United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Rashaun Barkley, is a state prisoner who commenced this
habeas proceeding pro se in 2001. Presently pending before
this Court is a sixth motion by Mr. Barkley seeking relief
from the order denying his habeas petition, under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). (DE 91.) For the following
reasons, the motion will be denied.
States District Court Judge Faith S. Hochberg denied Mr.
Barkley's petition for writ of habeas corpus on its
merits in August 2004, and the Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit affirmed that decision in 2006. Thereafter, Mr.
Barkley filed several motions for relief from judgment under
Rule 60(b). Judge Hochberg denied Rule 60(b) motions by Mr.
Barkley in April 2011, June 2011, January 2012, and June
2012. In each denial, Judge Hochberg construed Mr.
Barkley's motion as an attempt to file a second or
successive habeas petition, which the Court may not consider
absent authorization by the Court of Appeals. (See
DE 57, 67, 78, 81.)
April 2016, following Judge Hochberg's retirement, Mr.
Barkley filed another Rule 60(b) motion, which was assigned
to me. In that motion, Mr. Barkley asserted that, following
the denial of his habeas petition, he learned of a plea offer
that his trial counsel had rejected without first presenting
it to him. Furthermore, he alleged that his entire trial file
had been lost or.
by the Public Defender's Office or his defense counsel.
(See DE 84.)
September 8, 2016, 1 denied that motion. (DE 85, 86.) In that
opinion, 1 explained:
To the extent that [Mr. Barkley] asserts that counsel was
ineffective for failing to relay a plea offer to him, he is
challenging the underlying conviction. As described above,
this is not an appropriate subject of a Rule 60(b) motion; it
is in substance a second or successive habeas petition. Mr.
Barkley does not assert that he has received authorization
from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
for such a second or successive petition. Accordingly, this
Court is without jurisdiction to address the claim.
(DE 85 at 4 (citation omitted).) I noted, however, that Mr.
Barkley "also appears to be challenging this Court's
initial denial of his habeas petition by asserting that this
Court did not have access to his trial file."
(Id.) I concluded that, though this could be
considered an argument aimed at vacating his habeas denial,
Mr. Barkley had failed to demonstrate the "extraordinary
circumstances" needed to justify relief under Rule
60(b)(6). (Id. at 4-5.)
subsequently denied a motion by Mr. Barkley for
reconsideration of the order denying his Rule 60(b) motion,
finding that his "contentions are not properly
considered on a motion for reconsideration, because they
contain nothing that was not, or could not have been, raised
on the earlier motion." (DE 89 at 3.) As Judge Hochberg
had done previously, I explained as follows:
Mr. Barkley's Rule 60(b)motion constituted a challenge to
his underlying conviction. Although styled a Rule 60(b)
motion, it was in fact a second or successive § 2254
petition. Such a second or successive petition cannot be
filed without authorization from the United States Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit. Accordingly, the Rule 60(b)
motion was properly rejected.
(Id. at 4.) I additionally reiterated that "Mr.
Barkley is free to seek leave from the Third Circuit to file
a second or successive habeas petition." (Id.
at 4 n.1.)