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Williams v. Bradt

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 30, 2018

KEVIN WILLIAMS, pro se, Petitioner,



         Pro se[1] Petitioner Kevin Williams (“Petitioner”) filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus on August 23, 2010. (See Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Petition”), Dkt. Entry No. 1.) The Petition was stayed pending Petitioner's exhaustion of state remedies. On November 6, 2014, Petitioner moved for appointment of counsel (See Motion to Appoint Counsel, Dkt. Entry No. 36), which this Court denied. (See Order denying Motion to Appoint Counsel (“Summary Order”), Dkt. Entry No. 40.) On March 30, 2016, this Court denied the Petition in its entirety. (See Order Dismissing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Opinion & Order”), Dkt. Entry No. 55.) On April 22, 2016, Petitioner appealed the Opinion & Order. (See Notice of Appeal, Dkt. Entry No. 58.) The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal. (See Mandate of USCA, Dkt. Entry No. 59.)

         Petitioner now moves to vacate the denial of his Petition, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1) and (6). (See Notice of Motion to Vacate (“Mot. to Vacate”), Dkt. Entry No. 60.) Respondent opposes. (See Affidavit in Opposition (“Opp.”), Dkt. Entry No. 61.) For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's motion to vacate is denied.[2]


         I. Standard of Review for a Rule 60(b) Motion

         Under Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court may relieve parties from final judgments, orders, or proceedings for the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60 (b).

         A motion for reconsideration under Rule 60(b) is addressed to the “sound discretion of the district court and . . . [is] generally granted only upon a showing of exceptional circumstances.” Mendell v. Gollust, 909 F.2d 724, 731 (2d Cir. 1990), aff'd, 501 U.S. 115 (1991). Specifically, “a movant must establish that the Court overlooked controlling decisions or factual matters that were put before the Court.” Rodriguez v. Keane, 2003 WL 21673624, at *1 (W.D.N.Y. July 16, 2003) (citing Chan v. Reno, 6 F.Supp.2d 273, 274-75 (S.D.N.Y. 1998)). Thus, “reconsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked-matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court.” Shrader v. CSX Trans., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995) (citations omitted).

         A party seeking relief under Rule 60(b)(6) “for any other reason” is required to show “extraordinary circumstances” justifying the reopening of a final judgment and “[s]uch circumstances will rarely occur in the habeas context.” Gonzales v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 535 (2005). To prevail on a motion for reconsideration under Rule 60(b), the movant must satisfy a heavy burden, and although “a pro se litigant ‘should not be impaired by harsh application of technical rules, ' he is not excused from producing ‘highly convincing evidence in support of his motion to vacate a final judgment.'” Rodriguez, 2003 WL 21673624 at *1. Additionally, “it is well established that a motion to reconsider should not be granted where the moving party seeks solely to relitigate an issue already decided . . . .” Niederland v. Chase, 425 Fed.Appx. 10, 12 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotations omitted).

         II. Petitioner's Arguments

         While Petitioner states that he seeks reconsideration of the Opinion & Order, Petitioner's motion instead appears to seek reconsideration of this Court's prior Summary Order denying Petitioner's motion to appoint counsel. (Mot. to Vacate at 3, 12.[3]) In support of his motion, Petitioner “asserts that the integrity of the habeas corpus proceedings was impaired by the ‘Summary Order' dated: November 12, 2014, in which Petitioner's motion for the Assignment of Counsel/Evidentiary Hearing was denied.” (Id. at 12.) (emphasis in original). Petitioner argues that “[h]ad this Court granted counsel and a hearing, ” the outcome of his habeas petition would have been different, because “Petitioner would have been able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was/is Actually Innocent.” (Id. at 12-13.) Petitioner does not argue that anything in the Opinion & Order was erroneous. Accordingly, the Court construes Petitioner's motion as a motion to vacate the Summary Order, and not a motion to vacate the Opinion & Order.

         III. Analysis

         Petitioner brings his motion under Rule 60(b)(1) and 60(b)(6). (Mot. to Vacate at 11.) Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(c), a motion filed under Rule 60(b)(1) must be made no more than a year after the entry of the judgment. Petitioner has moved to vacate the Summary Order over two years after it was filed and after ...

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