United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Susan D. Wigenton, United States District Judge
before the Court is Petitioner Abbijial Lamont Sloan's
motion for relief from both this Court's dismissal of his
habeas petition as time barred and denial of his motion for
reconsideration brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b)(1). (ECF No. 19). For the following reasons,
this Court will deny Petitioner's motion.
Petitioner's current motion is largely concerned with
this Court's rulings dismissing his habeas petition as
time barred, only a brief recitation of the procedural
history of Petitioner's underlying criminal proceedings
is necessary for the purposes of this opinion. As this Court
Petitions for a writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 are subject to a one year statute of
limitations. See See Ross v. Varano, 111 F.3d 784,
798 (3d Cir. 2013); see also Jenkins v. Superintendent of
Laurel Highlands, 705 F.3d 80, 84 (3d Cir. 2013). In
most instances, including this matter, that one year
limitations period begins to run on the date that the
petitioner's judgment of conviction became final by the
conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for
seeking such review, including the 90-day period for filing a
petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States
Supreme Court. Ross, 712 F.3d at 798;
Jenkins, 705 F.3d 84; see also 28 U.S.C.
In this matter, Petitioner was convicted and sentenced in
January 2011. (ECF No. 10 at 1). He appealed his sentence,
and the Superior Court of New Jersey - Appellate Division
affirmed his conviction and sentence by way of an opinion
issued on December 12, 2012. See State v. Sloan,
2012 WL 6571097 (N.J. Sup. Ct. App. Div. Dec. 12, 2012).
Petitioner then filed a petition for certification, which the
New Jersey Supreme Court denied on June 28, 2013. See
State v. Sloan, 214 N.J. 118 (2013). As Petitioner did
not file a petition for certiorari,  his conviction thus
became final ninety days later on September 26, 2013.
Petitioner's one year limitations period thus started to
run as of that date, and ordinarily would have expired one
year later on September 26, 2014.
The one year statute of limitations applicable to § 2254
petitions, however, is subject to statutory tolling which
automatically arrests the running of the limitations while
the petitioner has a properly filed petition for
post-conviction relief (PCR) pending in the state courts.
Jenkins, 705 F.3d at 85 (quoting 28 U.S.C. §
22254(d)(2)). According to Petitioner, he filed his PCR
petition on December 4, 2013, after only sixty-nine days of
his one year limitations period had elapsed. (ECF No. 10 at
4). That petition was denied by the trial-level PCR court on
June 20, 2014. (Id. at 13). Petitioner appealed, and
the Appellate Division affirmed the denial of his PCR
petition on April 15, 2016. See State v. Sloan, 2016
WL 1466606 (N.J. Sup. Ct. App. Div. Apr. 15, 2016).
Petitioner did not file a petition for certification as to
his PCR petition. Petitioner's PCR petition thus ceased
to be pending before the state courts, at the latest, when he
failed to file a petition for certification within twenty
days of the Appellate Divisions' decision. See
N.J. Court R. 2:12-3 (requiring that an appellant seeking
review of a final decision of the Appellate Division file
notice of petition for certification within twenty days).
(ECF No. 11 at 1-4, paragraph numbers omitted).
to information Petitioner provided in his motion for
reconsideration, Petitioner thereafter filed an untimely
petition for certification, which was denied as filed out of
time in May 2016. (ECF No. 15 at 4). Petitioner, however,
later filed a request to be permitted to file another
petition for certification as within time, which he now
belatedly informs the Court was granted on June 21, 2016.
(See ECF No. 19 at 5). Petitioner also belatedly
informs the Court in his current Rule 60(b) motion that this
petition for certification was ultimately denied by the New
Jersey Supreme Court "on October 19, 2016." (ECF
No. 19 at 20).
60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a final judgment,
and request reopening of his case, under a limited set of
circumstances including fraud, mistake, and newly discovered
evidence." Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524,
529 (2005). "The remedy provided by Rule 60(b) is
extraordinary, and special circumstances must justify
granting relief under it." Jones v. Citigroup,
Inc., Civil Action No. 14-6547, 2015 WL 3385938, at *3
(D.N.J. May 26, 2015) (quoting Moolenaar v. Gov 't of
the Virgin Islands, 822 F.3d 1342, 1346 (3d Cir. 1987).
A Rule 60(b) motion "may not be used as a substitute for
appeal, and that legal error, without more cannot justify
granting a Rule 60(b) motion." Holland v. Holt,
409 Fed.Appx. 494, 497 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting Smith v.
Evans, 853 F.2d 155, 158 (3d Cir. 1988)). A motion under
Rule 60(b) may not be granted where the moving party could
have raised the same legal argument by means of a direct
appeal. Id. Pursuant to Rule 60(b)(1), a district
court may "relieve a party from a final judgment on the
basis of demonstrated 'mistake, inadvertence, surprise,
or excusable neglect.'" United States v.
Moya, 118 Fed.Appx. 666, 667-68 (3d Cir. 2005).
argues that he should be granted relief from this Court's
dismissal of his habeas petition with prejudice as time
barred because he inadvertently failed to inform the Court as
to the full procedural history of his PCR appeals in his
response to this Court's Order to Show Cause. Even if
this Court were inclined to accept petitioner's
suggestion that his failure to earlier provide the
information he has now presented was a simple mistake
warranting potential relief, he would still not be entitled
to relief from this Court's ...