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Hight v. Kirby

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 18, 2018

STEVEN HIGHT, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN MARK KIRBY, Respondent.

          Steven Hight Fairton Federal Correctional Institution Petitioner Pro se

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D. JUDGE.

         Petitioner Steven Hight, 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 expressed below, this Court will dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Third Circuit Court of Appeals provided the following summary of Petitioner's underlying criminal case in a prior opinion:

Following a jury trial, Hight was convicted of a Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of § 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). In May 2005, he was sentenced as a career offender to a term of 240 months of imprisonment. We affirmed the judgment on appeal. United States v. Hight, 181 F. App'x 226 (3d Cir. 2006).
In 2007, Hight filed a motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which was denied on the merits. Rather than appealing from that denial, Hight filed two motions, one challenging the constitutionality of § 922(g), the other seeking a modification of his sentence via under 18 U.S.C. § 3582. The District Court denied the motions, and we affirmed (albeit treating the former motion as an unauthorized successive § 2255 motion and denying Hight a certificate of appealability for that claim). See United States v. Hight, 304 F. App'x 31 (3d Cir. 2008) (per curiam).

United States v. Hight, 611 Fed.Appx. 65, 66 (3d Cir. 2015). On May 11, 2016, Petitioner filed a request for leave to file a second or successive § 2255 petition with the Third Circuit, based on the Supreme Court's holding in United States v. Johnson, ___U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). In Re: Steven Hight, Civil Action No. 16-2263 (3d Cir. 2016). That matter is currently stayed. Id.

         In the instant § 2241 Petition before this Court, Petitioner argues that based on the holdings in Mathis v. United States, 579 U.S. (2016); Holt v. United States, 843 F.3d 720 (7th Cir. 2016); Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2016); United States v. Wright, 681 Fed.Appx. 418 (5th Cir. 2017); and United States v. Hinkle, 832 F.3d 569, 570 (5th Cir. 2016), his prior convictions no longer qualify him as a career offender and he should be re-sentenced. (Pet. 5-11.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         United States Code Title 28, Section 2243, provides in relevant part as follows:

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.

         A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A pro se habeas petition must be construed liberally. SeeHunterson v. DiSabato, 308 F.3d 236, 243 (3d Cir. 2002). Nevertheless, a federal district court can dismiss a habeas corpus petition if it appears from the face of the petition that the petitioner is not entitled to ...


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