United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Raymond, Petitioner pro se
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on James Raymond's Petition
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241. Petition, Docket Entry 1.
Petitioner is a convicted and sentenced federal prisoner
presently incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was
convicted via bench trial in the District of Maine for two
violations of the Mann Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2423(a),
transporting a person under the age of eighteen in interstate
commerce with the intent to engage in criminal sexual
activity. Brief in Support at 2 (citing United States v.
Raymond, 710 F.Supp.2d 161 (D. Me. May 7, 2010)). He was
sentenced to 144 months incarceration and lifetime supervised
release. Id. at 2-3.
Petitioner appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for
the First Circuit, arguing the trial court improperly
admitted evidence, improperly restricted cross-examination of
the Government's witness, and gave Petitioner a cruel and
unusual sentence. Id. at 3. The First Circuit
affirmed the convictions and sentence. Id. (citing
United States v. Raymond, 697 F.3d 32 (1st Cir.
Petitioner thereafter filed a motion in the sentencing court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 raising ineffective
assistance of counsel claims. Id. The district court
denied the motion, and the First Circuit denied a certificate
of appealability. United States v. Raymond, No.
2:09-CV-144, 2014 WL 806268 (D. Me. Feb. 28, 2014),
certificate of appealability denied, No. 14-1323
(1st Cir. Oct. 1, 2014).
October 4, 2016, Petitioner filed this petition for writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 raising
actual innocence claims and asserting this Court has
jurisdiction based on § 2255(e)'s “savings
clause.” Brief in Support at 3-4.
Petitioner argues he is entitled to relief due to a circuit
spilt over the interpretation of 18 U.S.C. §
2423(a)'s “with intent” element. According to
Petitioner, the Third Circuit interprets the “with
intent” element to mean “that the outlawed
conduct must be ‘the dominant motive of such interstate
movement, '” whereas the First Circuit only
requires that the sexual conduct “was ‘at least
one of the defendant's motivations for taking the trip in
the first place.'” Id. at 8 (quoting
Mortensen v. United States, 322 U.S. 369, 374
(1944); United States v. Ellis, 935 F.2d 385, 390
(1st Cir. 1991)).
Petitioner asks the Court to determine that the Government
“could not have met the burden of proof for a
conviction under § 2423(a) under the Third Circuit's
interpretation of that Statute of the time of
Petitioner's conviction.” Id. at 13.
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 (1976)).
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).
Petitioner candidly states he is challenging the validity of
his conviction in this petition. Petition ¶ 10.
“[Section] 2255 expressly prohibits a district court
from considering a challenge to a prisoner's federal
sentence under § 2241 unless the remedy under §
2255 is ‘inadequate or ineffective to test the legality
of his detention.'” Snyder v. Dix, 588 F.
App'x 205, 206 (3d Cir. 2015) (per curiam) (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e)). See also Okereke v. United
States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002); In re
Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249 (3d Cir. 1997).
Petitioner argues that § 2255 is
“‘inadequate and ineffective' when ‘at
the time of conviction settled law of this Circuit . . .
established the legality of the conviction.'”
Petition ¶ 10(c) (citing Trenkler v. Pugh, 83
F.App'x 468, 470 (3d Cir. 2003)).
case cited by Petitioner does not support his contention that
§ 2255 is inadequate or ineffective. The quoted portion
is only one part of the test ...