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Joyner v. Ortiz

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 16, 2018

WAYNE EDWARD JOYNER, Petitioner,
v.
DAVID ORTIZ, Respondent.

          Wayne Edward Joyner, No. 18186083 Petitioner Pro se

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Petitioner Wayne Edward Joyner, a prisoner presently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) at Fort Dix, in Fort Dix, New Jersey, filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging a sentencing enhancement based on what he alleges is a nonqualifying prior conviction. ECF No. 1, at 2. 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

         Petitioner provides the following pertinent facts related to his Petition: “On November 8, 1972, an indictment was handed up by the grand jurors of the State of Maryland against Wayne Edward Joyner, which set forth crimes alleged to have been committed by Joyner on July 5, 1972.” ECF No. 1-4, Pet. at 2. “On November 10, 1972, the case was nolle prosequi.” Id. “Simultaneously[, ] Wayne Edward Joyner entered a guilty plea to a lesser-included offense.” Id. “Decades later, Petitioner appeared before the United States District Court [for the] Eastern District of Virginia, subsequent to being adjudicated guilty for the following Federal offenses[:]” conspiracy to commit bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 371; bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a); assault; use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) & (2); and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) & 924(a)(2). Id. “Subsequent to perusing ‘ONLY' the one page available from the 1972 indictment . . ., the United States District Court deemed Joyner a career offender and on July 10, 1992 executed a term of five hundred and sixty two months.” Id. Although Petitioner did not directly appeal his conviction or sentence, he did file a motion under 28 U.S.C. 2255 in the District of Virginia, which was denied. Id. at 3-4. “Joyner is now confined to the Federal Correctional institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey.” Id.

         In his Petition, Petitioner seeks to challenge not his conviction but his sentencing enhancement that resulted from his prior guilty plea in 1972. See ECF No. 1. Specifically, Plaintiff argues that Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), applies to his sentencing and that the Johnson holding may be applied retroactively. ECF No. 1-4, Br. at 4.

         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. See Hunterson 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 relief. See Denny v. Schultz, 708 F.3d 140, 148 n. 3 (3d Cir. 2013); see also 28 U.S.C. §§ 2243, 2255.

         B. Analysis

         As noted by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249 (3d Cir. 1997), a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 has been the “usual avenue” for federal prisoners seeking to challenge the legality of their confinement. See also Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002); United States v. McKeithan, 437 F. App'x 148, 150 (3d Cir. 2011); United States v. Walker, 980 F.Supp. 144, 145-46 (E.D. Pa. 1997) (challenges to a sentence as imposed should be brought under § 2255, while challenges to the manner in which a sentence is executed should be brought under § 2241).

         Section 2255, however, contains a safety valve where “it appears that the remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of [Petitioner's] detention.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). In Dorsainvil, the Third Circuit held that the remedy provided by § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective, ” permitting resort to § 2241 (a statute without timeliness or successive petition limitations), where a prisoner who previously had filed a § 2255 motion on other grounds “had no earlier ...


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