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Robinson v. Romanowski

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 6, 2018

Gerord Robinson, Petitioner,
v.
Ken Romanowski, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE RULE 60(B) MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT [#21] AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY OR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain, United States District Court Judge

         Presently before the Court is Petitioner Gerord Robinson's Motion for Relief from Judgment. Dkt. No. 21. Petitioner is incarcerated at the Macomb Correctional Facility in New Haven, Michigan. On February 10, 2014, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Dkt. No. 1. Petitioner's petition challenged his conviction for first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit murder, felon in possession of a firearm, and three counts of felony-firearm. R. Id. On October 29, 2014, this Court summarily dismissed the petition on the ground that it had been filed outside of the one-year statute of limitations contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) for filing habeas petitions. Dkt. No. 11. On December 18, 2015, the Sixth Circuit denied Petitioner permission to file a successive habeas petition. R. Dkt. No. 19. On August 23, 2017, Petitioner filed the present Motion pursuant to Rule 60(b) for relief from judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Motion is DENIED.

         A Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment may be used to advance one or more substantive claims following the denial of a habeas petition. Such motions may seek leave to present a claim that was omitted from the habeas petition, or present newly discovered evidence not presented in the petition, or seek relief from judgment due to an alleged change in the substantive law. Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 531 (2005). These motions should be classified as a “second or successive habeas petition, ” which requires authorization from the Court of Appeals before filing, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). See id.

         When a Rule 60(b) motion alleges a “defect in the integrity of the federal habeas proceedings, ” the motion should not be transferred to the circuit court for consideration as a second or successive habeas petition. Gonzalez, 545 U.S. at 532. A Rule 60(b) motion is not considered to be raising a claim on the merits when the motion “merely asserts that a previous ruling which precluded a merits determination was in error-for example, a denial for such reasons as failure to exhaust, procedural default, or statute-of-limitations bar.” Id. at 532, n.4.

         Petitioner claims that this Court erred in failing to apply the prison mailbox rule to the date that he signed his state post-conviction motion for relief from judgment and delivered it to prison officials for mailing on October 18, 2011. The trial court received Petitioner's post-conviction motion for relief from judgment on November 1, 2011. Therefore, this Court deemed Petitioner's motion filed, for purposes of the statute of limitations, on November 1, 2011. This Court declined to apply the prison mailbox rule to Petitioner's post-conviction motion for relief from judgment. This Court found that Michigan's prison mailbox rule does not apply to motions for relief from judgment that are filed with the state trial court pursuant to M.C.R. 6.500. Robinson v. Romanowski, No. 2:14-cv-10617, 2014 WL 5480808, at *2, n.2. The Sixth Circuit likewise rejected Petitioner's argument on appeal. Dkt. No. 17, pg. 3 (Pg. ID 1804). Petitioner claims that several judges in this district have concluded that the prison mailbox rule should be applied to 6.500 motions for relief from judgment. Therefore, this Court should deem them filed when the prisoner signs the motion and delivers it to prison officials for mailing.

         Petitioner's Motion, which argues that this Court misapplied the federal statute of limitations set out in § 2244(d), constitutes a “true” 60(b) claim that attacks the integrity of the habeas proceedings and would not be considered a successive habeas petition. See Gonzalez, 545 U.S. at 533. However, courts should still deny motions for relief from judgment that attack the integrity of a previous habeas proceeding, but are still without merit. Harris v. U.S., 367 F.3d 74, 82 (2d Cir. 2004). “A Rule 60(b) motion is properly denied where the movant attempts to use such a motion to relitigate the merits of a claim and the allegations are unsubstantiated.” Miles v. Straub, 90 Fed.App'x 456, 458 (6th Cir. 2004). A movant under Rule 60(b) likewise fails to demonstrate entitlement to relief when he simply rephrases the allegations that were contained in the original complaint. See Johnson v. Unknown Dellatifa, 357 F.3d 539, 543 (6th Cir. 2004). A habeas petitioner “may not raise arguments during [his] first federal habeas proceeding, lose those arguments, then raise the same arguments based on the same evidence in a Rule 60(b) motion.” Brooks v. Bobby, 660 F.3d 959, 962 (6th Cir. 2011).

         A motion for relief from judgment can be granted for the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);
(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;
(4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or
(6) any other reason that justifies ...

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