United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WOLFSON, U.S. Chief District Judge.
matter having been brought before the Court by Petitioner
pro se, Isaac Lenin's (“Petitioner”)
request for reconsideration of the Court's Memorandum and
Order denying without prejudice his request for counsel (ECF
No. 10), and Respondents' motion to dismiss the petition
as untimely under The Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) of 1996, Pub. L. No.
104-132, tit. I, § 101 (1996). (ECF No. 11.) For the
reasons explained in this Memorandum and Order, the motion
for reconsideration is denied without prejudice to
Petitioner' filing of a new motion for counsel. The Court
also denies without prejudice Respondents motion to dismiss
and directs them to file a full answer.
Court recounts only the facts that are relevant to the
instant motions. On November 11, 2018, another inmate
submitted on Petitioner's behalf a letter requesting that
the Court appoint counsel to represent him in his habeas
proceeding. (See ECF No. 7.) By Memorandum and Order
dated April 10, 2019, the Court denied without prejudice the
request for counsel and directed Respondents to answer the
Petition. (ECF No. 8.)
denying the request for counsel, the Court explained that a
habeas petitioner has no constitutional or statutory right to
representation by counsel. Reese v. Fulcomer, 946
F.2d 247, 263 (3d Cir. 1991), superseded by statute on
other grounds 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Nevertheless, under
18 U.S.C. § 3006A, courts may appoint counsel to habeas
petitioners if they are “financially eligible”
and if “the interests of justice so require.” 18
U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B). In determining whether the
interests of justice support the appointment of counsel,
“the district court must first decide if the petitioner
has presented a nonfrivolous claim and if the appointment of
counsel will benefit the petitioner and the court.”
Reese, 946 F.2d at 263. Such an inquiry includes
consideration of the petitioner's likelihood of success
on the merits, the proceeding's legal complexity, and the
petitioner's ability to investigate and present his case.
See, e.g., Fuscaldo v. Nogan, Civ. No.
16-4198 (JMV), 2016 WL 5660436, at *1-2 (D.N.J. Sept. 28,
2016); Shelton v. Hollingsworth, Civ. A. No. 15-1249
(JBS), 2015 WL 5116851, at *2 (D.N.J. Aug. 31, 2015).
Court declined to appoint counsel prior to an Answer because
the Petition was articulately drafted and extremely detailed,
and there was no evidence before the Court of
Petitioner's financial eligibility under § 3006A.
The Court noted that in the event an evidentiary hearing was
necessary, the Court would sua sponte reconsider
Petitioner's application. (See ECF No. 8.)
now seeks reconsideration of the Court's denial of his
request for counsel. “[R]econsideration is an
extraordinary remedy, that is granted very sparingly.”
Brackett v. Ashcroft, No. 03-3988, 2003 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 21312, at *5, 2003 WL 22303078 (D.N.J. Oct. 7, 2003). A
court will grant a motion for reconsideration only if the
movant establishes: (1) an intervening change in the
controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that
was not previously available; 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) (citing
N. River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d
1194, 1218 (3d Cir.1995)). Under Local Civil Rule 7.1(i), a
party making a motion for reconsideration must submit a
“brief setting forth concisely the matter or
controlling decisions which the party believes the Judge ...
has overlooked.” D.N.J. Civ. R. 7.1(i). In other words,
the movant may address only matters that were presented to
the Court, but were not considered by the Court in making the
decision at issue. United States v. Compaction Sys.
Corp., 88 F.Supp.2d 339, 345 (D.N.J. 1999).
request for reconsideration, Petitioner has provided a
certified account statement establishing his indigence.
Providing new information to the court that was previously
available is not a valid basis for reconsideration.
Petitioner has further asserted that the issues in his habeas
petition are complex, and that he lacks the knowledge
required to litigate this matter, including the ability to
read and do legal research. Petitioner also states that he
has limited access to the law library and that paralegal
assistance is not readily available at South Woods State
Prison. (See ECF No. 10.) In that regard,
the Court notes that it has conducted a search of the New
Jersey Inmate Locator, and it appears that Petitioner is no
longer housed at South Woods State Prison and is currently
incarcerated at Northern State Prison. Thus, it is not
clear if Petitioner now has access to paralegals to assist
him at Northern State Prison. For all these reasons, the
Court will deny the motion for reconsideration without
prejudice to Petitioner's filing of a new motion for
28, 2019, Respondents moved to dismiss the petition as
untimely in lieu of an Answer. (ECF No. 11.) Petitioner filed
a response on June 12, 2019. (ECF No. 13.) In the motion to
dismiss, Respondents assert that the Petition is untimely
under AEDPA, which generally requires a state prisoner file
his or her federal habeas petition within one year after his
or her conviction becomes final. See Thompson v.
Adm'r N.J. State Prison, 701 Fed.Appx. 118, 121 (3d
Cir. 2017); Ross v. Varano, 712 F.3d 784, 798 (3d
Cir. 2013). Specifically, AEDPA provides that:
(d)(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an
application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in
custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The
limitation period shall run from the latest of-
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the
conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for
seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application
created by State action in violation of the Constitution or
laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was
prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was
initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has
been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made
retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or
claims presented could have been discovered through the
exercise of due diligence.
(2) The time during which a properly filed application for
State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect
to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be
counted toward ...