United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Keenan
Johnson's (“Petitioner”) motion to amend his
§ 2255 motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his
sentence. (ECF No. 8). Respondent did not file a response to
the motion to amend. For the reasons stated below, the motion
for leave to amend his § 2255 motion is denied.
October 3, 2014, Petitioner signed a plea agreement in which
he agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute and
possession with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of
21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a), 841(b)(1)(B), and 846. (ECF
No. 6 at p. 3). On January 29, 2015, this Court found that
Petitioner qualified as a career offender within the meaning
of § 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines
(“U.S.S.G.”) and sentenced Petitioner to 130
months of imprisonment and 5 years of supervised
January 25, 2016, Petitioner, through counsel, filed a motion
to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 1). On March 17, 2016,
Respondent filed opposition to the § 2255 motion. (ECF
No. 6). Petitioner filed a reply brief on April 27, 2016.
(ECF No. 7). On March 21, 2017, Petitioner filed a motion for
leave to amend his original § 2255 motion. (ECF No. 8).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply fully to motions to
amend habeas corpus petitions. United States v.
Duffus, 174 F.3d 333, 337 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing
Riley v. Taylor, 62 F.3d 86, 89 (3d Cir. 1995)).
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, leave to amend
pleadings shall be “freely give[n]” when
“justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). In
Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178 (1962), the Supreme
Court articulated the liberal policy of allowing amendments
underlying Rule 15(a) as follows:
If the underlying facts or circumstances relied upon by a
plaintiff may be a proper subject of relief, he ought to be
afforded an opportunity to test his claim on the merits. In
the absence of any apparent or declared reason-such as undue
delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment,
etc.-the leave sought should, as the rules require, be
Id. at 182; see also Shane v. Fauver, 213
F.3d 113, 115 (3d Cir. 2000). As is the case with ordinary
civil complaints, in habeas corpus petitions, amendments made
after the statute of limitations has run must relate back to
the date of the original pleading, and only do so if the
original and amended pleadings arise out of the same conduct,
transaction, or occurrence. Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S.
544, 655 (2005) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c)(2)).
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”) states that-absent new evidence or a
new rule of constitutional law- § 2255 petitions must be
filed within one year of the date on which the conviction
became final. 28 U.S.C.A. § 2255(f)(1). This one-year
statute of limitations bars new § 2255 motions, as well
as amendments of existing motions to add new claims or legal
theories after the one-year period has expired. See
United States v. Thomas, 221 F.3d 430, 431 (3d Cir.
amendments of existing petitions are ordinarily barred by the
one-year statute of limitations, this Court has the authority
to “permit an amendment which clarifies or amplifies a
claim or theory in a timely filed § 2255 petition after
the AEDPA's one-year period of limitations has
expired.” Id. at 438. Amended pleadings
“relate back” to the date of the original
pleading if they share a common core of operative facts, such
that the opposing party has “fair notice of the general
fact situation and the legal theory upon which the amending
party proceeds.” Glover v. F.D.I.C., 698 F.3d
139, 145-46 (3d Cir. 2012) (citation omitted); see also
United States v. Hernandez, 436 F.3d 851, 858 (8th Cir.
2006) (where the facts in petitioner's original claim
relating to the admission of evidence “were not such
that would put the opposition on notice that
cross-examination of witnesses was at issue, ” the
court held that the claims were “not similar enough to
satisfy the ‘time and type' test, nor [did] they
arise out of the same set of operative facts”). Thus,
where “the original and amended petitions state claims
that are tied to a common core of operative facts, relation
back will be in order.” Mayle, 545 U.S. at
664; see also Hodge v. United States, 554 F.3d 372,
378 (3d Cir. 2009) (“[T]he Court should [ask]-as we ask
now-whether both the ineffective assistance claim in
[Petitioner's] Supplemental Memorandum and the
right-to-appeal claim in his original 2255 motion ‘are
tied to a common core of operative facts.'”
(quoting Mayle, 545 U.S. at 664)).
there is no question that Petitioner filed his motion for
leave to amend after the expiration of AEDPA's one-year
statute of limitations. Petitioner did not file an appeal,
and his conviction became final when his time to appeal
expired under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, i.e.
14 days after the entry of judgment in district court.
See Kapral v. United States, 166 F.3d 565, 577 (3d
Cir. 1999); Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)(1) (“In a criminal
case, a defendant's notice of appeal must be filed ...
within 14 days after ... the entry of either the judgment
[being] appealed.”). Therefore, Petitioner's
conviction became final on February 12, 2015, and his
one-year limitations period expired on February 12, 2016.
Although Petitioner's initial § 2255 motion, filed
on January 25, 2016, was timely, his motion for leave to
amend filed on March 21, 2017, was not. See Duncan v.
Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 181 (2001) (“[A]n
application for federal habeas corpus ...