Wood v. Phelps et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 2/24/17. (sar)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
DAVID PIERCE, Warden, et. al.,
) Civ. A. No. 11-1115-GMS
In 2015, the court denied as time-barred petitioner Bruce Wood's petition for writ of
habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (D.I. 59; D.I. 60) The court alternatively
denied some of the claims as procedurally barred and some of the claims as failing to satisfy the
standard § 2254(d)(l). (D.I. 59) Wood filed a motion for reargument, which the court denied.
(D.I. 62; D.I. 71; D.I. 72) Wood appealed, and the Third Circuit denied his certificate of
appealability. (D.I. 66; D.I. 77) Wood then filed the pending Rule 60(b)(6) motion for
reconsideration (D.1. 81 ), an amendment to the Rule 60(b )(6) motion (D.I. 85), a motion to
withdraw the amendment (D.I. 87), and a motion for an evidentiary hearing (D.I. 80).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A motion for reconsideration should be granted to correct manifest errors of law or fact or
to present newly discovered evidence. Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir.
1985). Accordingly, a court may grant a motion for reconsideration if the moving party shows
one of the following: ( 1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new
evidence that was not available when the court issued its order; or (3) the need to correct a clear
error of law or fact or to prevent a manifest injustice. Max's Seafood Cafe v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d
669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999)(citing North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194,
1218 (3d Cir. 1995)). A motion for reconsideration is not appropriate to reargue issues that the
court has already considered and decided. Brambles USA Inc. v. Blocker, 735 F. Supp. 1239,
1240 (D. Del. 1990).
Additionally, when, as here, a district court is presented with a Rule 60(b) motion after it
has denied the petitioner's federal habeas application, the court must first determine if the Rule
60(b) motion constitutes a second or successive application under the Antiterrorism and Effective
Death Penalty Act ("AEDP A"). As articulated by the Third Circuit:
in those instances in which the factual predicate of a petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion
attacks the manner in which the earlier habeas judgment was procured and not the
underlying conviction, the Rule 60(b) motion may be adjudicated on the merits.
However, when the Rule 60(b) motion seeks to collaterally attack the petitioner's
underlying conviction, the motion should be treated as a successive habeas petition.
Pridgen v. Shannon, 380 F.3d 721, 727 (3d Cir. 2004). Under AEDPA, a prisoner cannot file a
second or successive habeas application without first obtaining approval from the Court of
Appeals. Absent such authorization, a district court cannot consider the merits of a subsequent
application. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A); Robinson v. Johnson, 313 F.3d 128, 139-40 (3d Cir.
Wood contends that the court erroneously denied his petition as time-barred because it
should have acknowledged that his second Rule 61 motion statutorily tolled the limitations
period pursuant to Artuz v. Bennett, 53 l U.S. 4 (2000).
To begin, the court will grant Wood's motion to withdraw the amendment to his Rule
60(b)(6) motion (D.I. 87). In turn, since Wood's Rule 60(b)(6) motion challenges the court's
timeliness ruling, the court will consider the motion to be a true Rule 60(b) motion and not a
second or successive habeas petition. See Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 533 (2005).
Nevertheless, Wood's motion fails to warrant relief. Wood contends that the court erroneously
denied his petition as time-barred because it should have acknowledged that his second Rule 61
motion statutorily tolled the limitations period pursuant to Artuz v. Bennett, 531 U.S. 4 (2000).
This argument, however, merely asserts his disagreement with the court's decision to deny his
petition, and expands upon an argument the court already considered and rejected when it denied
Wood's motion for reargument. (D.I. 71; D.I. 72) Notably, Wood's instant Artuz argument does
not assert an intervening change in law, the availability of previously unavailable evidence, or a
"clear error oflaw" of the sort that would compel reconsideration.
To the extent Wood challenges the court's alternative dismissal of the claims as
procedurally barred and/or for failing to satisfy § 2254(d), the court concludes that reargument is
not warranted. Once again, Wood essentially reasserts arguments already considered and
rejected, and these arguments fail to show that reargument is necessary in order to correct a clear
error of law or fact, or to prevent a manifest injustice. 1 Thus, the court will not reconsider its
prior denial of the claims as procedurally barred and/or for failing to satisfy § 2254( d).
Finally, given the court's decision to deny the instant Rule 60(b)(6) motion, the court will
deny as moot Wood's motion for an evidentiary hearing. (D.I .80)
For instance, Wood asserts that the court should have excused his procedural default in
order to prevent a miscarriage of justice. The court considered and rejected this argument in its
Memorandum Opinion denying Wood's § 2254 petition. (D.I. 59 at 17-18)
For the aforementioned reasons, the court will deny the instant Rule 60(b) motion and the
motion for an evidentiary hearing. In addition, the court will not issue a certificate of
appealability, because Lopez has failed to make a "substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right." 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2);
See United States v. Eyer, 113 F.3d 470 (3d Cir.
1997); 3d Cir. LAR 22.2 (2011). A separate Order will be entered.
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