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Wright v. Lee

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

December 15, 2016

IAN WRIGHT, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN LEE, Respondent.

          RULING AND ORDER

          Stefan R. Underhill United States District Judge

         Currently pending before me are Wright's motions for court order, Doc. No. 120; for an immediate hearing, Docs. No. 121 & 127; for severance, Doc. No. 123; for status conference, Doc. No. 124; for disqualification, Doc. No. 125; and to supplement the affidavit in support of his motion for disqualification, Doc. No. 126. I grant Wright's motion to supplement the affidavit in support of his motion for disqualification, and deny his other motions.

         I. Notice of Withdrawal [Doc. No. 117]

         On July 29, 2009, Wright initiated the instant action by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in which he challenged his 2002 convictions for murder and for carrying a pistol without a permit. Doc. No. 1. On April 14, 2010, I granted Wright's motion to stay the action until he exhausted all of his claims. See Doc. No. 12. On May 22, 2013, I granted Wright's motion to lift the stay. See Doc. No. 24. On February 10, 2014, on Wright's motion, I re-imposed the stay. See Doc. No. 41. On April 7, 2014, Wright filed a motion to lift the stay and an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus. See Doc. No. 44. The State filed a response to the amended petition on October 9, 2014. See Doc. No. 72. From November 2014 to November 2015, Wright sought, and I granted, leave to file multiple memoranda and appendices in reply to the State's response to the amended petition. See Docs. Nos. 81-102.

         On August 31, 2015, Wright filed a second habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, in which he challenged the same 2002 convictions that are the subject of the present petition. See Wright v. Falcone, No. 3:15-cv-1308 (SRU). The Falcone petition raised two new claims. See id., Doc. No. 1. On November 10, 2015, the State moved to treat the Falcone petition as a motion to amend the amended petition in the present case. See id., Doc. No. 7. In response, on November 17, 2015, Wright filed motions to dismiss and to withdraw the Falcone petition. See id., Docs. Nos. 8 & 9.

         On November 17, 2015, in the current action, Wright filed a motion for relief from judgment. See Doc. No. 100. On November 28, 2015, I issued an order consolidating Wright v. Falcone with the present case. See Doc. No. 106. Pursuant to the order of consolidation, the Clerk docketed in the instant case Wright's motions to dismiss and to withdraw the Falcone petition, and the State's motion to treat the Falcone petition as a motion to amend the amended petition in the present case. On November 24, 2015, Wright filed motions for an immediate hearing and for a court order. See Docs. Nos. 108 & 109.

         On January 11, 2016, I denied Wright's motions to dismiss and to withdraw the Falcone petition; for relief from judgment or order; for an immediate hearing; and for a court order, as well as the State's motion to treat the Falcone petition as motion to amend the amended petition in the present action. See Doc. No. 116. I also directed Wright to file a notice in which he either: (1) agreed to characterize the section 2241 Falcone petition as a motion for leave to file a second amended section 2254 petition in the instant case; or (2) withdrew the Falcone petition. See Id. at 5-6. I further ruled that if Wright withdrew the Falcone petition or did not respond to my order, I would dismiss that petition, and the current action would proceed only with regard to the claims raised in Wright's first amended petition. See Id. at 6.

         On January 13, 2016, Wright filed a notice of withdrawal of the Falcone petition. Therefore, I dismiss the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in Wright v. Falcone, No. 3:15-cv-1308 (SRU), Doc. No. 1. The Clerk shall also docket a copy of this Order in Wright v. Falcone, Case No. 3:15-cv-1308 (SRU), and indicate in the docket text that the Falcone petition has been dismissed.

         II. Motion for Court Order [Doc No. 120] Motions for an Immediate Hearing [Docs Nos. 121 & 127] Motion for Severance [Doc. No. 123]

         In Wright's motion for court order, Doc. No. 120, he seeks rulings on (i) his motion to file a supplemental reply to the State's memorandum in opposition to his amended habeas petition, Doc. No. 110, and (ii) his notice of withdrawal of the Falcone petition, Doc. No. 117. On December 3, 2015, I granted Wright's motion to file a supplemental reply to the State's memorandum in opposition, and directed the Clerk to docket the supplemental reply attached to Wright's motion. See Doc. No. 112. The Clerk docketed the supplemental reply on December 7, 2015. See Doc. No. 113. Because I previously ruled on Wright's motion to supplement his reply to the State's memorandum in opposition, and because I have now dismissed the Falcone petition, I deny Wright's motion for court order.

         Wright also seeks an immediate hearing to address his motion for court order, and requests an order to sever the current case from Wright v. Falcone. Because I already ruled on Wright's motion for court order and dismissed the petition filed in Wright v. Falcone, I deny as moot Wright's motions for an immediate hearing and for severance.

         III. Motion for Disqualification [Doc. No. 125] Motion to Supplement Affidavit [Doc. No. 126]

         Wright moves to disqualify me, arguing that I have shown bias in favor of the State and prejudice towards him. Wright also has moved for leave to supplement the affidavit filed in support of his motion for disqualification. I grant Wright's motion for leave to supplement the affidavit, but deny his motion for disqualification.

         A judge must recuse himself “in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). The test employed to determine whether recusal is required is an objective one and is “based on what a reasonable person knowing all the facts would conclude.” Chase Manhattan Bank v. Affiliated FM Ins. Co., 343 F.3d 120, 127 (2d Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). A judge must recuse himself or herself if circumstances exist that constitute an objectively reasonable basis upon which to question the judge's impartiality, i.e., if circumstances show “a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment almost impossible.” Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994). “[J]udicial ...


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