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James B. Williams v. E.L. Donnelly

March 2, 2011

JAMES B. WILLIAMS, PETITIONER,
v.
E.L. DONNELLY, SUPERINTENDENT, WENDE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge

ORDER

I. Introduction

On or about February 2, 1999, petitioner James Williams ("Williams" or "petitioner") filed a pro se action seeking a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the constitutionality of his conviction for Murder in the Second Degree in Erie County Court, following a jury trial. (Dkt. #1). This court dismissed Williams's petition for writ of habeas corpus and denied a certificate of appealability, finding that Williams failed to make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. See Decision and Order, No. 99-CV-6051 (Telesca, D.J.) dated 4/4/2003. (Dkt. #12). The Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a mandate denying petitioner's motion for a certificate of appealability and dismissing petitioner's appeal. (Dkt. ## 15, 16). Petitioner then filed a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6) ("Rule 60(b)"), which was denied by this Court on December 23, 2009. (Dkt. #17).

Now before the Court are petitioner's second motion for relief from judgment (Dkt. #20) and motion for an extension of time to file a reply to the respondent's answering affirmation. (Dkt. #23).

The reader is presumed to be familiar with the facts of this case, which were detailed in the Decision and Order by this Court (Dkt. #12).

For the reasons that follow, petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion is denied. In light of that determination, petitioner's motion for an extension of time to file a reply to the respondent's affidavit (Dkt. #21) is also denied.

II. Discussion

A. Rule 60(b)

Rule 60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a final judgment for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) fraud; (4) the judgment is void; or (5) the judgment has been satisfied. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1) - (5). Subsection (6) is the "catch-all" of Rule 60(b), which allows vacatur in the interest of justice for any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6).

Petitioner alleges that he is entitled to relief under Rule 60(b) because this Court erroneously utilized the AEDPA standard of review*fn1 in evaluating the merits of petitioner's habeas claims.

As discussed below, petitioner's motion is denied because it is untimely and because it fails to state a ground for relief under Rule 60(b).

B. Petitioner's Second Rule 60(b) Motion is Untimely

As with petitioner's previous motion for relief from judgment (Dkt. #17), the current motion is untimely. Petitioner's second Rule 60(b) motion was filed on November 24, 2010, approximately seven and one-half years after this Court denied petitioner's habeas petition. A motion brought under Rule 60(b)(6) "must be made within a reasonable time." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(c). Where, as here, there is a significant delay between the date of judgment and the date the Rule 60(b) motion was filed, such a motion is untimely. See Rodriguez v. Mitchell, 252 F.3d 191, 201 (2d Cir.2001) (Rule 60(b) motion filed three and one-half years after denial of habeas petition was unreasonable delay); Williams v. Comm'r of Corr. of State of N.Y., 122 F.3d 1058 (2d Cir. 1997) (petitioner's motion for relief from final order of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 case five years after dismissal of case was untimely) (unpublished opinion); accord, e.g., Rogers v. Artuz, Nos. 00-CV-2718 (JBW), 03-MISC-0066 (JBW), 2007 WL 2815692, *7 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 24, 2007) ("Even if petitioner's motion were deemed a proper 60(b)(6) motion, it would be untimely. Petitioner's initial habeas application was denied on July 7, 2003, almost three-and-a-half years before petitioner's 60(b)(6) motion was filed. Such a delay is unreasonable.")

C. Petitioner's Challenge to the Underlying Habeas Proceeding is Meritless In addition to its untimeliness, petitioner's motion fails to justify the relief he requests. Rule 60(b) applies in habeas corpus cases and may be used to reopen a habeas proceeding. See Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 534 (2005) (stating that "Rule 60(b) has an unquestionably valid role to play in habeas cases" and giving examples). However, "relief under Rule 60(b) is available for a previous habeas proceeding only when the Rule 60(b) motion attacks the integrity ...


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