Jones v. Ryan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 10-18-2013
  • Case #: 13-16928
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Gould for the Court; Circuit Judges Tallman and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

When new claims not present in the original habeas corpus petition are asserted in a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment, the motion can be construed as a second petition subject to denial for lack of authorization.

Robert Glen Jones, Jr. was convicted of six murders and sentenced to death in Arizona state court in 1998. He filed a federal habeas corpus petition, denied in August 2012. After a recent Supreme Court decision, Jones filed a motion seeking relief from judgment under Rule 60(b)(6). In this motion he brought up new claims of ineffective assistance not present in his original habeas petition. His motion was denied in district court as an unauthorized second or successive habeas corpus petition. Jones sought and was granted appeal by the Ninth Circuit. Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), a petitioner is generally limited to one federal habeas corpus petition. The AEDPA provides that new claims brought up in a second petition must be based on “a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable” or “newly discovered facts.” The panel stated that a 60(b) motion will be considered as a successive habeas petition when it “does not attack ‘the integrity of the proceedings, but in effect asks for a second chance to have the merits determined favorably.” The panel found that Jones’ claims were in effect asking for a second determination on the merits and thus his Rule 60(b) motion was actually a second habeas petition. Since he had not sought leave to file a second petition, the denial of his Rule 60(b) motion was upheld. Further, to give Jones’ case a full review due to his impending death sentence, the Court looked to the merits of his second petition, and found that it would have been proper to deny his petition on the merits notwithstanding his procedural defects. AFFIRMED.

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