US v. Justin Strom
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 1:12-cr-00159-JCC-1,1:15-cv-00632-JCC. Copies to all parties and the district court. . Mailed to: Justin Strom. [16-7681]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff - Appellee,
JUSTIN DEONTA STROM, a/k/a Jae Dee, a/k/a Jae, a/k/a J-Dirt,
Defendant - Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at
Alexandria. James C. Cacheris, Senior District Judge. (1:12-cr-00159-JCC-1; 1:15-cv00632-JCC)
Submitted: April 26, 2017
Decided: May 10, 2017
Before AGEE, WYNN, and FLOYD, Circuit Judges.
Vacated and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Justin Deonta Strom, Appellant Pro Se. Marc Birnbaum, Special Assistant United States
Attorney, Inayat Delawala, Assistant United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, for
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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Justin Deonta Strom appeals the district court’s order denying his Fed. R. Civ. P.
60(b) motion for relief from judgment in his 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (2012) proceeding. We
vacate the district court’s order and remand for further proceedings.
“[A] Rule 60(b) motion in a habeas proceeding that attacks ‘the substance of the
federal court’s resolution of a claim on the merits’ is not a true Rule 60(b) motion, but
rather a successive habeas petition,” and is subject to the preauthorization requirement of
28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A) (2012). United States v. McRae, 793 F.3d 392, 397 (4th Cir.
2015) (quoting Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 531-32 (2005)). By contrast, “[a] Rule
60(b) motion that challenges ‘some defect in the integrity of the federal habeas
proceedings’ . . . is a true Rule 60(b) motion, and is not subject to the preauthorization
requirement.” Id. (quoting Gonzalez, 545 U.S. at 531-32). Where, however, the movant
“‘presents claims subject to the requirements for successive applications as well as claims
cognizable under Rule 60(b),’” such a motion is a mixed Rule 60(b)/§ 2255 motion. Id.
at 400 (quoting United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d 200, 207 (4th Cir. 2003)).
In his Rule 60(b) motion, Strom sought a remedy for a perceived flaw in his
§ 2255 proceeding—namely, the district court’s failure, in ruling on the § 2255 motion,
to address Strom’s claims of actual innocence and that plea counsel induced Strom’s
guilty plea by assuring Strom that he would receive a 10-year sentence—and raised a
direct attack on his conviction and sentence. Accordingly, the motion was a mixed Rule
60(b)/§ 2255 motion. McRae, 793 F.3d at 397, 400; see Gonzalez, 545 U.S. at 532 n.4
(holding that a movant files a true Rule 60(b) motion “when he . . . asserts that a previous
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ruling which precluded a merits determination was in error”); Winestock, 340 F.3d at 207
(stating that “a motion directly attacking the prisoner’s conviction or sentence will
usually amount to a successive application”).
The district court did not afford Strom the opportunity to elect between deleting
his successive § 2255 claims or having his entire motion treated as a successive § 2255
motion. See McRae, 793 F.3d at 400 (“This Court has made clear that ‘[w]hen [a] motion
presents claims subject to the requirements for successive applications as well as claims
cognizable under Rule 60(b), the district court should afford the applicant an opportunity
to elect between deleting the improper claims or having the entire motion treated as a
successive application.’” (quoting Winestock, 340 F.3d at 207)). We therefore vacate the
district court’s order and remand for further proceedings.
We dispense with oral
argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the
materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.
VACATED AND REMANDED
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