United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Susan D. Wigenton, United States District Judge
or about October 17, 2018, Petitioner Altowan Nixon, filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his 1995
state court conviction which resulted in a life sentence with
a thirty-year parole disqualifier. (ECF No. 1).
Following an order to show cause why Petitioner's habeas
petition should not be dismissed as time barred, this Court
dismissed Petitioner's petition as time barred by way of
an order and memorandum opinion issued on February 25, 2019.
(ECF Nos. 6-9).
this Court explained in dismissing Petitioner's habeas
Petitions for a writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 are subject to a one-year statute of
limitations, which in most case begins to run with the
conclusion of direct review or the time for seeking such
review, including the 90-day period for the filing of a
certiorari petition to the United States Supreme Court.
See Ross v. Varano, 712 F.3d 784, 798 (3d
Cir. 2013); Jenkins v. Superintendent of Laurel
Highlands, 705 F.3d 80, 84 (3d Cir. 2013); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A).
Here, Petitioner's direct appeal concluded with the
denial of certification on June 17, 1998. (ECF No. 1 at 4).
His conviction became final ninety days later on September
15, 1998. (Id.). Petitioner thereafter filed his PCR
petition on June 10, 1999. (Id.). Petitioner's
one year statute of limitations was thereafter tolled
pursuant to statutory tolling until that petition ceased to
be pending in the state courts, see Jenkins, 705
F.3d at 85 (habeas limitations period statutorily tolled
while properly filed state court PCR petition is pending in
the state courts), with the denial of certification on that
petition on June 6, 2002. (Id. at 5). Petitioner did
not file another PCR petition until March 28, 2004, nearly
two years later. Based on this time line, nine months of
Petitioner's one-year limitations period expired prior to
Petitioner's filing of his first PCR petition, and the
remaining three months expired between the conclusion of
Petitioner's first PCR petition and his filing of a
second almost two years later.
(ECF No. 9 at ¶ 4).
dismissing the petition, this Court further explained that
Petitioner did not have a valid Miller v. Alabama,
567 U.S. 460 (2012), claim, and that Petitioner had provided
no basis for equitable tolling or a later start date for the
statute of limitations than the date Petitioner's
conviction became final. (ECF No. 9 at ¶ 7-9).
March 12, 2019, this Court received a letter from Petitioner
which this Court construes to be a motion seeking
reconsideration of the dismissal of Petitioner's habeas
petition pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e).
(ECF No. 10). In that letter, which largely discusses the
merits of Petitioner's underlying claim rather than the
time bar issue, Petitioner admits that, absent a later start
date, his “time to file [a] habeas petition had
expired” by the time he had pursued his second PCR
petition. (Id. at 3). Petitioner argues, however
that he should receive a later start date because he filed a
motion to correct an illegal sentence - which was denied - in
May 27, 2015, and pursued that motion up through the New
Jersey Courts until the New Jersey Supreme Court denied
certification on May 1, 2018. (Id.). Petitioner
presents no other argument in support of his request to have
his petition reinstated other than to express his opinion
that his sentence is “unfair.” (Id. at
scope of a motion to amend a judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e)
is extremely limited. See Blystone v. Horn, 664 F.3d
397, 415 (3d Cir. 2011). A Rule 59(e) motion may be employed
“only to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to
present newly discovered evidence.” Id.
“‘Accordingly, a judgment may be altered or
amended [only] if the party seeking reconsideration shows at
least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change
in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence
that was not available when the court [decided the motion],
or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to
prevent manifest injustice.'” Id. (quoting
Howard Hess Dental Labs., Inc. v. Dentsply Int'l
Inc., 602 F.2d 237, 251 (3d Cir. 2010)). In this
context, manifest injustice “generally . . . means that
the Court overlooked some dispositive factual or legal matter
that was presented to it, ” or that a “direct,
obvious, and observable” error occurred. See Brown
v. Zickefoose, Civil Action No. 11-3330, 2011 WL
5007829, at *2, n. 3 (D.N.J. 2011).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A), the one-year
limitations period applicable to § 2254 normally runs
from the date on which the petitioner's conviction became
final including the time for seeking direct
appellate review. The filing of a later collateral review
petition - such as the motion to correct an illegal sentence
Petitioner filed in 2015 - does not restart the one-year
limitations period. Petitioner is therefore incorrect that
his limitations period should reset because he filed a
collateral review motion “twenty years after [his]
conviction became final.” (See ECF No. 10 at
3). The filing of an unsuccessful collateral review motion in
the state court has no effect on the start date of the
one-year habeas limitations period, and thus Petitioner's
habeas petition remains well and truly time barred for the
reasons expressed above and in this Court's prior
memorandum opinion. As Petitioner presents no other cogent
argument for why he should receive equitable tolling or a
later start date for his limitations period, Petitioner has
presented no valid basis for reconsideration as this Court
has not overlooked any dispositive issue of fact or law nor
did the Court err in dismissing the petition.
Petitioner's Rule 59(e) motion is therefore denied.
conclusion, Petitioner's motion for reconsideration
brought pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) (ECF No. 10) ...