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Edmonds v. United States

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY


October 28, 2010

THOMAS EDMONDS, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ET AL., RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: RENÉE Marie Bumb United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court upon Petitioner's submission of application seeking habeas corpus relief ("Petition"), and it appearing that:

1. The Petition was executed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Docket Entry No. 1. However, the Petition, in no ambiguous terms, challenges the sentence imposed by the federal court presiding over Petitioner's criminal prosecution. See generally, id. (asserting that Petitioner's federal sentencing court erred by enhancing his sentence). The Petition clarifies that Petitioner's federal sentencing court was the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, see id. at 3, and that Petitioner challenged his conviction by filing a Section 2255 motion, which was denied.*fn1 See id. at 4.

2. Petitioner is mistakenly under the impression that his application is properly filed with this Court under Section 2241. This Court is without jurisdiction under § 2241 to entertain the Petition. A court presented with a petition for writ of habeas corpus "shall forthwith award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled there."

28 U.S.C. § 2243. Thus, "[f]ederal courts are authorized to dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on its face." McFarland, 512 U.S. at 856; see also United States v. Thomas, 221 F.3d 430, 437 (3d Cir. 2000); Siers v. Ryan, 773 F.2d 37, 45 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1025 (1985).

3. Section 2241 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides in relevant part:

The writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless- . . . He is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.

28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). As a result of the practical difficulties encountered in hearing a challenge to a federal sentence in the district of confinement rather than the district of sentence, in its 1948 revision of the Judicial Code, Congress established a procedure whereby a federal prisoner might collaterally attack his sentence in the sentencing court.*fn2 See 28 U.S.C. § 2255; Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 343-44 (1974); United States v. Hayman, 342 U.S. 205, 219 (1952). Section 2255 provides in relevant part:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255. "Motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are the presumptive means by which federal prisoners can challenge their convictions or sentences that are allegedly in violation of the Constitution." Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002). This is because § 2255 expressly prohibits a district court from entertaining a challenge to a prisoner's federal sentence under § 2241 unless the remedy under § 2255 is "inadequate or ineffective" to test the legality of the petitioner's detention.*fn3 See 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Specifically, paragraph five of § 2255 provides:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus [pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241] in behalf of a prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to this section, shall not be entertained if it appears that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.

28 U.S.C. § 2255; see Cradle v. Miner, 290 F.3d 536 (3d Cir. 2002); In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251. A § 2255 motion is inadequate or ineffective, authorizing resort to § 2241, "only where the petitioner demonstrates that some limitation of scope or procedure would prevent a § 2255 proceeding from affording him a full hearing and adjudication of his wrongful detention claim." Cradle, 290 F.3d at 538. "It is the inefficacy of the remedy, not the personal inability to use it, that is determinative." Id. (emphasis supplied). Indeed, "Section 2255 is not 'inadequate or ineffective' merely because the sentencing court does not grant relief, the one-year statute of limitations has expired, or the petitioner is unable to meet the stringent gatekeeping requirements of the amended § 2255. The provision exists to ensure that petitioners have a fair opportunity to seek collateral relief, not to enable them to evade procedural requirements." Id. at 539.*fn4

4. Here, Petitioner does not assert any grounds as to why Section 2255 would be "inadequate or ineffective" remedy to address his challenges to his federal sentence. All he asserts is that his federal sentence was erroneously enhanced. This Court, however, has no jurisdiction to second guess the decision of Petitioner's federal sentencing court.

IT IS, therefore, on this 28th day of October 2010,

ORDERED that the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction;*fn5 and it is further

ORDERED that the Clerk shall serve a copy of this Memorandum Opinion and Order upon Petitioner by regular U.S. mail and shall close the file on this matter.


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