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Pinson v. Coleman

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

May 10, 2019

PIERRE PINSON, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN COLEMAN and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, Respondents.

          Joy Flowers Conti, District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Lisa Pupo Lenihan, United States Magistrate Judge

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         For the following reasons, it is respectfully recommended that the Motion for Relief from Judgment filed by Petitioner Pierre Pinson (ECF No. 24) be denied and that a Certificate of Appealability also be denied.

         II. REPORT

         Pending before the Court is a Motion for Relief from Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(2) and (6) filed by Petitioner on January 16, 2019. The Motion challenges this Court's Order dated November 24, 2014, which granted Respondents' Motion to Dismiss and dismissed Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus as untimely. (ECF No. 15.) In support of his Motion for Relief from Judgment, Petitioner states that he has “newly discovered evidence” that warrants reopening this case and reviewing his claims on the merits.

         A. Abbreviated Factual and Procedural History

         On October 21, 1999, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged Petitioner with four counts of attempted homicide, four counts of aggravated assault, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of carrying a firearm without a license. See Commonwealth v. Pinson, CP-02-CR-0013750-1999 (Allegheny Cty. Common Pleas Ct.). The charges stemmed from an incident in which shots were fired into a police station on August 27, 1999. Petitioner proceeded to a jury trial on July 19, 2000, at the conclusion of which the jury acquitted Petitioner of the attempted homicide charges but convicted Petitioner at all remaining counts. He was subsequently sentenced to an aggregate prison term of 35 to 90 years of incarceration. After the conclusion of his direct appeal, Petitioner filed three Post-Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”) petitions and PCRA appeals. The final PCRA appeal ended on February 26, 2014.

         On October 27, 1999, Petitioner was also charged with three counts of robbery, two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of attempted robbery for his conduct in an attempted robbery, following by an actual robbery, of a QwiCash store. See Commonwealth v. Pinson, CP-02-CR-0014157-1999 (Allegheny Cty. Common Pleas Ct.). Petitioner proceeded to a jury trial on July 26, 2000, at the conclusion of which the jury convicted Petitioner at all counts. Petitioner was sentenced to an aggregate prison term of 15 to 60 years, which he was ordered to serve consecutively to the sentence imposed above. Petitioner filed a direct appeal and on PCRA petition and PCRA appeal. The PCRA petition at this case number was the same as the third PCRA petition at the above case number. This PCRA appeal, again, ended on February 26, 2014.

         Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in his Court on March 31, 2014. (ECF No. 1.) The Respondents moved to dismiss the Petition on timeliness grounds arguing that it was untimely filed by over four years at CP-02-CR-0013750-1999 and by over eight years at CP-02-CR-0014157-1999. (ECF No. 9.) The undersigned issued as Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) on October 14, 2014, recommending the dismissal of the Petition as untimely. (ECF No. 13.) In a Memorandum Order issued on November 24, 2014, the Court adopted the R&R, dismissed the Petition and denied Petitioner a Certificate of Appealability. (ECF No. 15.) Petitioner appealed and the Third Circuit denied a Certificate of Appealability on July 21, 2015. (ECF No. 19.) Petitioner also moved for and was denied authorization to file a second or successive petition for writ of habeas corpus on May 17, 2018. See, C.A. No. 18-2027 (3d Cir.)

         B. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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 (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; (3) fraud or misconduct by an opposing party; (4) because the judgment is void; (5) because the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; and (6) any other reason that justifies relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). A motion under subsection (b)(6) requires a showing of “extraordinary circumstances, ” which the Supreme Court has recognized “will rarely occur in the habeas context.” Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 535 (2005).

         C. Discussion

         Petitioner argues that he is entitled to relief because of newly-discovered evidence. In his Rule 60(b) Motion, he identifies two new pieces of evidence that he claims supports his Brady violation claim and entitles him to relief from judgment - specifically, vacating judgment and reopening his case for a merits review of his claims. The first piece of evidence is evidence of misconduct on the part of Detective Dennis Logan that was brought to light in Manns v. Pittsburgh, Civil Action No. 00-838 (W.D. Pa.) (“the Manns evidence”).[1] The second piece of evidence is a police report in regards to an interview with Eugene Charles Vey that allegedly offers an alternative theory as to who may have committed the crime for which Petitioner was convicted (“the Vey evidence”). As Respondents correctly argue in their Response, Petitioner's Rule 60(b) ...


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