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Rameses v. Kernan


October 8, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge


This petition for writ of habeas corpus was denied on March 31, 2008, and judgment entered accordingly. Petitioner appealed the petition denial to the Ninth Circuit. On April 27, 2010, the mandate of the Ninth Circuit was filed in the district court's case docket, directing that the Ninth Circuit's February 18, 2010, judgment affirming the judgment of the district court take effect.*fn1 See docket # 82 and # 83. Notwithstanding, petitioner now purports to proceed in this court pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b), on a motion for relief from final judgment, apparently predicating his wholly inapposite motion on alleged defects in the proceedings within the district court, including the court's having appointed the Federal Defender to represent him. See docket # 85.

Under Rule 60(b), a party may seek relief from judgment and to re-open his case in limited circumstances, "including fraud, mistake, and newly discovered evidence." Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 528, 125 S.Ct. 2641, 2645-46, 162 L.Ed.2d 480 (2005). Under Rule 60(b) (6), the catchall avenue by which petitioner presumably also seeks to proceed to reopen his case, one must demonstrate "any ... reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment" in situations that are not addressed by the specific circumstances delineated in Rule 60(b)(1)-(5). Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 528-529, 125 S.Ct. 2641, 2646, 162 L.Ed.2d 480 (2005).

A purported Rule 60(b) motion seeking to reopen the judgment of an initial habeas petition brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § § 2254, 2255 is in essence a successive petition, under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b) where it "seeks to add a new ground for relief," or "if it attacks the federal court's previous resolution of a claim on the merits ..." Gonzalez, at 532, 125 S.Ct. at 2648 [emphasis added]. "[A] 'claim' as used in § 2244(b) is an asserted federal basis for relief from a state court's judgment of conviction." Id., at 530, 125 S.Ct. at 2647.

Petitioner protests that he is not herein attacking the district court's previous decision on the merits but on "procedural" grounds. He accuses the district court of being part of some type of scheme to not reach the merits of the arguments petitioner desired the court to reach. The undersigned is not persuaded. This is nothing but a transparent attempt to attack the final decision of the district court along with its interlocutory rulings which indeed did address every cognizable claim raised by petitioner on the merits.*fn2

Thus, at most, petitioner's motion is construed as a successive petition. Under Ninth Circuit Rule 22-3, "[i]f a second or successive petition or motion, or an application for leave to file such an application or motion, is mistakenly submitted to the district court, the district court shall refer it to the court of appeals." The district court has discretion to either transfer that petition to the court of appeals or to dismiss the petition. United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d 200 (4th Cir. 2003)(§ 2255 case); Robinson v. Johnson, 313 F.3d 128, 139-140 (3rd Cir. 2002). In this case, the undersigned will recommend dismissal of the motion, rather than a transfer of the motion to the Ninth Circuit. This court does not have jurisdiction to consider the successive petition without prior authorization by the Ninth Circuit.

Accordingly, IT IS RECOMMENDED that petitioner's motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b) be dismissed.

These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within fourteen days after being served with these findings and recommendations, any party may file written objections with the court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations." Any reply to the objections shall be served and filed within fourteen days after service of the objections. The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court's order. Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991).

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