181.) On March 6, 2015, Petitioner filed a “Motion for Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts, ” which the Court construed as a supplement to his reply brief, and reviewed it together with his amended petition. (Doc. No. 2196.) On November 22, 2016, upon consideration of the fully briefed amended § 2255 motion, the Court issued a Memorandum and Order denying Petitioner's amended § 2255 motion and declining to issue a certificate of appealability under 28 U.S.C.§ 2253. (Doc. Nos. 2228, 2229.)

         On February 13, 2017, following the Court's November 22, 2016 decision, Petitioner moved to reopen the time to file a notice of appeal of the Court's denial of his § 2255 motion under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(6) (Doc. No. 2231), which was granted by Order dated April 20, 2017 (Doc. No. 2232). In accordance with that Order, Petitioner timely filed his notice of appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on May 2, 2017. (Doc. No. 2236.) Together with his notice of appeal, Petitioner filed a motion for leave to file a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60 (Doc. No. 2234), which the Court granted on May 19, 2017. (Doc. No. 2238). Consequently, the Third Circuit stayed Petitioner's appeal pending the Court's consideration of his forthcoming Rule 60(b) motion.

         The Court subsequently received Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment, together with several corresponding exhibits, on May 22, 2017.[1] (Doc. Nos. 2239, 2239-1, 2239-2.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b) “allows a party to seek relief from a final judgment, and request reopening of his case, under a limited set of circumstances including fraud, mistake, and newly discovered evidence. Gonzales v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 528 (2005). The Rule authorizes a court to relieve a party from a final judgment or order in the following circumstances:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct ...

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