United States District Court, D. Delaware
September 2009, a Delaware Superior Court jury convicted
Dickinson of attempted first degree robbery, second degree
burglary, PFDCF, possession of a destructive weapon, and
second degree conspiracy. (D.I. 31 at 2-3) The Superior Court
sentenced him as a habitual offender to life in prison for
the attempted first degree robbery conviction, and to eight
years of Level V incarceration for the remaining convictions,
suspended after six years for two years of probation.
Id. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed
Dickinson's convictions on direct appeal. See
Dickinson v. State, 8 A.3d 1166 (Del. 2010).
2016, the court denied Dickinson's federal habeas
petition as meritless. (D.I. 31; D.I. 32) Dickinson appealed,
and the Third Circuit denied his request for a certificate of
appealability on February 15, 2017, and his petition for
en banc rehearing on March 15, 2017. See
Dickinson v. State, No. 16-3766 (3d Cir. 2017).
filed the Rule 60(b)(4) motion for reconsideration (D.I. 35)
presently pending before the court in April 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 5301 548 (3d Cir. 1988). 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. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A); Robinson v.
Johnson, 313 F.3d 128, 139-40 (3d Cir. 2002).
Rule 60(b)(4) motion asks the court to reconsider its denial
of his habeas petition because he believes that the Delaware
Superior Court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over
his criminal proceeding. (D.I. 35 at 2) He also contends that
the elements of his crime were not established beyond a
reasonable doubt and that he was convicted under a vague
criminal law. (D.I. 35 at 2)
instant motion does not attack the manner in which the
decision denying Dickinson's habeas petition was
procured. Rather, it challenges the same convictions
Dickinson challenged in his original habeas petition, and
also asserts arguments that could have been presented in that
petition. Consequently, the court finds that the motion is a
second or successive habeas petition under § 2244 and
not a "true" Rule 60(b)(4) motion.
is no indication that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
authorized the filing of the instant motion/unauthorized
second or successive habeas request. Therefore, the court
will dismiss the 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).