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Opara v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 29, 2013

SAMUEL J. OPARA, Petitioner,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, et al., Respondents.

SAMUEL J. OPARA, #05433-027 FCI Fort Dix, Fort Dix, N.J. Petitioner pro se.

OPINION

JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner, Samuel J. Opara, is a federal prisoner confined at the Federal Correctional Institute at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He brings this pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.[1] For the reasons set forth below, after screening the petition, the Court will dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction as it is a prohibited second or successive motion under § 2255.

II. BACKGROUND

Petitioner is confined pursuant to a federal drug conviction and sentence imposed by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. He was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment. Petitioner appealed his conviction and sentence and filed several motions to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255. See United States v. Opara, (" Opara I "), 20 Fed.Appx. 533 (7th Cir. 2001) (affirming sentence on direct appeal but setting aside conviction on one count because government conceded that there was insufficient evidence to find Opara guilty of maintaining a crack house); see also Opara v. United States, (" Opara II "), Nos. 2:03-cv-9, 2:98-cr-47, 2005 WL 1653902 (N.D. Ind. July 8, 2005) (denying motion to declare judgment void under Section 2255), certificate of appealability denied, 2006 WL 1128649 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 26, 2006); United States v. Opara, (" Opara III "), No. 2: 98-cr-47, 2008 WL 596616 (N.D. Ind. Mar. 5, 2008) (dismissing § 2255 motion as second or successive without certification from Court of Appeals). Additionally, petitioner has also previously unsuccessfully moved for habeas relief in this Court. See Opara v. United States, (" Opara IV "), Civ. No. 10-2295, 2010 WL 5250886 (D.N.J. Dec. 14, 2010) (dismissing habeas petition filed under § 2241 for lack of jurisdiction as it was considered a second or successive § 2255 motion), aff'd, 423 Fed.Appx. 116 (3d Cir. 2011) (per curiam).

In the instant § 2241 motion, petitioner claims that the United States Attorney has dismissed all of the counts of the indictment against petitioner and has terminated his case. Thus, he contends that the Federal Bureau of Prisons is enforcing a conviction and sentence against him that has been terminated.

Petitioner attaches several exhibits to his petition, including a portion of the docket from his underlying federal criminal proceedings in the Northern District of Indiana. He also attaches court document dated September 1, 2000, which petitioner alleges indicates that the counts against him have been dismissed. The document is signed by the Assistant United States Attorney as well as the District Judge and dismisses the "original indictment" against petitioner.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard for Sua Sponte Dismissal

With respect to screening the instant petition, 28 U.S.C. § 2243 states in relevant part:

A court, justice or judge entertaining an application for a 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 thereto.

As petitioner is proceeding pro se, his petition is held to less stringent standards than those pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Rainey v. Varner, 603 F.3d 189, 198 (3d Cir. 2010) ("It is the policy of the courts to give a liberal construction to pro se habeas petitions.") (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); United States v. Otero, 502 F.3d 331, 334 (3d Cir. 2007) ("we construe pro se pleadings liberally.") (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). Nevertheless, "a district court is authorized to dismiss a [habeas] petition summarily when it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court[.]" Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320 (1996).

Furthermore, "[b]efore a second or successive [§ 2255] application permitted by this section is filed in the district court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the ...


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