Brown v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Carl Browns Rule 60(b)(6) Motion for Relief from Petitioners 924(c) Indictment Count 29 is DENIED. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 5/20/16. (ARL)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
CARL R. BROWN,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
No. 4:13 CV 2204 RWS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Petitioner Carl Brown moves to vacate his conviction or sentence under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). Though labeled a Rule 60(b) motion,
Brown’s motion only challenges the merits of the disposition of his prior habeas
petition and his underlying conviction, which means it must be treated as a second
or successive motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Because the Eighth Circuit Court of
Appeals has not authorized the filing of a second or successive section 2255
motion in this case, I will deny Brown’s motion. See United States v. Lee, 792
F.3d 1021, 1023 (8th Cir. 2015); Boyd v. United States, 304 F.3d 813, 814 (8th
Cir. 2002) (per curiam).
Brown pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute heroin (Count I) and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking
crime (Count III). Brown filed a notice of appeal, which he later withdrew. He
then filed a section 2255 motion, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel on a
number of grounds, including that his attorney allowed him to plead guilty to a
non-existent crime and failed to explain the nature and elements of Count III.
Brown also argued that it is plain error for the district court to allow a defendant to
plead guilty to an offense when the record as a whole does not show that he
committed the crime. I denied Brown’s section 2255 motion on the merits and
declined to issue a certificate of appealability. The Eighth Circuit denied Brown’s
application for a certificate of appealability and dismissed his appeal.
Brown has now filed a “Rule 60(b)(6) Motion for Relief from Petitioner’s
924(c) Indictment Count Based on His Actual Innocence/Sixth Amendment
Violation/Double Jeopardy Claim.” Rule 60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a
final judgment in a limited set of circumstances, such as fraud or mistake. Brown
brings his motion under Rule 60(b)(6), which permits relief for “any . . . reason
that justifies relief” other than the more specific circumstances set out in Rules
60(b)(1)‒(5). Brown again argues he is entitled to relief because he received
ineffective assistance of counsel.
He also challenges the sufficiency of the
evidence supporting his conviction and the “multiplicity” of the charges in Count
III of the indictment, arguing he is “factually innocent” of Count III and was
subjected to double jeopardy.
Where, as here, a prisoner files a Rule 60(b) motion following the denial of a
section 2255 motion, I must determine whether the motion properly asserts
possible grounds for relief under Rule 60(b) or whether it is actually a second or
successive section 2255 motion. A petitioner may use a Rule 60(b) motion to
challenge a procedural ruling of the habeas court or a defect in the integrity of his
federal habeas proceedings, but a motion attacking the merits of the denial of a
claim in a prior habeas proceeding or asserting or reasserting a federal basis for
relief from the underlying conviction must be treated as a second or successive
section 2255 motion. See Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 530‒32 (2005); Lee,
792 F.3d at 1022‒23 (applying Gonzalez in a section 2255 case). If a Rule 60(b)
motion amounts to a second or successive section 2255 motion, I must deny the
motion unless the prisoner has obtained authorization to file it from the Eighth
Circuit. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h); Boyd, 304 F.3d at 814.
Despite his assertion otherwise, Brown’s Rule 60(b) motion must be treated
as a second or successive section 2255 motion.
Brown’s arguments about
ineffective assistance of counsel, the “multiplicity” of the charges in Count III, and
the sufficiency of the evidence do not challenge the integrity of his prior habeas
proceedings, but rather just reassert or reframe claims for relief from his
conviction. Brown has not received authorization from the Eighth Circuit to file
these claims. As a result, I will deny his motion.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Carl Brown’s Rule 60(b)(6) Motion for
Relief from Petitioner’s 924(c) Indictment Count  is DENIED.
RODNEY W. SIPPEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 20th day of May, 2016.
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