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Navar v. Hollingsworth

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 8, 2013

ARMANDO NAVAR, Petitioner,
v.
JORDAN HOLLINGSWORTH, Warden, Respondent.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey. On August 19, 2013, the Court received petitioner's a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. On August 29, 2013, the Court denied petitioner's application to proceed in forma pauperis because his prison account statement indicated that he had over $200.00. Accordingly, the matter was administratively terminated, but petitioner was given thirty days to pay the applicable $5.00 filing fee. ( See Dkt. No. 3.) Thereafter, petitioner submitted another pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus and paid the $5.00 filing fee. ( See Dkt. No. 4.) Accordingly, the Clerk will be ordered to reopen this case. For the following reasons, the petition will be dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction.

II. BACKGROUND

In 2006, petitioner received a sentence of 324 months imprisonment after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of over five kilograms of cocaine and use of a communication facility during a felony in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. ( See Dkt. No. 4-1 at p. 15-16.) The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment and conviction on March 3, 2009. See United States v. Recendiz, 557 F.3d 511 (7th Cir. 2009).[1]

Thereafter, in August, 2010, petitioner filed a motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the Northern District of Illinois. See Navar v. United States, No. 10-4874, 2011 WL 3584779, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 10, 2011). Petitioner raised ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel claims in that motion that were denied. On March 1, 2012, the Seventh Circuit denied a certificate of appealability on petitioner's § 2255 motion. ( See N.D.Ill. No. 10-4874, Dkt. No. 22.)

Petitioner then filed an application to file a second or successive § 2255 motion with the Seventh Circuit. In that motion, petitioner argued that counsel neglected to inform him about plea negotiations with the government. He relied on Lafler v. Cooper, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1376 (2012) and Missouri v. Frye, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1399 (2012) to support his arguments. On April 1, 2013, the Seventh Circuit denied the motion to file a second or successive § 2255 concluding that neither Lafler nor Frye announced a new constitutional rule. ( See Dkt. No. 4-1 at p. 4.)

Petitioner has now filed this § 2241 petition in this Court. He argues that he was not provided effective assistance of counsel during the plea bargaining process. More specifically, petitioner states that, "counsel was ineffective for failing to obtain the status of plea discussions from previous counsel[, ] for failing to discuss the sentencing range with Mr. Navar and for failing to obtain the plea information from the prosecuting attorney." (Dkt. No. 4 at p. 20.) He states that he received a sentence substantially greater at trial than he would have otherwise received had he been provided effective assistance of counsel and pled. In support of his petition, he argues that the United States Supreme Court decisions in Lafler and Frye stated a new constitutional rule that entitle him to relief.

III. STANDARD FOR SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

With respect to screening the instant petition, 28 U.S.C. § 2243 provides 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).

IV. DISCUSSION

Petitioner argues that he is entitled to bring this § 2241 petition in this Court as § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention. Petitioner asserts that Lafler and Frye, which were decided after his previous § 2255 motion was denied in the Northern District of ...


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