United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
is self-represented Petitioner Jermaine Bernard
Blackwell's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. (ECF
No. 1). Respondents have filed a Limited Answer (ECF No. 7)
to which Blackwell filed a Reply. (ECF No. 8). The matter is
ready for resolution, and no hearing is necessary. Local Rule
105.6. For reasons set forth below, the Petition will be
construed as a Motion for Reconsideration of the dismissal of
Blackwell's petition in Blackwell v. Bishop, et
al., Civil Action No. RDB-14-1538 (D. Md. 2014) and
GRANTED. The instant petition is otherwise DISMISSED WITHOUT
September 9, 2014, in Civil Action RDB-14-1538, this Court
denied and dismissed as time-barred Blackwell's Petition
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus filed pursuant 28 U.S.C. §
2254., In that case Blackwell challenged his convictions
entered by the Circuit Court for Baltimore City for felony
murder and lesser offenses. Applying then district law, this
Court determined Blackwell's motion for reconsideration
of sentence under Maryland Rule 4-345(e), did not toll the
limitation period under 28 U.S.C.
§2244(d)(2)(statutorily tolling the limitation period
for "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").
years later, on April 17, 2019, the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Mitchell v. Green,
922 F.3d 187 (4th Cir. 2019), held that a state motion for
reconsideration of sentence tolls the time for filing a
federal habeas petition. Mitchell, 922 F.3d at
195-98. In response to Mitchell, on August 12, 2019,
Blackwell filed this §2254 petition, explaining that he
was "resubmitting" his petition for
"review" in accordance with Mitchell. [ECF
argue the instant Petition should be dismissed for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction because it is successive and
Blackwell has not obtained appellate prefiling authorization.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A) ("Before a
second or successive application ... is filed in the district
court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of
appeals for an order authorizing the district court to
consider the application."). Blackwell submitted this
filing on a pre-printed §2254 form, and it was docketed
accordingly. (ECF No. 1). Review of the filing, however,
makes clear that is properly construed as a motion for relief
of judgment. See Castro v. United States, 540 U.S.
375, 381 (2003) (stating that a court may recharacterize a
motion filed by a self-represented litigant to create better
correspondence between the subject matter of the motion and
its underlying legal basis). Respondents also appear to
recognize Blackwell's intent, arguing in the alternative
that if the Petition is construed as a Motion for Relief from
final judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60, it
should be denied.
60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that a motion for relief from a final judgment, must be filed
within a reasonable time, and must establish extraordinary
circumstances. Moses v. Joyner, 815 F.3d 163, 168
(4th Cir. 2016). Citing Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S.
524, 53 5 (2005), the Fourth Circuit has noted that in habeas
matters changes in procedural law rarely justify reopening
long closed cases. Moses, 815 F.3d at 168.
recently, a Rule 60(b) Motion for reconsideration was granted
in Savoy v. Bishop, DKC-13-751 (D. Md. 2014), a
long-closed case that was dismissed as untimely based on the
court's determination that Petitioner's motion for
reconsideration of sentence under Maryland Rule 4-345(e) did
not toll the limitations period. In granting reconsideration,
the Honorable Deborah K. Chasanow stated:
Here, unlike in Gonzalez and Moses, the
decision in Mitchell v. Green overturned an unbroken
line of cases in this district that, until the attorney
representing Mr. Mitchell thoroughly briefed the issue,
appeared beyond question. The Fourth Circuit had considered
two cases that appeared to raise the issue, but resolved them
without reaching the point. Petitioner cannot be faulted for
not seeking a certificate of appealability under the
circumstances. As soon as the Fourth Circuit decided
Mitchell v. Green, he sought relief from the
judgment. Respondent concedes that he acted in a timely
Savoy v. Bishop, DKC-13-751, ECF No. 40 at 3.
Blackwell's case, Respondents acknowledge that Blackwell
filed this "motion within a little less than four months
of Mitchell's issuance... and do not argue here the
motion was unreasonably late." (ECF No. 7, note 2).
Accordingly, this Court concludes that reconsideration of the
decision dismissing Blackwell's petition as untimely is
Court finds Blackwell's Petition is more appropriately
considered as a Rule 60(b)(6) motion for reconsideration of
judgment in Civil Action No. RDB-14-1538 and SHALL GRANT the
motion. Respondents shall file a supplemental answer
addressing the claims in the Petition within forty days.
Blackwell may file a Reply to the Supplemental Answer
twenty-eight days thereafter. To the extent Blackwell
improvidently initiated this action as a new §2254
proceeding, it shall be dismissed without prejudice. A
certificate of appealability shall not issue. 28 U.S.C.
§2253(c)(2) (when a district court dismisses a habeas