United States District Court, D. Delaware
BERNARD F. WOODS, Petitioner,
DANA METZGER, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.
February 2008, Woods pled guilty to one count each of
delivery of cocaine, possession of a deadly weapon by a
person prohibited, second degree conspiracy, and possession
of a firearm during the commission of a felony. See Woods
v. State, 994 A.2d 745 (Table), 2010 WL 1664008 (Del.
Apr. 26, 2010). The Delaware Superior Court immediately
sentenced him to a total of twenty-nine years of
incarceration, suspended after the mandatory minimum fifteen
years for a period of probation. Woods did not file a direct
2013, the Honorable Sue L. Robinson denied Woods' federal
habeas petition after determining that the claims asserted
therein were either procedurally barred from review or
meritless. (D.I. 57; D.I. 58) Woods appealed, and the Third
Circuit denied his certificate of appealability on December
31, 2013. (D.I. 59; D.I. 62)
2017, Woods filed the Rule 60(b)(6) motion for
reconsideration (D.I. 63) presently pending before the court,
and then he filed a memorandum in support of the motion (D.I.
64) in November 2017.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion for reconsideration filed pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b) "allows a party to seek relief
from a final judgment, and request reopening of his case,
under a limited set of circumstances including fraud,
mistake, and newly discovered evidence." Gonzalez v.
Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 528 (2005). Rule 60(b) motions are
addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, and are
guided by accepted legal principles applied in light of all
relevant circumstances. See Pierce Assoc. Inc. v. Nemours
Found., 865 F.2d 530, 548 (3d Cir. 1988). However, a
motion for reconsideration and/or to reopen is not
appropriate to reargue issues that the court has already
considered and decided. See Brambles USA Inc. v.
Blocker, 735 F.Supp. 1239, 1240 (D. Del. 1990).
when, as here, a district court is presented with a Rule
60(b) motion after it has denied the petitioner's federal
habeas petition, the court must first determine if the Rule
60(b) motion constitutes a second or successive petition
under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
("AEDPA"). As articulated by the Third Circuit:
in those instances in which the factual predicate of a
petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion attacks the manner in
which the earlier habeas judgment was procured and not the
underlying conviction, the Rule 60(b) motion may be
adjudicated on the merits. However, when the Rule 60(b)
motion seeks to collaterally attack the petitioner's
underlying conviction, the motion should be treated as a
successive habeas petition.
Pridgen v. Shannon, 380 F.3d 721, 727 (3d Cir.
2004). Under AEDPA, a prisoner cannot file a second or
successive habeas petition without first obtaining approval
from the Court of Appeals. Absent such authorization, a
district court cannot consider the merits of a subsequent
application. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A);
Robinson v. Johnson, 313 F.3d 128, 139-40 (3d Cir.
Rule 60(b)(6) motion, Woods contends that his habeas petition
was erroneously denied because: (1) there was insufficient
evidence to support his weapons convictions; (2) he was
fraudulently induced to plead guilty; and (3) he is actually
innocent of the weapons convictions. Since this motion does
not attack the manner in which the decision denying
Woods' petition was procured, the court finds that the
motion is not a "true" Rule 60(b)(6) motion.
Rather, Woods' motion constitutes a second or successive
habeas petition under § 2244, because it re-asserts the
same arguments presented in his original habeas petition and
also challenges the same convictions and
is no indication that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
authorized the filing of the pending motion. Therefore, the
court will dismiss Woods' Rule 60(b)(6) motion for lack
of jurisdiction. See Rule 4 of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Court, 28
U.S.C. foil. § 2254 (authorizing summary dismissal of
§ 2254 petitions); 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(1).
aforementioned reasons, the court will deny the instant Rule
60(b)(6) motion. In addition, the court will not issue a
certificate of appealability, because Woods has failed to
make a "substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right." 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2);
see United States v. Eyer,113 F.3d ...