United States District Court, D. Alaska
ORDER [RE: MOTION AT DOCKET NO. 34]
K. SINGLETON, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court denied Sean Wright, a former Alaska state prisoner now
represented by counsel, habeas relief and a certificate of
appealability (“COA”) on May 8, 2019. Docket Nos.
32, 33. The Court concluded that Wright, whose sentence on
his 2009 Alaska conviction for sexual abuse had expired prior
to his filing the habeas petition, did not satisfy 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254's in custody requirement. The Court held
that, although Wright was sentenced recently in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee to time
served and five years of supervised release on a federal
conviction for failure to register as a sex offender, his
status on federal supervised release did not render him in
custody “pursuant to the judgment of a State court,
” as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Docket No.
32 at 10 (citing Brock v. Weston, 31 F.3d 887,
889-90 (9th Cir. 1994) (holding that petitioner was no longer
in custody under expired sexual assault conviction for the
purpose of a habeas petition but could satisfy the “in
custody” requirement of § 2254 based on his
current civil confinement pursuant to a state court judgment
under the Washington Sexually Violent Predators Act)).
Docket No. 34, Wright now moves for reconsideration of the
Court's decision, citing Piasecki v. Court of Common
Pleas, Bucks County, PA, 917 F.3d 161 (3d Cir. 2019), a
decision of the Third Circuit that was filed during the
pendency of briefing in the instant case and before this
Court's judgment issued. In Piasecki, the Third
Circuit held that the sex offender registration requirements
under Pennsylvania state law were sufficiently restrictive to
constitute custody, as required for the federal courts to
have jurisdiction over a habeas petition that was filed after
the petitioner's term of probation for child pornography
convictions had expired, but while he was still subject to
registration requirements. Id. at 170. Likewise, the
Piasecki Court held that the sex offender
registration requirements were part of the petitioner's
sentence for child pornography convictions rather than mere
collateral consequence of those convictions. Id. at
motion to reconsider a final appealable order is
appropriately brought under either Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) or 60(b). See Fuller v. M.G.
Jewelry, 950 F.2d 1437, 1442 (9th Cir. 1991). Rule 59(e)
allows a party to seek an order altering or amending a
judgment. Rule 59(e) does not state when a court should
reconsider a prior decision, but the Ninth Circuit has stated
that “Rule 59(e) amendments are appropriate if the
district court ‘(1) is presented with newly discovered
evidence, (2) committed clear error or the initial decision
was manifestly unjust, or (3) if there is an intervening
change in controlling law.'” Dixon v. Wallowa
Cnty., 336 F.3d 1013, 1022 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting
School Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah Cnty. v. ACandS,
Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993)).
the court may relieve a party...from a final judgment, order,
or proceeding for the following reasons: (1) mistake,
inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly
discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could
not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial
under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud . . ., misrepresentation, or
misconduct by an opposing party; (4) the judgment is void;
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged;
it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or
vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable;
or (6) any other reason that justifies relief.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b).
is an “extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly in
the interests of finality and conservation of judicial
resources.” Kona Enters., Inc. v. Estate of
Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890 (9th Cir. 2000); see also
Allstate Ins. Co. v. Herron, 634 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th
Cir. 2011). Moreover, a motion for reconsideration generally
“may not be used to relitigate old matters, or to raise
arguments or present evidence that could have been raised
prior to the entry of judgment.” Exxon Shipping Co.
v. Baker, 554 U.S. 471, 485 n.5 (2008) (referring to
Rule 59(e)); see also Casey v. Albertson's Inc.,
362 F.3d 1254, 1259-61 (9th Cir. 2004) (referring to Rule
60(b)); Kona Enters., 229 F.3d at 890 (interpreting
Rule 59(e)). The sole exception is when the court has
committed “clear” or “manifest”
error. Mere disagreement with a court's order, however,
does not provide a basis for reconsideration. See
McDowell v. Calderon, 197 F.3d 1253, 1256 (9th Cir.
brings his reconsideration motion under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b)(6), which “permits reopening ‘for
any . . . reason that justifies relief' other than the
more specific reasons set forth in Rule 60(b)(1)-(5).”
Jones v. Ryan, 733 F.3d 825, 833 (9th Cir. 2013). He
asks this Court to reconsider its decision in light of the
Third Circuit's decision in Piasecki, which held
that the registration requirements under Pennsylvania's
Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act
(“SORNA”) constituted “custody” for
purposes of establishing federal jurisdiction.
Piasecki, 917 F.3d at 170.
Court, of course, is not bound by the Third Circuit's
decision, which is contrary to those of all circuit courts
who have faced the same issue. See, e.g.,
Hautzenroeder v. Dewine, 887 F.3d 737 (6th Cir.
2018) (Ohio's SORNA); Calhoun v. Att'y Gen.,
745 F.3d 1070, 1074 (10th Cir. 2014) (Colorado); Wilson
v. Flaherty, 689 F.3d 332, 335 (4th Cir. 2012) (Texas
and Virginia); Virsniecks v. Smith, 521 F.3d 707,
717-20 (7th Cir. 2008) (Wisconsin); Johnson v.
Davis, 697 Fed.Appx. 274, 275 (5th Cir. 2017) (Texas);
Dickey v. Allbaugh, 664 Fed.Appx. 690 (10th Cir.
2016) (Oklahoma). Indeed, the Ninth Circuit, the appellate
court whose rulings are binding on this Court, has
consistently concluded that the sex offender registration
requirements it has considered are collateral consequences of
the underlying conviction and do not constitute custody for
purposes of § 2254 jurisdiction. See Henry v.
Lungren, 164 F.3d 1240, 1241-42 (9th Cir. 1999)
(California statute); McNab v. Kok, 170 F.3d 1246,
1247 (9th Cir. 1999) (Oregon statute); Williamson v.
Gregoire, 151 F.3d 1180, 1182-84 (9th Cir. 1998)
(Washington statute). Although Wright urges the Court to
distinguish the Ninth Circuit precedent because the
registration requirements Wright faces under the Tennessee
SORNA are “more onerous” than those the Ninth
Circuit previously considered, Docket No. 34 at 3, this Court
is bound by the reasoning of Williamson and its
progeny, which the Court continues to find both persuasive
and controlling. Any argument to the contrary should be
raised to and decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
has not demonstrated that this Court should reconsider its
earlier decision dismissing with prejudice the First Amended
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for failure to satisfy the