United States District Court, D. New Jersey
DAVID M. ROBINSON, Petitioner,
DAVID ORTIZ, et al., Respondents.
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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. Upon screening the petition, the Court
determined that it lacked jurisdiction as petitioner failed
to show that § 2255 was inadequate or ineffective to
challenge his federal conviction and sentence. (See
ECF No. 8). Accordingly, the Court summarily dismissed the
petition for a lack of jurisdiction on April 25, 2018.
subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). For the following
reasons, the Court will deny the motion for reconsideration.
discussed more thoroughly in the Court's prior opinion
(ECF No. 8), in 2008, Petitioner pleaded guilty to
twenty-eight counts of violations of the mail and wire fraud
statutes in the United States District Court for the District
of Maryland. (ECF No. 1, at 2). Petitioner received a
sentence of 188 months imprisonment, and the Fourth Circuit
affirmed on direct appeal. (See Id. at 3).
Thereafter, Petitioner filed several post-judgment motions
and § 2255 habeas petitions, resulting in denials from
the District Court of Maryland and the Fourth Circuit.
(See Id. at 3-4).
then filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas petition and
challenged his sentence in this Court. More specifically,
Petitioner claimed that his indictment failed to explicitly
allege essential elements of the mail and wire fraud
offenses, that the district court did not have subject matter
jurisdiction to prosecute him, and that trial counsel was
ineffective at both his plea hearing and sentencing. (See
Id. at 5-12). In dismissing the § 2241 petition for
lack of jurisdiction, this Court held that Petitioner failed
to show that § 2255 was inadequate or ineffective to
pursue his claims as he failed to show that he had no prior
opportunity to challenge his conviction for a crime later
deemed to be non-criminal by an intervening change in the
law. (ECF No. 8).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Civil Rule 7.1(i) governs motions under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) and allows parties to seek reconsideration of
what they believe are “overlooked” matters.
See Carney v. Pennsauken Twp. Police Dep 't, No.
11-7366, 2013 WL 4501454, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 21, 2013)
(citations omitted). “The standard for reargument is
high and reconsideration is to be granted only
sparingly.” Yarrell v. Bartkowski, No.
10-5337, 2012 WL 1600316, at *3 (D.N.J. May 7, 2012) (citing
United States v. Jones, 158 F.R.D. 309, 314 (D.N.J.
1994)). To be successful on a motion for reconsideration, a
petitioner has the burden to demonstrate: “(1) an
intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence that was not available when the
court [issued its order]; or (3) the need to correct a clear
error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.”
Max's Seafood Café ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v.
Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999); see
also Berry v. Jacobs IMC, LLC, 99 Fed.Appx. 405, 410 (3d
reviewing Petitioner's submissions, the Court will deny
his motion for reconsideration. As the Court noted in its
prior Opinion, a petitioner must generally bring a challenge
to the validity of a federal conviction or sentence under 28
U.S.C. § 2255. See Jackman v. Shartle, 535
Fed.Appx. 87, 88 (3d Cir. 2013) (per curiam) (citing
Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir.
2002)). On the other hand, a petitioner could bring his
challenge under § 2241 as opposed to § 2255, if
§ 2255 was “inadequate or ineffective, ” for
example, if he had no prior opportunity to challenge his
conviction for a crime later deemed to be non-criminal by an
intervening change in the law. See Okereke, 307 F.3d
at 120 (citing In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251
(3d Cir. 1997)).
again, Petitioner's arguments challenging the sufficiency
of the indictment (which allegedly divested the sentencing
court of subject matter jurisdiction), and for ineffective
assistance of counsel, do not fall within this exception.
See, e.g., United States v. Travillion, 759
F.3d 281, 288-89 (3d Cir. 2014) (finding that ineffective
assistance of counsel claims can provide a proper basis for
relief under § 2255); United States v. Murphy,
479 Fed.Appx. 418 (3d Cir. 2012)(“To the extent that [a
petitioner] wishes to challenge his conviction or sentence
via an attack on the sufficiency of the indictment . . . the
proper way to do so is via a motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C.
Petitioner contends that the sentencing court's
“egregious” judicial misconductbrings his claims
within the Dorsainvil exception. (ECF No. 10, at
12-13). More specifically, he alleges that unusual
circumstances are present because the sentencing court failed
to provide him with notice under Castro v. United
States, 540 U.S. 375 (2003), prior to recharacterizing
his post-judgment motions as motions to vacate under §
Court finds that these allegations, accepted as true, would
not necessarily demonstrate that “some limitation of
scope or procedure would prevent a § 2255 proceeding
from affording him a full hearing and adjudication.”
Cradle v. U.S. ex rel. Miner, 290 F.3d 536, 538 (3d
Cir. 2002); see also Massey v. U.S., 581 F.3d 172,
174 (3d Cir. 2009). Although the sentencing court
recharacterized his “motion for dismissal of indictment
and vacation of judgment for failure to state an offense
under FRCrP Rule 12(b)(3)(B)” without a Castro
notice, Petitioner successfully moved for reconsideration to
eliminate that § 2255 designation. (See D. Md.
No. 07-cr-87, ECF No. 85, at 2-3).
then filed a “Motion for Vacation of Judgment for Lack
of Subject Matter Jurisdiction Pursuant to Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure Rule 60(b)(4).” (See D. Md.
No. 07-cr-87, ECF No. 96). Thereafter, the sentencing court
explicitly issued a Castro notice as it intended to
recharacterize this motion as one under § 2255.
Id. Petitioner declined to select either of the two
choices, i.e., to withdraw and file a complete
§ 2255 motion or to have the court rule on the ...