Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Use of 60(b) in Habeas Proceedings

Stefan Ellis, Note, Gonzalez v. Crosby and the Use of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) in Habeas Proceedings, 13 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 207 (2010).

The Supreme Court's decision in Gonzalez v. Crosby creates a framework in which state prisoners who are denied federal habeas relief may invoke Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to seek review of the decision without impermissibly circumventing 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)'s restrictions on second or successive habeas petitions ("SSHP"). While the plain language of 28 U.S.C. §2244 bars the use of SSHP under most circumstances, the applicability of Rule 60(b) to habeas proceedings has not received quite as much focus.

The final section of this comment discusses the impact of Gonzalez, relying on a 2009 decision in the Ninth Circuit to demonstrate how the application of Rule 60(b) to the habeas process addresses fears that an overly broad reading of AEDPA may restrict the ability of state prisoners to raise legitimate issues regarding the process by which a district court denied their original applications for habeas relief.

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