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Sampson v. Ortiz

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

October 17, 2017

ROBERT NEIL SAMPSON, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN DAVID E. ORTIZ, Respondent.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER, U.S.D.J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Petitioner is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at F.C.I. Fort Dix in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be dismissed without prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Mr. Sampson was arrested on September 20, 2012 in BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in Maryland by Prince George's County police officers. There were two cases pending against Mr. Sampson in the Prince George's County circuit court, CR0E0049463 and 5E0049412. On February 19, 2013, Mr. Sampson appeared before the United States District Court for the District of Maryland on federal charges related to the Maryland state charges. He pled guilty to the federal charges and was sentenced to 300 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.

         One set of state charges, those proceeding under case CR0E0049463, were dismissed by the state. Mr. Sampson asserts that the other set of charges remains active and that he has not yet been tried on those charges. He filed this § 2241 petition challenging both the 300-month federal sentence and the untried state charges. He argues the federal judgment is a “constitutional nullity. The federal district court was without authority to adjudicate the matter while criminal proceedings were underway in state court.” He invokes his Sixth Amendment speedy trial rights and requests the Court order the Prince George's County circuit court to dismiss the untried state charges.

         III. STANDARD FOR SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

         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. DISCUSSION

         This Court lacks jurisdiction under § 2241 to adjudicate Mr. Sampson's challenge to his federal sentence. 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 Fed.Appx. 87, 88 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002)). Section 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 remedy by the motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). A § 2255 motion is “inadequate or ineffective, ” which permits a petitioner to resort to a § 2241 petition, “only where the petitioner demonstrates that some limitation or procedure would prevent a § 2255 proceeding from affording him a full hearing and adjudication of his wrongful detention claim.” Cradle v. U.S. ex rel. Miner,290 F.3d 536, 538 (3d Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). However, “[s]ection 2255 is not inadequate or ineffective merely because the sentencing court does not grant relief, the one-year statute of limitations has expired, or the petitioner is unable to meet the stringent gatekeeping requirements of ... § 2255.” ...


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