FRANKLIN v. KLOPOTOSKI et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE NORMA L. SHAPIRO ON 11/23/15. 11/24/15 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PERTITIONER AND E-MAILED. (jpd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MICHAEL KLOPOTOSKI, et al.,
NORMA L. SHAPIRO, J.
NOVEMBER 23, 2015
Vincent Franklin has filed a “Motion for Relief Under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
Rule 60(b)(4); Due to the Trial Court Lack of Jurisdiction of the Subject Matter” (paper no. 60)
(“60(b) motion”) and a “Motion for Appointment of Counsel” (paper no. 61). The 60(b) motion
is denied as the court lacks jurisdiction; the motion to appoint counsel is denied as moot.
On March 18, 2005, Franklin was convicted in the Court of Common Pleas of
Northampton County of rape of a child, aggravated indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual
intercourse, and indecent assault. On August 21, 2009, Franklin filed a petition for habeas corpus
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (paper no. 1). On October 9, 2013, this court granted the writ of
habeas corpus, vacated the sentence for rape of a child because it exceeded the statutory
maximum at the time of the offense, and remanded to the trial court for resentencing (paper no.
On September 3, 2015, Franklin filed a 60(b) motion for this court “to vacate defendant’s
2005 judgment; which is void ab initio.” Motion for Relief, 2 (emphasis omitted). Franklin argues
his criminal conviction is void because the criminal information alleged the offenses occurred
between January 1, 2001, and January 30, 2004, and “the evidence elicited by the
Commonwealth indicated that the alleged offenses occurred in December 2000.” Motion for
Relief, 1. He asserts this court has the authority to grant relief from the Pennsylvania court’s
judgment under Rule 60(b)(4). Id. at 4.
A federal district court generally may not “adjudicat[e] actions in which the relief
requested requires determining whether the state court’s decision is wrong or voiding the state
court’s ruling.” Walker v. Horn, 385 F.3d 321, 329 (3d Cir. 2004) (quoting Desi’s Pizza, Inc., v.
City of Wilkes-Barre, 321 F.3d 411, 419 (3d Cir. 2003)). This jurisdictional bar, the RookerFeldman doctrine, exists because Congress has granted only the United States Supreme Court
federal appellate jurisdiction over state-court judgments. Id.
A federal habeas corpus petition is “an exception to the Rooker-Feldman jurisdictional
bar.” Walker, 385 F.3d at 329, n.22 (citing Sumner v. Mata, 449 U.S. 539, 543-44 (1981)). A
Rule 60(b) motion is a habeas petition if it attacks “the substance of the federal court’s resolution
of a claim on the merits” or “seeks to add a new ground for relief,” but it is not a habeas petition
if it attacks a “defect in the integrity of the federal habeas proceedings.” Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545
U.S. 524, 530-32 (2005). A district court lacks jurisdiction to review a second or successive
habeas petition unless the Court of Appeals determines that the petitioner has made a prima facie
showing that a claim in the petition satisfies the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). See 28
U.S.C. § 2244 (b)(3)(A)&(C).
Franklin’s “Motion for Relief Under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 60(b)(4);
Due to the Trial Court Lack of Jurisdiction of the Subject Matter” is a habeas petition because it
seeks to litigate a substantive claim: whether the Court of Common Pleas lacked jurisdiction
because of defects in the criminal information. This is a second habeas petition; the court lacks
jurisdiction to review it without an order from the Court of Appeals.
Plaintiff’s “Motion for Relief Under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 60(b)(4);
Due to the Trial Court Lack of Jurisdiction of the Subject Matter” is denied for lack of
jurisdiction. The motion for appointment of counsel is denied as moot.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?