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Tokley v. Ricci

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 23, 2015

DANA T. TOKLEY, Petitioner,
v.
MICHELLE RICCI, et al., Respondents.

OPINION

KEVIN McNULTY, District Judge.

The petitioner, Dana T. Tokley, is in custody as a result of a New Jersey state criminal conviction. He has filed a motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b) (the "Motion"), in which he seeks relief from the Court's January 20, 2012 denial of his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies the Motion.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Hon. Katharine S. Hayden of this Court provided a comprehensive statement of the case in an opinion, dated January 20, 2012, in which she denied Tokley's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. (ECF No. 39, "Prior Opinion.") Familiarity with Judge Hayden's Prior Opinion is assumed; I provide only a brief summary of relevant facts here.

On April 3, 2000, Tokley was convicted, in a jury trial, of robbery and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) On September 1, 2009, after exhausting his state court remedies, Tokley filed a federal habeas corpus petition with this Court. (ECF No. 1.) Pursuant to this Court's order, Respondents filed an Answer. (ECF Nos. 15, 20.) Tokley filed a Reply. (ECF No. 23.) With leave of the Court, Respondents filed a surreply. (ECF No. 28.)

On January 20, 2012, Judge Hayden issued the Prior Opinion and Order denying the Petition. The Court held that Tokley had not satisfied his burden of showing that the state court decision denying his petition for post-conviction relief was either contrary to clearly established federal law, an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law, or an unreasonable determination of the facts. See Prior Opinion at 9-24. Finding that reasonable jurists could disagree with her resolution of two of Tokley's claims, however, Judge Hayden granted a Certificate of Appealability as to those two grounds. Id. at 24-25.

On February 1, 2012, Tokley filed a Notice of Appeal, 3d Cir. Docket No. 12-1307. (ECF No. 41.) By judgment entered November 22, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed Judge Hayden's Prior Opinion and Order. (ECF No. 49.) On March 16, 2015, more than 15 months after the Third Circuit judgment, Tokley filed this Rule 60(b) motion. (ECF No. 51.) On June 16, 2015, the case was reassigned from Judge Hayden to me. (ECF No. 57.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides that "the court may relieve a party... from final judgment, order or proceeding" under certain circumstances. The general purpose of Rule 60(b) is "to strike a proper balance between the conflicting principles that litigation must be brought to an end and that justice must be done." Walsh v. Krantz, 423 F.Appx. 177, 179 (3d Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (quoting Boughner v. Sec'y of Health, Educ. & Welfare, 572 F.2d 976, 977 (3d Cir. 1978)). "Rule 60(b) is a provision for extraordinary relief and may be raised only upon a showing of exceptional circumstances." Mendez v. Sullivan, 488 F.Appx. 566, 568 (3d Cir. 2012) (per curiam) (citing Sawka v. Healtheast, Inc., 989 F.2d 138, 140 (3d Cir. 1993)). "Rule 60(b) provides that a motion for relief from judgment or order shall be made within a reasonable time, ' or if based on mistake, newly discovered evidence, or fraud, not more than one year after the judgment, order, or proceeding was entered or taken.'" United States v. Fiorelli, 337 F.3d 282, 288 n.3 (3d Cir. 2003).

Grounds for relief from judgment under Rule 60(b) are:

(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 ...

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