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Barkley v. Ortiz

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 26, 2017

RASHAUN BARKLEY, Petitioner,
v.
ALFARO ORTIZ, et al., Respondents.

          OPINION

          KEVIN MCNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The petitioner, Rashaun Barkley, is a state prisoner. His pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 was denied on the merits. Mr. Barkley then filed a motion for relief from that judgment pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1), (3), and (6). I denied that motion on September 8, 2016. Presently pending before this Court is Mr. Barkley's motion for reconsideration of that denial. The Clerk will be ordered to reopen this case so that I can rule on the pending motion for reconsideration. For the following reasons, the motion for reconsideration will be denied.

         II. BACKGROUND

         As I noted in the September 8, 2016 opinion:

Mr. Barkley's habeas petition was denied in 2004. In 2006, the United States Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. Thereafter, Mr. Barkley filed several motions for relief from judgment. They were denied in April, 2011, June, 2011, January, 2012, and June, 2012, respectively. The Court noted in the June, 2012 Order, that while Mr. Barkley styled his motion as a Rule 60(b) motion, it actually constituted a second or successive § 2254 habeas petition that lacked the required authorization from the Third Circuit to be filed.

(Dkt. No. 85 at p.l) In April, 2016, Mr. Barkley filed another Rule 60(b) motion. That motion was assigned to me in light of Judge Hochberg's retirement from the bench. The motion raised two issues. First, Mr. Barkley asserted that since his habeas petition, he has learned that there was possibly a plea offer that was never relayed to him by his defense counsel. Second, Mr. Barkley asserted that his entire file had either been lost or destroyed by the Public Defender's Office or his previous defense counsel.

         In denying this Rule 60(b) motion, I noted that Mr. Barkley could not rely on Rule 60(b)(1) or 60(b)(3), as both of those rules require the petitioner to bring the motion no more than a year after entry of judgment. Thus, Mr. Barkley could rely only on the catchall Rule 60(b)(6), which permits a party to obtain relief form a judgment for "any other reason that justifies relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6).

         I determined that Mr. Barkley was not entitled to relief under Rule 60(b)(6). Most relevant to the pending motion for reconsideration, I explained that I lacked jurisdiction to consider his claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to relay a plea offer to him. (See Dkt. No. 85 at p.4) I lacked jurisdiction over this claim because it constituted a challenge to his underlying conviction. Therefore, it constituted a second or successive § 2254 petition that lacked the required authorization from the Third Circuit to be filed. (See Dkt. No. 85 at p.4)

         Mr. Barkley's motion for reconsideration appears to challenge this denial by repeating his contention that his defense counsel failed to relay a plea offer. He further requests the appointment of counsel.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

         Motions for reconsideration are filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) and are governed by Local Civil Rule 7.1(i) which allows a party to seek reconsideration by the Court in matters in which the party believes the judge has "overlooked." See Carney v. Pennsauken Twp. Police Dep't, No. 11-7366, 2013 WL 4501454, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 21, 2013) (citations omitted). "The standard for reargument is high and reconsideration is to be granted only sparingly." Yarrell v. Bartkowski, No. 10-5337, 2012 WL 1600316, at *3 (D.N.J. May 7, 2012) (citing United States v. Jones, 158 F.R.D. 309, 314 (D.N.J. 1994)). To be successful on a motion for reconsideration, a petitioner has the burden to demonstrate: "(1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court [issued its order]; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (citation omitted); see also Berry v. Jacobs IMC, LLC, 99 F.App'x 405, 410 (3d Cir. 2004). Additionally, Rule 59(e) requires that it be filed within twenty-eight days after the entry of judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e).

         IV. ...


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