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Rodriguez v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 20, 2017

MACARIO MAR RODRIGUEZ, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          Macario Mar Rodriguez, Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution Petitioner Pro se

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Petitioner Macario Mar Rodriguez, a prisoner confined at the Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) in Fort Dix, New Jersey, filed this writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging the validity of his sentence. (ECF No. 1). This matter was administratively terminated due to Petitioner's failure to satisfy the filing fee requirement (ECF Nos. 2, 3) and failure to provide any information on his grounds for relief (ECF Nos. 4, 5). Petitioner has since paid the required filing fee and submitted an Amended Petition containing his grounds for relief. (ECF No. 6.) At this time, the Court will review the Amended Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, (amended Dec. 1, 2004), made applicable to § 2241 petitions through Rule 1(b) of the Habeas Rules. See also 28 U.S.C. § 2243. For the reasons set forth below, the Amended Petition will be dismissed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 10, 2014, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas sentenced Petitioner to 144 months imprisonment for conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324. See United States v. Rodriguez, Crim. Action No. 13-1244 (S.D. Tex. 2014). Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on July 6, 2016 and on July 28, 2016, the court entered an order dismissing that petition as untimely. Rodriguez v. United States, Civ. Action No. 16-197 (S.D. Tex. 2014).

         On November 15, 2016, Petitioner filed his Amended Section 2241 Petition with this Court, raising ineffective assistance of counsel claims. (ECF No. 6.) The instant Amended Petition is identical to the Section 2255 Petition that the Southern District of Texas dismissed as untimely in July 2016.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         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). 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).

         B. Analysis

         Petitioner is seeking to have this Court review the judgment of conviction and sentence entered by the Southern District of Texas in these habeas proceedings. Generally, a challenge to the validity of a federal conviction or sentence must be brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Jackman v. Shartle, 535 F.App'x 87, 88 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002)). This is true because § 2255 prohibits a district court from entertaining a challenge to a prisoner's federal sentence through § 2241 unless the remedy under § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Indeed, § 2255(e) states that:

[a]n application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to this section, shall not be entertained if it appears that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such a court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the ...

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