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Littles v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 10, 2015

SHANE X. LITTLES, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

Shane X. Littles, #41686-050, Petitioner, pro se.

OPINION

NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Petitioner, Shane X. Littles, a federal prisoner confined at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona[1] brings this habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, challenging the manner in which the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") is executing his sentence. For the reasons that follow, this Court determines that it is without jurisdiction to consider this Petition and will transfer the matter to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

I. BACKGROUND

According to the allegations of the Petition and previous dockets from Petitioner's prior civil and criminal cases, on or about April 30, 2009, Petitioner entered into a plea agreement in which he pled guilty to one count of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). See United States v. Littles, No. 09-cr-0395 (NLH). On or about October 15, 2009, Petitioner was sentenced by this Court to a term of 68 months' imprisonment. At the time of his federal sentencing, Petitioner was confined in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

Petitioner states that in February of 2010 he was sentenced for an unspecified offense in New Jersey state court to five years in state prison. Prisoner contends that his state sentence was to run concurrent with his federal sentence. However, he alleges in his Petition that the Bureau of Prisons is running his sentences consecutively contrary to the instruction of the state court judge. Accordingly, Petitioner contends that he has served time for both sentences and that, as of the date of the filing of his Petition, he had served nine extra months in federal custody.

It appears from Petitioner's submissions that he first served a sentence in state prison and that, at the conclusion of his time in state custody, Petitioner was transferred to federal custody. Petitioner states that it was his belief that he would be released at the end of his state prison term. He asks for relief in the form of "time served[.]" (Am. Mot. 15, ECF No. 3).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

"Habeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements." McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856, 114 S.Ct. 2568, 129 L.Ed.2d 666 (1994). A petition must "specify all the grounds for relief" and must set forth "facts supporting each of the grounds thus specified." See Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the U.S. District Courts (amended Dec. 1, 2004), made applicable to § 2241 petitions through Rule 1(b) of the Habeas Rules.

A habeas corpus petition is the proper mechanism for a prisoner to challenge the "fact or duration" of his confinement, Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 498-99, 93 S.Ct. 1827, 36 L.Ed.2d 439 (1973), including challenges to prison disciplinary proceedings that affect the length of confinement, such as deprivation of good time credits, Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 124 S.Ct. 1303, 158 L.Ed.2d 32 (2004) and Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 117 S.Ct. 1584, 137 L.Ed.2d 906 (1997). See also Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 125 S.Ct. 1242, 161 L.Ed.2d 253 (2005). Habeas corpus is an appropriate mechanism, also, for a federal prisoner to challenge the execution of his sentence. See Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485-86 (3d Cir. 2001); Barden v. Keohane, 921 F.2d 476, 478-79 (3d Cir. 1990).

"Section 2241 is the only statute that confers habeas jurisdiction to hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is challenging not the validity but the execution of his sentence." Coady, 251 F.3d at 485-486. A petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the district where the prisoner is confined provides a remedy "where petitioner challenges the effects of events subsequent' to his sentence." Gomori v. Arnold, 533 F.2d 871, 874 (3d Cir. 1976) (challenging erroneous computation of release date).

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 and any supporting submissions must be construed liberally and with a measure of tolerance. See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d Cir. 1998); Lewis v. Attorney General, 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989); United States v. Brierley, 414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 399 U.S. 912 (1970).

III. DISCUSSION

The crux of Petitioner's argument is that his state and federal sentences should have run concurrently but that the BOP is running the federal sentence consecutively to the state sentence. Petitioner has filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 seeking credit on his federal sentence for time served in state prison. However, since Petitioner is actually challenging the execution of his sentence, the Petition will be construed as one filed under § 2241. See Coady, 251 F.3d 480; Barden, 921 F.2d 476; see also Beckham v. United States, Civ. No. 12-4817 (D.N.J. Sept. 3, 2014) (construing petition which ...


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