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Johnson v. United States

January 5, 2010

THEODORE JOHNSON, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

I. Introduction

Before the Court is petitioner Theodore Johnson's Motion Pursuant to a Defect in the Section 2255 Proceeding (Doc. 18). Previously in this case, the Court issued a Memorandum & Order (Doc. 8), dated March 12, 2003, which denied upon the merits Petitioner's Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence (Doc. 1). Judgment to this effect was entered accordingly. Over six years later, Petitioner filed the instant Motion (Doc. 18), in which he asserts that the Court's order denying his § 2255petition did not contain "findings of fact" and "conclusions of law," arguing that such is required by FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 52(a). Petitioner further argues that the Court's failure to comply with Rule 52(a) constitutes "extraordinary circumstances," which justify setting aside the Court's judgment in this matter pursuant to FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 60(b)(6). For the reasons set forth herein, Petitioner's Motion is found to be without merit.

II. Discussion

A. Legal Standard

Petitioner seeks relief pursuant to FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 60(b)(6). Essentially, "'Rule 60(b) relief is an extraordinary remedy and is granted only in exceptional circumstances.'" Karraker v. Rent-A-Center, Inc., 411 F.3d 831, 837 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Flanders Elec. Motor Serv., Inc., 131 F.3d 625, 628 (7th Cir. 1997)). "A Rule 60(b) motion permits relief from judgment when it is based on one of six specific grounds listed in the rule." Talano v. Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, Inc., 273 F.3d 757, 762 (7th Cir. 2001). Rule 60(b) provides, in pertinent part:

The Court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (1)mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.

FED.R.CIV.P.60(b) (emphasis added).

To warrant reopening a final judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6), one must make a showing of "extraordinary circumstances." However, such a showing "will rarely occur in the habeas context." Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 535 (2005). Further, Rule 60(b)(6) cannot be used as a "substitute for a timely appeal." Bell v. Eastman Kodak Co., 214 F.3d 798, 801 (7th Cir. 2000). In other words, the grounds upon which a Rule 60(b)(6) motion is based cannot be the same grounds that could "have been used to obtain a reversal on direct appeal." Id.

B. Analysis

Here, Petitioner believes that the Court's Memorandum & Order (Doc. 8) denying his § 2255 petition in this case was "defective" for its failure to include findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52(a), which reads in part:

In an action tried on the facts without a jury or with an advisory jury, the court must find the facts specially and state its conclusions of law separately. The findings and conclusions may be stated on the record after the close of the evidence or may appear in an opinion or a memorandum of decision filed by the court. Judgment must be entered under Rule 58.

FED.R.CIV. P. 52(a)(1). The Court does not believe the requirements of Rule 52(a) are applicable to its previous Memorandum & Order (Doc. 8), which denied Petitioner's § 2255 petition. The Court denied the § 2255 petition upon review of the Parties' arguments contained ...


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