Washington v. Ryan

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 06-17-2015
  • Case #: 05-990099
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Gould for the Court; Circuit Judges Krozinski and N. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

A Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) motion will not be granted if a party’s sole purpose for filing the motion is to remedy an untimely notice of appeal and avoid the statutory time limit.

Theodore Washington was convicted first-degree murder, among other charges, and was sentenced to death. After conviction, Washington filed a petition for habeas corpus, which contained many claims that the district court found to be procedurally barred. In response, Washington filed a motion to amend the judgment, which was denied by the district court. Washington filed an appeal one business day after Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule ("Fed. R. Civ. P. “) 4(a)’s thirty day deadline expired, as well as filing a motion for a certificate of appealability (“COA”). After the district court granted Washington’s COA for three of his claims, Washington filed a Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion to vacate the judgment of the district court. Washington’s Rule 60(b) motion was denied, to which he appealed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s order and remanded the issue of the Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion to the district court, who again denied Washington’s motion. The panel found that that Washington’s untimely appeal deprived them of the jurisdiction to hear the notice of appeal. The panel also held that Washington’s COA was not a motion for an extension of time, given that Washington’s attorney failed to meet the deadline. However, the panel refused to find this attorney neglect as rising to the level of extraordinary circumstances or attorney abandonment that would allow relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). The panel agreed with the district court and denied Washington’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the motion could not extend the time allowed to file an appeal. DISMISSED in part, AFFIRMED in part.

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