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Helsop v. Immigration and Naturalization Service

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 14, 2013

NEVEL HELSOP, Petitioner,
v.
IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, Respondent.

OPINION

KEVIN McNULTY, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner, Nevel Helsop, is currently a state prisoner at the East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, New Jersey. Mr. Helsop is a native of Jamaica and is currently serving a thirty year sentence for murder and other charges. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In the petition, Mr. Helsop challenges an order of removal against him that was entered after he was convicted for murder. For the following reasons, the habeas petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

II. BACKGROUND

Mr. Helsop was convicted in state court of murder, criminal trespass, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.[1] Thereafter, Mr. Helsop was ordered removed to his country of citizenship, Jamaica, because he was convicted of an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii).

Mr. Helsop's appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals was ultimately unsuccessful. In 2001, he sought habeas relief in this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (See Civ. No. 01-2909.) That 2001 habeas petition sought relief from the order of removal. On March 2, 2004, the Court denied the 2001 habeas petition, concluding that the immigration authorities did not violate Mr. Helsop's constitutional rights by ordering his removal. Mr. Helsop did not appeal that decision.

On October 2, 2013, the Court received this habeas petition from Mr. Helsop. In this petition, Mr. Helsop requests that the Court vacate his order of deportation and grant asylum based on extraordinary circumstances. Specifically, Mr. Helsop asserts that, if he is removed to Jamaica, his life is in danger at the hands of the family of his wife, whom he murdered.

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

On May 11, 2005, the REAL ID Act was enacted. It provides:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), including section 2241 of Title 28, or any other habeas corpus provision, and sections 1361 and 1651 of such title, a petition for review filed with an appropriate court of appeals in accordance with this section shall be the sole and exclusive means for judicial review of an order of removal entered or issued under any provision of this chapter, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section. For purposes of this chapter, in every provision that limits or eliminates judicial review or jurisdiction to review, the terms "judicial review" and "jurisdiction to review" include habeas corpus review pursuant to ...

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