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Michael Edward Sharpe v. J.T. Shartle

April 29, 2011

MICHAEL EDWARD SHARPE, PETITIONER,
v.
J.T. SHARTLE, RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Noel L. Hillman

OPINION

HILLMAN, District Judge

Michael Edward Sharpe, a prisoner confined at FCI Fairton in New Jersey, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging a federal sentence imposed by judgment in a criminal case filed June 15, 2005, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. For the reasons set forth below, this Court will dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction.

I. BACKGROUND

On January 21, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania returned a superseding indictment charging Petitioner with five counts, including assault on a federal employee in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 111 and 1114 (Count Five). (Docket Entry #1, p. 18). See United States v. Sharpe, Crim. No. 02-0771 (TJS)-1 superseding indictment (E.D. Pa. Jan. 21, 2003). On June 30, 2004, the parties filed a plea agreement whereby Petitioner pled guilty to counts four (possession of a firearm by a convicted felon) and five (assault on a federal officer) of the superseding indictment, and count one of the information (carrying a firearm during a crime of violence). (Docket Entry #1, pp. 20, 27.) On June 15, 2005, Judge Timothy J. Savage sentenced Petitioner to imprisonment for 60 months on count four and a consecutive 24 months on count five. Id., pp. 34-39. However, the written judgment mistakenly states that Petitioner pled guilty to assault on a federal employee in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 111 and 114,*fn1 instead of §§ 111 and 1114.*fn2 Id., p. 34; Sharpe, Crim. No. 02-0771 (TJS)-1 judgment (E.D. Pa. June 15, 2005).

On April 30, 2007, Petitioner filed a motion to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which Judge Savage denied on November 2, 2007. See Sharpe, Crim No. 02-0771 (TJS)-1 mem. opinion & order (E.D. Pa. Nov. 2, 2007). The Third Circuit denied a certificate of appealability. See Sharpe, docket entry #79. Petitioner filed a motion for correction or modification of the record, arguing that he was actually innocent of assault on a federal officer, which Judge Savage denied on December 2, 2010. Id., docket entry #89.

On April 26, 2011, Petitioner filed the § 2241 Petition presently before this Court. Petitioner asks this Court to withdraw the plea agreement and vacate the judgment finding him guilty of 18 U.S.C. § 111 and 114 on the following grounds: (1) because he is actually innocent of violating 18 U.S.C. § 114 and relief under § 2255 is no longer available, § 2255 is inadequate and ineffective for his actual innocence claim; (2) his guilty plea violates Rule 11 because he was never advised that he was pleading guilty to 18 U.S.C. § 114 and understood he was charged with and was pleading guilty to 18 U.S.C. § 1114; (3) counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate and accurately advise Petitioner what he was pleading guilty to; (4) the conviction and sentence violate due process. (Docket Entry #1, pp. 8-10.)

II. DISCUSSION

A. Jurisdiction

Section 2241 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides

in relevant part:

(c) 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).

Generally, a challenge to the validity of a federal conviction or sentence must be brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333 (1974); Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002). This is because 28 U.S.C. § 2255 expressly prohibits a district court from entertaining a challenge to a prisoner's federal sentence under § 2241 unless the remedy under § ...


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