United States v. Washington

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-08-2011
  • Case #: 09-56569
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Ikuta for the Court; Circuit Judge O’Scannlain; Senior District Judge Piersol
  • Full Text Opinion

The use of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) may not be used like 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to reopen appellate cases without the § 2255 requirement for a certificate of appealability.

In 1996 Fulton Washington was convicted of conspiring to manufacture phencyclidine (“PCP”). When combined with his prior convictions, Washington faced mandatory life imprisonment. After an unfavorable appeal decision, Washington tried using F.C.P. 60(b) to reopen his case hear new issues not raised in his original appeal. The district court heard and denied his motion and Washington appealed. The Ninth Circuit held that because his motion went toward the merits of his appeal it was a § 2255 motion for a second appeal and needed pre- authorization through a certificate of appealability. Without the certificate the district court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the § 2255 motion and the denial is remanded with orders that the case be dismissed. VACATED and REMANDED with instructions to DISMISS.

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