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Argued February 1, 2002

Eric Hicks received a Certificate of Appealability (“COA”) to challenge a District Court decision striking his motion to supplement an application for collateral relief under 28 U.S.C. s 2255. After being convicted in federal court on various drug distribution and conspiracy offenses, Hicks filed a s 2255 motion claiming that, by offering leniency to some of its witnesses in exchange for their testimony, the Government had tainted his trial and made his continued incarceration unlawful. While this motion was still pending before the District Court, the Supreme Court decided Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). Hicks believed that the Court’s decision offered him another possible avenue of relief, so he sought to supplement his s 2255 application with an Apprendi claim. He failed, however, to submit this claim until after the trial court had denied his original motion. Hicks’ proposed supplement was therefore stricken as untimely.

Hicks then asked the District Court to reconsider its decision. It did so, but only to strike the supplementary pleading again, this time on a different ground: because it did not “relate back” to Hicks’ original s 2255 motion. See United States v. Hicks, Order, Crim. No. 93-0097-02 (Feb. 22, 2001) (“Reconsideration Order”), reprinted in Record Material for Appellee (“RMA”)-J. This ruling formed the basis for Hicks’ COA and, accordingly, it is this ruling that is at issue here. Hicks’ challenge, however, fails.

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