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Carreras v. Grondolsky

July 9, 2009

HUMBERT CARRERAS, PETITIONER,
v.
JEFF GRONDOLSKY, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, District Judge

HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE

OPINION

This matter is before the court because Humbert Carreras filed a petition for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241,*fn1 challenging his conviction and sentence on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. In response, Jeff Grondolsky ("Respondent") has moved pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) to dismiss this Petition for a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. For the reasons set forth below, this Court grants the Respondent's motion to dismiss because this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider the instant Petition.

I. BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the instant Petition and the earlier petitions Mr. Carreras filed, and are accepted as true for the purposes of this Opinion.

A. Conviction and Direct Appeal

Humbert Carreras ("Petitioner") is a federal prisoner in the custody of the Federal Corrections Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey. (Docket Item 1 at 1.) The Petitioner has been incarcerated since 1995, when he was tried and convicted by a jury in the District Court for the District of Puerto Rico for drug-trafficking crimes pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846. (Id. at 2; see also Carreras v. DeRosa, Civil Action No. 04-3704 (JEI) dkt. item 2 at 1; United States v. Carreras, 851 F. Supp. 502, 504 (D.P.R. 1994) (detailing factual background of the Petitioner's criminal conduct)). The Petitioner appealed his conviction on various grounds,*fn2 but the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed his conviction. United State v. Cruz, 86 F.3d 1147, 1996 WL 228563 , at *2 (1st Cir. 1996) (unpublished disposition).

B. Collateral Challenges

During the last fourteen years of incarceration, the Petitioner has repeatedly and unsuccessfully challenged the validity of his conviction and sentence through a variety of procedural mechanisms.*fn3

In 1997, the Petitioner filed his initial habeas petition pursuant to § 2255 in the District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, challenging his conviction for, inter alia, ineffective assistance of counsel. (Docket Item 1 at 2; see also 2004 Pet. at 3.) That District Court denied his petition and subsequent application for a certificate of appealability. (Docket Item 1 at 2.) Similarly, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejected two appeals of the District Court's ruling. (Id. at 3; Carreras v. United States, No. 98-1746 (1st Cir. Feb. 4, 1999); Carreras v. United States, No. 98-1746 (1st Cir. Feb. 6, 1998)).

In 1999, the Petitioner redirected his efforts from the sentencing district to the custodial district, the District of New Jersey. He filed a habeas petition pursuant to § 2241 in this Court, challenging his conviction for, inter alia, ineffective assistance of counsel. (1999 Pet. at 6.) The Hon. Joseph E. Irenas denied the petition, finding the Court did not have jurisdiction under In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245 (3d Cir. 1997). (Docket Item 1 at 3; Carreras v. Beeler, Civil Action No. 99-3399 (JEI); see Carreras v. DeRosa, Civil Action No. 04-3704 (JEI) dkt. item 2 at 3). The Petitioner appealed, and the Third Circuit affirmed this Court's ruling. (Docket Item 1 at 3); Carreras v. Beeler, 216 F.3d 1075 (3d Cir. 1999).

In 2001, the Petitioner applied to the First Circuit for certification to file a second habeas petition pursuant to § 2255, based on the ruling in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). Again, the Petitioner's claim was denied. (Docket Item 1 at 3); Carreras v. United States, No. 01-1188 (1st Cir. Feb. 8, 2001); see e.g. Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117 (3d Cir. 2002) (holding that Apprendi-based claims do not fall within the scope of the Dorsainvil exception).

Undeterred, when the Petitioner's former attorney plead guilty to drug-trafficking crimes in 2002, (Pet.'s Br. Ex. B at 10-11),*fn4 the Petitioner filed his second § 2241 habeas petition before this Court, challenging his conviction for, inter alia, ineffective assistance of counsel. (Docket Item 1 at 5; 2004 Pet. at 5); see also Carreras v. DeRosa, Civil Action No. 04-3704 (JEI) dkt. item 2 at 3. This Court denied that petition for a lack of jurisdiction, noting that the First Circuit previously rejected the Petitioner's ineffective assistance claims due to insufficient evidence. Carreras v. DeRosa, Civil Action No. 04-3704 (JEI) dkt. item 2 at 3-4. On appeal the Third Circuit affirmed this Court's ruling. Carreras v. DeRosa, 130 Fed. Appx. 562, 563-64 (3d Cir. 2005) (per curiam).

In 2005, the Petitioner again applied for certification to file a successive ยง 2255 petition. (Docket Item 1 at 3-4.) The First Circuit again denied certification because he could not "establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have ...


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