United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
KEITH WATKINS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Plaintiff Therral Hatfield's pro se
Motion for Reconsideration Pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6). (Doc. #
67.) Final judgment was entered in Mr. Hatfield's 28
U.S.C. § 2255 application on October 21, 2015. (Doc. #
54.) Mr. Hatfield asserts that he is due relief from that
judgment because of fraud and misconduct by the Government
and his defense attorney that resulted in the court relying
on false evidence in ruling on his claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel. (Doc. # 67, at 2.) Specifically, Mr.
Hatfield presents a new affidavit by Latasha Hill in which
she claims to have lied in her trial testimony that Mr.
Hatfield aimed and fired a gun at her on March 26, 2010, when
in fact (she says now) Mr. Hatfield only accidentally fired
the gun. (Doc. # 67-4, at 2.) She also says that she was not
on the phone with the 911 operator when the gun went off (as
she previously testified), and instead that she called the
police only after the shooting occurred. (Doc. # 67-4, at 2.)
According to Mr. Hatfield, this new evidence “prov[es]
the 911 call was actually favorable to petitioner and not
prejudicial as the government and trial counsel falsely
presented to the court, ” that his counsel was thus
constitutionally inadequate for failing to play the recording
for the jury, and therefore that his § 2255 application
would have been granted but for the court's reliance on
his attorney's statement that the recording was
incriminating. (Doc. # 67, at 5.)
court liberally construes Mr. Hatfield's motion because
he is proceeding pro se. Campbell v. Air Jamaica
Ltd., 760 F.3d 1165, 1169 (11th Cir. 2014). Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a
final judgment under a limited set of circumstances,
including fraud and newly discovered evidence - the two
categories that most closely fit Mr. Hatfield's plea for
relief. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(2), (3).
Unfortunately, those categories also come with a strict time
limitation: “A motion under Rule 60(b) must be made
within a reasonable time - and for reasons (1), (2), and (3)
no more than a year after the entry of the judgment.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 (c)(1). Because final judgment was entered in
Mr. Hatfield's § 2255 application on October 21,
2015, his Rule 60 motion on these grounds is
this, Mr. Hatfield notes that motions under Rule 60(b)(5) and
(b)(6) need only be “made within a reasonable
time.” (Doc. # 67, at 1 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
60(b)(c)(1)).) True. But while subsection (b)(5) speaks in
seemingly broad terms about providing relief if
“applying [the judgment] prospectively is no longer
equitable, ” the Eleventh Circuit has made clear that
this avenue is foreclosed to habeas petitioners. Griffin
v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 787 F.3d 1086,
1091 (11th Cir. 2015).
leaves Rule 60(b)(6)'s “any other reason that
justifies relief.” This route would require Mr.
Hatfield to demonstrate “circumstances [that] are
sufficiently extraordinary to warrant relief.”
Toole v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 235 F.3d 1304,
1317 (11th Cir. 2000). To be sure, a judgment resulting from
a fraud perpetrated on the court can meet this high bar.
See Rozier v. Ford Motor Co., 573 F.2d 1332, 1338
(5th Cir. 1978). But “only the most egregious
misconduct, such as bribery of a judge or members of a jury,
or the fabrication of evidence by a party in which an
attorney is implicated, will constitute a fraud on the
court” for these purposes. Id. (emphasis
added) (citation omitted).
Hatfield has not shown that such fraud occurred here. Even
accepting as true Ms. Hill's affidavit that she lied at
trial about the details of the March 26 shooting, this new
evidence does not show that the evidence on which the court
relied in ruling on Mr. Hatfield's § 2255
application was fabricated, nor that Mr. Hatfield's
attorney was somehow implicated in Ms. Hill's perjury. In
fact, as the Magistrate Judge wrote in the Recommendation the
court adopted, Mr. Hatfield's trial attorney
“vigorously cross-examined [Ms. Hill] on this subject
and suggested that the firearm had accidentally
discharged.” (Doc. # 51, at 18.) To the extent Mr.
Hatfield contends that the outcome of his trial
would have been different had Ms. Hill testified truthfully,
that presents a new habeas claim on the merits, which the
court does not have jurisdiction to consider absent
authorization from the Eleventh Circuit. See Gonzales v.
Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 532 (2005); cf. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2255(h), 2244(b)(3)(A).
it is ORDERED that Mr. Hatfield's Motion for
Reconsideration Pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6) (Doc. # 67) is
 Even if timely, a Rule 60(b)(2) motion
for relief based on newly discovered evidence typically
presents a new habeas application and is therefore governed
by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). See Gonzales v. Crosby,
545 U.S. 524, 531 (2005) (citing Rodwell v. Pepe,
324 F.3d 66, 69 (1st Cir. 2003)); see also 28 U.S.C.
 In Bonner v. City of
Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 1981) (en
banc), the Eleventh Circuit adopted as binding precedent all
decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to