United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Canini, Petitioner Pro se
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Ruben Canini, a prisoner confined at the Federal Correctional
Institution (“FCI”) in Fairton, New Jersey, filed
this writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
challenging a sentencing enhancement. (ECF No. 1). At this
time, the Court will review the 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 Petition will be
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York summarized the procedural history of Petitioner's
criminal case as follows:
On June 15, 2006, Canini was convicted by a jury of one count
of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram of heroin and two
counts of distributing and possessing with intent to
distribute heroin. He has been quite diligent in attacking
his conviction. After trial, he moved for a judgment of
acquittal and a new trial on the grounds that there was
insufficient evidence to convict him and that the testimony
of two cooperating witnesses should be disregarded as
inconsistent. The Court denied these motions. Thereafter,
Canini was sentenced to 240 months of incarceration. On
January 22, 2009, the Second Circuit affirmed Canini's
Canini then commenced a series of attacks on his conviction.
On May 14, 2010, Canini filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2255
petition, seeking to vacate his sentence because of
ineffective assistance of counsel, which the Court denied on
March 12, 2012. The Court also denied Canini's motion to
amend his section 2255 petition, finding that amendment would
be futile because the claim, even as amended, failed on the
merits. On September 25, 2013, Canini filed a second 2255
petition, arguing that the Court's jury instruction
regarding conspiracy denied him due process of law, and that
his Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial was violated
because the Court calculated his offense level based on facts
not found by the jury in violation of Alleyne v.
U.S., 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013). The Court transferred this
motion to the Second Circuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1631, because the Court lacked jurisdiction over Canini's
successive petition. The Second Circuit denied the petition
because Canini did not file the application within the
specified time frame.
Canini v. United States, No. 04-283, 2015 WL
4509684, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. July 24, 2015) (internal citations
omitted). Petitioner then filed a Petition for a Writ of
Coram Nobis/Writ of Audita Querela, which was denied by the
district court in 2015. Id. Petitioner also states
that he filed a motion for a reduction in sentence pursuant
to Amendment 782, which was denied on April 27, 2016. (Pet.
4.) He further states that on June 28, 2016, he filed a
second 2255 motion pursuant to United States v.
Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which was still pending
at the time he filed this matter.
January 2017, Petitioner filed the instant Petition. (ECF No.
1.) Petitioner argues that “he is actually innocent of
Title 21 U.S.C. § 851 because it relied upon a prior New
York State felony drug conviction for Attempt Criminal Sale
of a Controlled. Substance in the Third Degree that was
replaced by a youthful offender finding pursuant to New York
Criminal Procedural law Section 720.20(3)(establishing the
procedures for a youthful offender determination).”
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
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 ...