Abu-Ali Abdur'rahman v. Bell

Supreme Court of the United States

537 U.S. 88 (2002)

December 10, 2002

A FRCP 60(b) motion filed in a habeas corpus proceeding to inform a federal court of a state court's interpretation of a new state procedural law does not constitute a successive habeas corpus petition, but nevertheless must be timely filed.

Relevant Facts

The petitioner, Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, was convicted of first-degree murder. During post-conviction proceedings, the petitioner unsuccessfully claimed ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Afterwards, the petitioner presented the same claims to a federal District Court. The District Court barred the claims on procedural grounds and determined that the claims were exhausted. While the petitioner’s certiorari petition was pending, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted Rule 39, which provided that litigants need not seek discretionary review from the court in order to exhaust their claims. As a result, the petitioner filed a federal motion for relief of judgment under Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Procedure and re-presented the previously exhausted claims to the District Court. The District Court denied the claims again because it construed the petitioner’s Rule 60(b) motion a second, or successive habeas corpus petition.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

November 30, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

537 U.S. 88 (2002)