United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
LOUIS H. MATHEWS, Petitioner,
STEVEN SILVA, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON MOTIONS FOR RELIEF AND
Dennis Saylor, United States District Judge.
a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Petitioner Louis Mathews is an inmate at
Massachusetts Correctional Institution - Norfolk in Norfolk,
Massachusetts. Respondent Steven Silva is the current
superintendent at MCI-Norfolk.
was convicted of first-degree murder in December 2005. The
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court denied his appeal in
March 2008, and a single justice of the SJC denied his appeal
concerning a motion for new trial in May 2009. This petition
was filed in December 2009.
petition as filed contained both exhausted and unexhausted
claims. In March 2011, Judge Gertner of this court, to whom
the case was originally drawn, stayed the petition in order
to permit Mathews to pursue two unexhausted claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel. The unexhausted claims, in
substance, are that trial counsel failed to investigate and
assert a third-party-culprit defense and that appellate
counsel failed to seek correction of the trial transcript.
The undersigned judge was assigned to the case in July 2012.
number of status reports and hearings, the Court eventually
concluded that the ongoing state litigation did not address
the two claims as to which the stay had been issued. It
accordingly lifted the stay on January 31, 2019. Mathews
twice filed motions for reconsideration of this issue, both
of which the Court denied.
Court ordered Mathews to make an election as to whether he
intends to proceed with only his exhausted claims or dismiss
the entire petition. After several extensions of time, the
Court set a final deadline of July 15, 2019, as to that
on June 11, 2019, the clerk entered an electronic order
dismissing the case. That order was entered in error and
without the knowledge of the undersigned judge.
meantime, Mathews filed a document on July 15, 2019,
indicating his intention to proceed only on the exhausted
has filed two motions for relief from judgment under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60. The first is directed to the decision to
lift the stay and the second to the dismissal of the case.
reasons outlined below, the Court will deny the motion as to
the stay; grant the motion as to vacating the dismissal; and
set a schedule for briefing of the petition.
provides two paths for relief from a judgment or order. Under
Rule 60(a), “[t]he court may correct a clerical mistake
or a mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one
is found in a judgment, order, or other part of the record.
The court may do so on its own, with or without
notice.” Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 60(a). Under Rule 60(b), the
court may “relieve a party or its legal representatives
from a final judgment, order, or proceeding” for reason