WILLIAM W. CALDWELL, District Judge.
Presently before the court is defendant Corey Golson, Sr.'s motion (Doc. 119) for reconsideration of this court's previous denial of his Rule 60(b) motion for relief from a final judgment in his underlying 28 U.S.C. § 2255 proceedings. Defendant has also moved (Doc. 120) to amend his initial § 2255 motion, which has already been adjudicated on the merits. For the following reasons, Defendant's motions will be denied.
On September 7, 2012, Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to a three-count indictment, reserving the right to appeal a previous denial of his suppression motion. (Doc. 82). On January 24, 2013, this court sentenced Defendant to a term of 161 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised release. (Doc. 88). Shortly thereafter, he filed a notice of appeal. (Docs. 89, 96). On February 11, 2014, the Third Circuit affirmed this court's denial of Defendant's suppression motion. (Docs. 105, 106). Defendant's petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States was denied on June 23, 2014.
On June 16, 2015, Defendant timely filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. 107). The 2255 motion raised four claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. (Doc. 107 at 4-9). On June 30, 2015, the court issued a standard
Defendant then timely sought a certificate of appealability from the Third Circuit. (Doc. 112). On July 15, 2016, the Third Circuit denied Defendant's request for a certificate of appealability, (Doc. 114), and several months later denied his petition for a rehearing,
On March 8, 2017, nearly six months after the Third Circuit denied Defendant's petition for a rehearing, Defendant filed a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) in this court, seeking relief from the denial of his 2255 motion. (Doc. 115). On April 12, 2017, this court denied the motion, finding that Defendant did not qualify for relief from a final judgment under Rule 60(b). (Docs. 117, 118).
Defendant has now moved for reconsideration and to amend. In his motion for reconsideration, which appears to incorporate his motion to amend by way of the relief he seeks, he argues that this court abused its discretion when it denied his Rule 60(b) motion. (Doc. 119 at 2). He first claims that the court was required, by the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings, to order the Government to respond to his 2255 motion before denying it. (
For these reasons, Defendant asserts that the court should reconsider its denial of his Rule 60(b) motion. He further contends that upon reconsideration, the court should vacate the denial of his 2255 motion and allow him to submit supporting legal arguments and documentation regarding the ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims he initially raised in the 2255 motion. The court will address each of Defendant's claims in turn, and will also address his related motion to amend.
When seeking reconsideration of a final order, i.e., to alter or amend judgment, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), the movant must show (1) an intervening change in controlling law, (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court issued the underlying order, or (3) "the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice."
Defendant first claims that the court was required to order the Government to respond to his 2255 motion before it denied the motion. Defendant is mistaken. As previously explained in this court's September 28, 2015 opinion, (
Defendant's second claim is that he never received the June 30, 2015
First, the June 30, 2015
Second, and more importantly, Defendant's continued reliance on the failure to receive the
Furthermore, although Defendant repeatedly calls into question how this court "characterize[d]" his initial 2255 motion, (
Rather, what Defendant actually wants is permission to amend his initial 2255 motion, whereby he could provide legal briefing and supporting documentation that he failed to include in the first instance. This fact has not escaped Defendant, as he has filed a motion to amend in addition to his motion for reconsideration. In both motions, he urges the court to vacate its prior decision on the 2255 motion, permit him to file supplemental legal briefing and evidence that he claims would relate back to his initial filing, order the Government to respond to the motion, and ultimately make a fresh determination on his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. For the following reasons, the court will deny the drastic relief Defendant seeks.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15,
In the seminal case of
Here, Defendant's request for leave to amend his initial 2255 motion must be denied on the basis of undue delay. Despite the fact that this court denied Defendant's 2255 motion in September of 2015, the first time Defendant moved to amend his motion was May of 2017—almost two years after its denial, and eight months after the Third Circuit denied a certificate of appealability and his petition for a rehearing.
Notably, the only reasons Defendant has provided for the nearly two-year delay in moving to amend his initial 2255 motion is that (1) he "did not recognize the true meaning of the Memorandum dated September 28, 2015" (i.e., the denial of his 2255 motion on the merits), and (2) he did not receive a
First, as explained above, the
Second, although Defendant claims that he did not comprehend the true nature of this court's denial of his 2255 motion, such a claim is belied by his subsequent filings with the Third Circuit. In Defendant's application for a certificate of appealability from the Third Circuit, he included ten pages of legal argument regarding the four ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims rejected by this court. (Doc. 112). Notably, he concluded his application by asking that the Third Circuit "ALLOW a Certificate of Appealability based on the foregoing argument and case authority following the DENIAL of [his] 28 U.S.C. §2255 Petition below." (
Finally, the reasons for delay provided by Defendant must be balanced against the burden on the court resulting from the allowance of the amendment. Here that burden is unquestionably heavy. Over the past two years, Defendant has fully litigated his 2255 motion in the district court and the Third Circuit, and has continued to seek relief in this court from that final judgment. Granting Defendant's motion to amend would cause this entire process to begin anew. Consequently, when Defendant's unpersuasive reasons for delay are weighed against the heavy burden of permitting amendment, the court has little difficulty determining that Defendant's delay is undue and therefore leave to amend must be denied.
One final note regarding Defendant's motion to amend is in order. Although Defendant has consistently maintained that he does not wish to add a new claim to his 2255 motion, he appears to try to do just that in the instant pending motions. For the first time in any of his post-conviction filings, Defendant now asserts that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective by failing to communicate a more favorable plea agreement to Defendant than the agreement he eventually signed. (
But as Defendant concedes, (
The new ineffective-assistance claim that Defendant raises in the instant motions involves facts and circumstances that are unrelated to the operative facts underlying his initial claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. There is no "common core of operative facts," and the claims do not arise from the same "conduct, transaction, or occurrence," and thus the new claim would not relate back to the initial 2255 motion. Therefore, even if Defendant were permitted to amend his 2255 motion, he could not include the new ineffective-assistance claim that he is trying to assert, as it would not relate back and thus would be barred by the statute of limitations set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f).
Based on the foregoing analysis, Defendant's motion for reconsideration (Doc. 119) and motion to amend (Doc. 120) will be denied. Defendant has not met his burden to establish why this court should reconsider its denial of his Rule 60(b) motion. Furthermore, because of undue delay on Defendant's part, his request for leave to amend his initial 2255 motion must be denied. An appropriate order will follow.