United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Arnulfo Sanchez-Hernandez, Petitioner Pro Se
B. SIMANDLE CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Arnulfo
Sanchez-Hernandez's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petition, Docket Entry 1.
Petitioner is serving a sentence out of the Middle District
of North Carolina after pleading guilty to conspiring to
distribute cocaine hydrochloride, 21 U.S.C. § 826, and
to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
crime, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i). Id. ¶
4; Brief in Support at 23.
Judgment of Conviction, United States v.
Sanchez-Hernandez, No. 1:08-0412-2 (M.D. N.C. June 18,
Petitioner challenged his conviction and sentence in two
unsuccessful motions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, one of
which included a claim raised under Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). Petition ¶¶
Petitioner now appears to challenge the validity of his
guilty plea, arguing he is actually innocent of the charges
due to the Supreme Court's decisions in Watson v.
United States, 552 U.S. 74 (2007) (holding “a
person does not ‘use' a firearm under §
924(c)(1)(A) when he receives it in trade for drugs”)
and McFadden v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2298 (2015)
(holding government must prove defendant knew substance was a
controlled substance under federal law in order to convict of
distributing controlled substance). He also requests a writ
of error coram nobis.
Petitioner brings this Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
as a pro se litigant. The Court has an obligation to
liberally construe pro se pleadings and to hold them to less
stringent standards than more formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007);
Higgs v. Attorney Gen. of the U.S., 655 F.3d 333,
339 (3d Cir. 2011), as amended (Sept. 19,
2011) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
Nevertheless, a federal district court must dismiss a habeas
corpus petition if it appears from the face of the petition
that Petitioner is not entitled to relief. 28 U.S.C. §
2254 Rule 4 (made applicable through Rule 1(b)); see also
McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994); Siers
v. Ryan, 773 F.2d 37, 45 (3d Cir. 1985), cert.
denied, 490 U.S. 1025 (1989).
“A § 2255 motion is the presumptive means by which
a federal prisoner can collaterally attack the validity of
his conviction or sentence.” Upshaw v. Warden
Lewisburg USP, 634 F.App'x 357, 358 (3d Cir.)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e)), cert. denied sub nom
Upshaw v. Ebbert, No. 15-9375, 2016 WL 2928201 (U.S.
June 27, 2016). See also Okereke v. United States,
307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002). “A court may not
entertain a habeas petition under § 2241 made by a
federal prisoner ‘in custody under sentence of a
[federal] court . . . unless it also appears that the remedy
by motion [under § 2255] is inadequate or ineffective to
test the legality of [the prisoner's]
detention.'” Gardner v. Warden Lewisburg
USP, 845 F.3d 99, 102 (3d Cir. 2017) (quoting 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255) (alterations and omission in original).
date, the Third Circuit has only applied the § 2255(e)
exception “where the conduct that forms the basis for
the conviction has since been deemed non-criminal by an
intervening Supreme Court decision that was unavailable on
appeal or during § 2255 proceedings.”
Upshaw, 634 F.App'x at 358 (citing In re
Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251-52 (3d Cir. 1997)).
Although somewhat unclear, Petitioner appears to argue that
he falls within the Dorsainvil exception because his
actions do not satisfy § 924(c)'s use element after
the Supreme Court's Watson decision:
Petitioner arrest did not have him in POSSESS a Firearm or
“USE” a Firearm during him Arrest or Trafficking
Drug, [sic] the Government only argues Standard evidence in
his Sentencing hearing, Petitioner asserts that, the
Government did not has [sic] Sufficient Proof to he has in
Possession [sic] a Firearm during and trafficking drug crime.
Petitioner said the Government Obtaining all Firearms into of
Brother house and not into of his house room, Petitioner
during the arrest the Agents did not obtaining nothing of a
Firearm in other house Owner's diferents [sic],
Petitioner to Participate a minor role into the Conspiracy,
the brother is who is the owner of all firearms and who
manager and supervizer [sic] the drug and firearms.
in Support at 7. He further cites Bailey v. United
States, which held that “§ 924(c)(1) requires
evidence sufficient to show an active employment of
the firearm by the defendant[.]” 516 U.S. 137, ...