OPINION & ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S RULE 60(B) MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT (Dkt. 13), DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING PERMISSION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
MARK A. GOLDSMITH, District Judge.
On June 24, 2016, the Court summarily denied Petitioner Christopher Cobb's application for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that it was time-barred by the statute of limitations contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). The Court also declined to issue a certificate of appealability or to grant leave to appeal
Petitioner has now filed a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) (Dkt. 13). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.
A Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment that seeks to advance one or more substantive claims following the denial of a habeas petition, such as a motion seeking leave to present a claim that was omitted from the habeas petition due to mistake or excusable neglect, or seeking to present newly discovered evidence not presented in the petition, or seeking relief from judgment due to an alleged change in the substantive law since the prior habeas petition was denied, 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).
On the other hand, when a habeas petitioner's 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.
Petitioner's motion, which argues that the one-year statute of limitations should be equitably tolled based on a retroactive change in the law, constitutes a "true" 60(b) claim that attacks the integrity of the habeas proceedings and would not be considered a successive habeas petition.
However, a motion for relief from judgment that attacks the integrity of a previous habeas proceeding, but is nevertheless without merit, should simply be denied, as would any other motion for relief from judgment that lacks merit.
In his Rule 60(b) motion, Petitioner argues that the commencement of the one-year limitations period should be postponed because of the Michigan Supreme Court case of
Petitioner raised this same argument in his motion for equitable tolling. This Court rejected that argument in its opinion and order:
This Court denies Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment, because Petitioner is simply using the motion to relitigate the merits of his retroactivity argument, which this Court previously rejected.
The Court also denies Petitioner a certificate of appealability. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(A) and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 22(b) provide that an appeal from the district court's denial of a writ of habeas corpus may not be taken unless a certificate of appealability is issued either by a circuit court or district court judge. If an appeal is taken by an applicant for a writ of habeas corpus, the district court judge shall either issue a certificate of appealability or state the reasons why a certificate of appealability shall not issue. Fed. R. App. P. 22(b). To obtain a certificate of appealability, a prisoner must make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).
When a district court denies a habeas petition on procedural grounds without reaching the prisoner's underlying constitutional claims, a certificate of appealability should issue, and an appeal of the district court's order may be taken, if the petitioner shows that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petitioner states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right, and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.
In habeas cases involving a district court's denial of a 60(b) motion for relief from judgment on procedural grounds without reaching the merits of any constitutional claims, a petitioner should be granted a certificate of appealability only if he makes both a substantial showing that he or she had a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right
The Court concludes that Petitioner is not entitled to a certificate of appealability from the denial of his motion for relief from judgment, because he has failed to make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right or that this Court's procedural ruling was incorrect. The Court further denies Petitioner leave to appeal
Accordingly, the Court denies the Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment (Dkt. #13), declines to issue a certificate of appealability, and denies leave to proceed