United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: MOTION FOR MISCELLANEOUS RELIEF (DOC. NO.
C. HALL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
August 14, 2017, the defendant Nelson Gonzalez filed a Motion
for Miscellaneous Relief, asking the court to exercise
discretion under United States v. Holloway, 68
F.Supp.3d 310 (E.D.N.Y. 2014), to request the government to
consent to a reduction of his life sentence. See
Motion for Miscellaneous Relief to Exercise Discretion
(“Mot. for Misc. Relief”) (Doc. No. 444). On
September 5, 2017, the court issued an Order to Show Cause to
the government as to why the relief prayed for in
Gonzalez's Motion should not be granted. See
Order to Show Cause (Doc. No. 445). The government responded
to the Order to Show Cause on September 11, 2017, arguing
that Gonzalez's Motion should be denied. See
Government's Response to Order to Show Cause
(“Gov't's Resp.”) (Doc. No. 446).
following reasons, Gonzalez's Motion is
Motion relies on United States v. Holloway, 68
F.Supp.3d 310. In that case, the defendant filed a motion
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) to reopen his
section 2255 proceeding, but the court found no legal basis
for reopening the proceeding. Id. at 314. Instead,
the court issued an Order “respectfully request[ing]
that the United States Attorney consider exercising her
discretion to agree to an order vacating two or more of
Holloway's 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) convictions.”
Id. The court based its recommendation on
Holloway's considerable evidence of rehabilitation and
the fact that “[h]is sentence was far more severe than
necessary to reflect the seriousness of his crimes and to
adequately protect the community from him.”
Id. at 316. The government agreed, consenting to
withdraw its opposition to the Rule 60(b) motion and to not
oppose the granting of the § 2255 motion. Id.
argues that this court should follow the Eastern District of
New York in Holloway and grant him similar relief.
See Mot. for Misc. Relief. The court first notes
that, as a decision by another district court in this
Circuit, Holloway is not binding on this court. The
Second Circuit has not addressed the type of action taken in
that case. While some courts in other districts have followed
Holloway, others have declined to do so. Compare
Brown v. United States, No. 1:00-CR-290, 2016 WL
4745822, at *2 (N.D. Ohio Sept. 13, 2016)
(“Additionally, Holloway is a district court
decision and does not control. Holloway does not
create an actionable new right under federal law.”);
with United States v. Ledezma-Rodriguez, No.
3:00-CR-00071, 2017 WL 1368983, at *2-3 (S.D. Iowa Apr. 10,
2017) (holding that the court has no unilateral authority to
reduce the defendant's sentence, but “[a]s did the
court in Holloway, ” urging “the U.S.
Attorney to consider taking any available steps toward the
remedy of the inauspicious and undeserving fate that has
befallen this Defendant”). Therefore, the court here is
not bound to follow Holloway.
the court recognized Holloway as persuasive
authority, the court declines to apply Holloway to
this case for two reasons. First, the posture of
Gonzalez's case differs from that of Holloway.
In Holloway, the court made a request to the United
States Attorney in response to Holloway's pending motion
to reopen his § 2255 proceeding under Rule 60(b).
Holloway, 68 F.Supp.3d at 314. Here, the government
correctly notes that Gonzalez has filed neither a § 2255
petition nor a Rule 60(b) motion to reopen his prior §
2255 petition that was filed on August 14, 2001 and denied on
April 17, 2003. See Ruling Denying Motion to Vacate
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. No. 384); Motion to Vacate
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. No. 351).
the court interpreted Gonzalez's Motion for Miscellaneous
Relief as a motion to reopen his prior section 2255 petition,
such a motion would be untimely. Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(c) requires that a Rule 60(b) motion “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
or order or the date of the proceeding.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
60(c)(1). Gonzalez filed the Motion fourteen years after his
section 2255 petition was denied. The court finds that
fourteen years is not a reasonable time, and therefore, even
if the Motion for Miscellaneous Relief were construed as a
Rule 60(b) motion to reopen, it is denied as untimely.
even if the Motion were timely, Holloway's
holding would not apply in Gonzalez's case because the
government has opposed his motion. In Holloway, the
government agreed to withdraw its opposition to the Rule
60(b) motion and to not oppose the underlying section 2255
motion to vacate two of the convictions. Holloway,
68 F.Supp.3d at 315. The Holloway court relies on
this agreement as the basis on which to to vacate
Holloway's sentence and resentence him. See id.
at 315-16 (stating that “the significance of the
government's agreement is clear: it has authorized me to
give Holloway back more than 30 years of his life”).
Other courts after Holloway have held that, absent
the government's agreement, the court does not have
authority to unilaterally reduce or vacate a sentence.
See, e.g., James v. United States, No.
5:13-CV-512-BO, 2017 WL 2992093, at *2 (E.D. N.C. July 13,
2017); United States v. Smith, No.
2:06-CR-42-FTM-29SPC, 2017 WL 2889307, at *2 (M.D. Fla. July
7, 2017); Acuna v. United States, No. 07-00615 SOM,
2016 WL 3747531, at *3 (D. Haw. July 8, 2016)
(“”[The Holloway doctrine] has effect
only if the Government agrees to a reduced sentence. The
Government does not agree here. This court therefore lacks
authority to change the previously imposed
sentences.”). As in those cases, the government here
opposes Gonzalez's Motion for Miscellaneous Relief, so
the court does not have the authority to grant Gonzalez the
relief that he seeks. See Gov't's Resp. at
Therefore, even if the court found Holloway to be
persuasive and Gonzalez's Motion to be timely,
Gonzalez's Motion should still be denied.
reasons stated above, Gonzalez's Motion for Miscellaneous
Relief is DENIED.