United States District Court, D. New Jersey
CURTIS L. ARNOLD, Petitioner,
WARDEN FT DIX, Respondent.
L. Arnold, Petitioner pro se
B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
L. Arnold, a federal prisoner confined at FCI Fort Dix, New
Jersey, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, requesting his status as a
career offender be removed from his judgment of conviction
and that he be resentenced accordingly. Petition, Docket
Entry 1. For the reasons expressed below, this Court will
dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction.
December 19, 2005, Petitioner was sentenced as a career
offender in the United States District Court for the Western
District of North Carolina. Petition ¶ 4.
challenged his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the
sentencing court based on a new Fourth Circuit case,
United States v. Simmons, 649 F.3d 237 (4th Cir.
2011) (en banc) (holding North Carolina convictions are
“crimes punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding
one year” for federal sentencing purposes only when the
defendant's particular criminal history and the nature of
his offense warrant). The § 2255 motion was denied on
March 30, 2015. Petition ¶ 6. He appealed the decision
to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
arguing that he could no longer be considered a career
offender in light of Simmons. Id. ¶ 7. The
Fourth Circuit denied a certificate of appealability on
August 25, 2015. Id. He states he did not file a
second challenge because there was “[n]o was around the
Government enforcement of the waiver for relief under a
Simmons claim for relief of a career offender status
on collateral review.” Id. ¶ 8(b).
filed other Simmons-based challenges to his career
offender status in addition to his § 2255 proceedings.
On November 23, 2011, Petitioner filed a motion for a
sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. § 3583 arguing that
Simmons rendered his prior North Carolina
convictions inapplicable as predicate offenses for the career
offender enhancement. Id. ¶ 12. The sentencing
court denied the motion. Id. Petitioner also filed a
motion “to amend the Statement of Reasons for his
sentence to remove the finding that he is a career
offender” based on Simmons on an unknown date,
but the motion was denied by the sentencing court. Order,
Docket Entry 1-1 at 2. The sentencing court denied the motion
on September 17, 2015 as “[t]his claim was previously
raised under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and denied. The defendant
has not provided any basis in law to attack his sentence by
altering the Statement of Reasons.” Id.
filed the instant petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on
September 1, 2017. This Court administratively terminated the
petition on September 13, 2017 for failure to pay the filing
fee or submit an in forma pauperis application.
Docket Entry 2. Petitioner paid the filing fee on October 23,
2017, and the Court reopened the matter for review.
raises four grounds for relief, all relating to his career
offender status: (1) “Petitioner's prior North
Carolina convictions were consolidated for Judgment under the
North Carolina Structured Sentencing Act results in a single
sentence that may serve only as one sentence for purpose of
determining whether a defendant is a career offender,
”; (2) “Intervening change in Fourth Circuit law
of determine [sic] whether a conviction is for a crime
punishable by a prison term exceeding one year.
Simmons decision overturn the Fourth Circuit
controlling authority of U.S. v. Harp, making
Harp no longer good law, ”; (3) “At the
preparation of the P.S.R. the utilization of inaccurate
information effect the execution of Petitioner's sentence
by determining that the prior North Carolina convictions
qualified as a predicate felony for the career offender
statute and 851, ” and; (4) “Petitioner's
prior offenses do not qualify as Predicate felonies under
Simmons the enhancement is erroneous and in
violation of the Due Process Clause of the Constitution by
the unlawful execution of the career offender designation.
Petitioner[‘s] sentence constituted fundamental defect
and a miscarriage of justice.” He asks the Court to
release him and to reduce his term of supervised release.
Petition ¶ 15.
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).