United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Scott, Petitioner pro se
B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge
Scott, a federal prisoner confined at FCI Fairton, New
Jersey, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petition, Docket Entry 1.
For the reasons expressed below, the petition is dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction.
was sentenced in the United States District Court for the
District of Delaware in 2000 after a jury convicted him of
possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and
conspiracy to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C. §
841(b)(1)(c), 846. Petition at 3. The sentencing court
determined Petitioner met the definition of a career offender
under the Guidelines due to two Delaware state convictions
and sentenced him to a 360-month period of incarceration
followed by a five-year period of supervised release.
Id. at 2-3. The Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit affirmed the convictions but vacated the term of
supervised release in light of Apprendi v. New
Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). Id. at 4 (citing
United States v. Scott, 259 F.3d 717 (3d Cir. 2001)
(Table)). The sentencing court resentenced Petitioner to
360-months incarceration followed by three years of
supervised release. Id.
filed this § 2241 petition on June 23, 2017. He argues
he cannot be considered a career offender due to the Supreme
Court's decision in Mathis v. United States, 136
S.Ct. 2243 (2016) (holding a prior conviction does not
qualify as the generic form of a predicate violent felony
offense listed in the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”) if an element of the crime of conviction
is broader than an element of the generic offense). He asks
the Court to resentence him without the career offender
STANDARD OF REVIEW
brings this petition 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)). A pro se habeas petition and any supporting
submissions must be construed liberally and with a measure of
tolerance. See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d
Cir. 1998); Lewis v. Attorney Gen., 878 F.2d 714,
721-22 (3d Cir. 1989); United States v. Brierley,
414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 399
U.S. 912 (1970).
a federal district court must dismiss a habeas corpus
petition if it appears from the face of the petition that the
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).
2241 “confers habeas jurisdiction to hear the petition
of a federal prisoner who is challenging not the validity but
the execution of his sentence.” Coady v.
Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001). 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) (per
curiam) (citing Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d
117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002)). “[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)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e)); see also In re
Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249 (3d Cir. 1997).
does not argue that he is innocent of the offenses for which
he was convicted. Instead, he asserts the career offender
sentencing enhancement no longer applies to his sentence due
to an intervening change in law. “[B]ecause he is
challenging his career offender designation and is not
claiming that he is now innocent of the predicate offense, he
does not fall within the ‘safety valve' exception
created in In re Dorsainvil and cannot proceed under
§ 2241.” Scott v. Shartle, 574
F.App'x 152, 155 (3d Cir. 2014). See also United
States v. Brown, 456 F.Appx. 79, 81 (3d Cir. 2012) (per
curiam) (holding prisoner not entitled to proceed under
§ 2255's “safety valve” when he
“makes no allegation that he is actually innocent of
the crime for which he was convicted, but instead asserts
only that he is ‘innocent' of being a career
offender”) (internal citation omitted), cert.
denied, 133 S.Ct. 201 (2012). The Court therefore lacks
jurisdiction over the petition under § 2241.
a civil action is filed in a court that lacks jurisdiction,
“the court shall, if it is in the interests of justice,
transfer such action . . . to any other such court in which
the action . . . could have been brought at the time it was
filed.” 28 U.S.C. § 1631. As Petitioner has
already filed a motion under § 2255, he must seek
permission from the United States Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit in order to bring a second or successive
petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). 28 U.S.C. §
2244. The Court finds that it is not in the interests of
justice to transfer this habeas petition to the Third Circuit
as Petitioner already has a § 2244(b) motion pending in
that court. In re Joseph Scott, No. ...