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Thomas v. Warden, FCI Fort Dix

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 19, 2017

DUJUAN THOMAS, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, FCI FORT DIX, Respondents.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Petitioner is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Previously, this matter was administratively terminated as petitioner had not paid the filing fee nor had he submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Thereafter, petitioner paid the filing fee such that the Clerk will be ordered to reopen this case.

         Petitioner argues in his habeas petition that his prior convictions do not qualify him as a career offender under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Thus, he claims that he is entitled to resentencing. For the following reasons, the habeas petition will be summarily dismissed.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner pled guilty in 2013 to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and cocaine in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He was sentenced to 235 months imprisonment. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.

         In, 2014, petitioner filed a motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the Eastern District of Virginia. In October, 2015, the Eastern District of Virginia denied petitioner's § 2255 motion. Petitioner did not appeal that decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

         In April, 2017, petitioner filed this habeas petition. Citing to Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016); United States v. Hinkle, 832 F.3d 569 (5th Cir. 2016) and Holt v. United States, 843 F.3d 720 (7th Cir. 2016), petitioner argues that he was improperly given a career offender enhancement under the Sentencing Guidelines as his prior convictions did not qualify him as a career offender. He requests that his sentence be vacated for resentencing.

         III. STANDARD FOR SUA SPONTE SCREENING OF HABEAS PETITION

         With respect to screening the instant habeas 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, 92 S .Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (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. ...


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