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Matlean v. Williams

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 6, 2019

JAMES MATLEAN, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, et al., Respondents.

          ORDER

          HOWARD D. MCKIBBEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This court granted respondents' motion to dismiss James Matlean's 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition in part (ECF No. 28). The court concluded that several claims did not relate back to the second-amended petition and thus were subject to dismissal as time-barred. Now before the court is Matlean's motion for reconsideration of that order (ECF No. 30). Respondents opposed (ECF No. 32), and Matlean replied (ECF No. 33).

         District courts possess inherent authority to reconsider and rescind interlocutory orders while a case remains pending. See Los Angeles v. Santa Monica Baykeeper, 254 F.3d 882, 885 (9th Cir. 2001). Changes in legal or factual circumstances, newly discovered evidence, clear error, a manifestly unjust decision by the court, or an intervening change in controlling law may warrant reconsideration. LR 59-1(a). However, motions for reconsideration are disfavored. LR 59-1(b).

         Matlean urges the court to reconsider its decision that several claims in the third-amended petition do not relate back and are untimely (ECF No. 30). Matlean reasserts his argument that the claims in his second-amended petition need only relate back to either his original pro se filing or his pro se first-amended petition.

         As set forth in this court's order granting the motion to dismiss in part and in the original order directing Matlean to amend, Matlean's first filing failed to set forth any grounds for federal habeas relief. This court specifically explained:

Petitioner's filing is insufficient. He must set forth each ground for federal habeas relief in the space provided on this court's form and otherwise complete the form. The court shall not sort through the more than 100 pages in an attempt to discern what claims petitioner wishes to raise. Moreover, petitioner has not indicated what grounds he asserted in his still-pending second state postconviction. Accordingly, petitioner shall, within forty-five days of the date of this order, file an amended petition, on the court's form, that sets forth each ground for which he seeks federal relief (ECF No. 5, pp. 1-2).
In response to that order, Matlean timely filed his first-amended petition (ECF No. 8).

         Matlean argues that his original petition sufficiently incorporated the attachments he included, and therefore, that claims in his third-amended petition may relate back to either his original or first-amended petition. Habeas Rule 2 prescribes that a petitioner must use the court-required form or substantially follow the form and that the petition must specify all grounds for relief available to the petitioner and the facts supporting each ground. The Supreme Court has recognized an exception when the habeas petition expressly incorporates attached material by reference. Dye v. Hofbauer, 546 U.S. 1 (2005). In Dye, the Court concluded that incorporation was sufficient because the habeas corpus petition “made clear and repeated references to an appended supporting brief, which presented [petitioner's] federal claim with more than sufficient particularity.” Id. at 4.

         Matlean argues in the motion for reconsideration that the subsequent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals July 2018 opinion in Ross v. Williams supports his position. 896 F.3d 958. In Ross, the petitioner used this court's form, but wrote substantially the same thing under each ground:

         Counsel was ineffective for failing to:

1) Secure a speedy trial
2) Failed to review evidence and adequately prepare
3) Failed to file pretrial motions
4) Failed to argue the prejudice of evidence lost prior ...

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