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Pierce v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 3, 2015

DARYL PIERCE, Petitioner,

Daryl Pierce, U.S.P. McCreary Pine Knot, KY, Petitioner pro se.


NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Petitioner Darryl Pierce files this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 challenging his conviction and alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. For the reasons that follow, the Petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.


Petitioner was indicted in the District of New Jersey on November 14, 2006 in a three-count indictment. Count 1 charged distribution of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. Count 2 charged the Petitioner with knowingly and willfully possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Count 3 charged violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and 924(e)(1) alleging that the Petitioner was an Armed Career Criminal.

On May 10, 2007 Petitioner entered a plea to Count 3 of the Indictment in exchange for dismissal of Counts 1 and 2. Petitioner pled guilty pursuant to a written plea agreement, dated March 29, 2007 and signed by the Petitioner on April 25, 2007, which contained a comprehensive waiver of appeal and collateral attack. In that agreement, the parties jointly agreed that the Court should sentence the Petitioner to the statutory mandatory 15-year sentence required upon a conviction under the statute applicable to Count 3, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). That agreement, while binding on the parties, was not binding on the Court. On November 15, 2007, this Court sentenced the Petitioner to a term of 16 years (192 months) and upon motion of the United States dismissed Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment.

On October 19, 2010, Petitioner filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 challenging his conviction on various grounds. See Pierce v. United States of America, Civil Action No. 10-5387 (NLH). On June 23, 2011, this Court issued a Miller Notice[1] and Order advising Petitioner of his obligation to file a single petition asserting all potential claims or face the risk of a second or successive habeas petition bar and to notify the Court of his intentions within 45 days. He later supplemented that motion, out of time, with filings entered on December 18 and December 27, 2011. The government filed a motion to dismiss the Petition on April 18, 2012. In an Order dated July 2, 2012, this Court granted the government's motion and dismissed the Petition as untimely. Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was denied in an Order dated June 24, 2014 and the civil case was terminated.

Petitioner has now filed another habeas petition challenging his conviction on the grounds that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.


United States Code Title 28, Section 2243, provides in relevant part as follows:

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.

A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A pro se habeas petition must be construed liberally. See Hunterson v. Disabato, 308 F.3d 236, 243 (3d Cir.2002). Nevertheless, a federal district court can dismiss a habeas corpus petition if it appears from the face of the petition that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. See Denny v. Schult, 708 F.3d 140, 148 n. 3 (3d Cir. 2013). See also 28 U.S.C. §§ 2243, 2255.


"It is axiomatic that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and as such are under a continuing duty to satisfy themselves of their jurisdiction before proceeding to the merits of any case." Packard v. Provident Nat. Bank, 994 F.2d 1039, 1049 (3d Cir.) (citations omitted), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 946 (1993). See also Gunn v. Minton, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013); Bender v. Williamsport Area School District, 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986). Here, Petitioner has asserted jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. This is Petitioner's second habeas petition filed in this district and, although he alleges different grounds for relief, this Petition challenges the same underlying conviction as his previous petition. Thus, the Petition presently before the ...

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