United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Ralph Artis, Jr., Petitioner Pro se
Andrew Ruymann, Esq. Mark E. Coyne, Esq. Office of the U.S.
Attorney Counsel for Respondent
Hillman, District Judge.
Eddie Ralph Artis, Jr., a prisoner presently confined at the
Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) in Fort
Dix, New Jersey, filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging the validity
of his sentence. ECF No. 1. Respondent filed an Answer to the
Petition in which he argues that the Petition should be
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. ECF No. 7. Petitioner
filed a reply to the Answer, ECF No. 10, and the Petition is
now ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, the
Court will dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction.
March 2012, Petitioner pled guilty in the U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of Virginia to a superseding
one-count information charging him with conspiring to
distribute more than twenty-eight (28) grams of crack
cocaine, contrary to 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)
and in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 860. No. 3:12-cr-174,
ECF Nos. 15 (information), 16 (minute entry for change of
plea hearing before magistrate judge), 19 (plea agreement),
24 (order finding Petitioner guilty) (E.D. Va.). That offense
carried a statutory range of five to forty years'
imprisonment. ECF No. 19 at 1 (plea agreement). In exchange
for his agreement to enter that plea, the Government agreed
to drop certain counts in the indictment charging him with
possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) and conspiring to
distribute more than 280 grams of crack cocaine in violation
of 21 U.S.C. § 860. See id. at 5. If convicted
of those two charges, Petitioner would have faced a mandatory
minimum term of imprisonment of fifteen years and a maximum
term of imprisonment of life plus life. No. 18-cv-14220, ECF
NO. 7 at 1 (D.N.J.).
of his plea agreement, Petitioner waived his right not to
appeal his conviction or any sentence within the statutory
range. No. 3:12-cr-174, ECF No. 19 at 3-4 (E.D. Va.). The
plea agreement did not contain a collateral attack waiver.
See generally id.
2013, the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Petitioner
to 156 months' imprisonment. Id., ECF No. 33
(judgment of conviction). Petitioner did not file an appeal.
He did, however, later file a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 to collaterally attack his conviction and
sentence, on the grounds that his attorney should have moved
to suppress certain evidence and should have negotiated a
better plea bargain. Id., ECF No. 36. The court
dismissed the § 2255 motion as untimely. Id.,
ECF Nos. 49 (opinion), 50 (order). In a separate order, the
court reduced Petitioner's sentence to 125 months'
imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) in light of a
retroactive amendment to the drug quantity table in U.S.S.G.
§ 2D1.1. ECF No. 46 (memorandum order).
2018, Petitioner sought leave from the Court of Appeals for
the Fourth Circuit to file a second § 2255 motion
arguing that he deserved a chance to litigate whether his
trial counsel was ineffective for not objecting to
enhancements under U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(1) and (b)(12),
not challenging certain criminal history points, and not
negotiating a guilty plea to a more favorable statutory
range. No. 18-cv-14220, ECF No. 7 (D.N.J.). According to
Petitioner, a “fundamental miscarriage of
justice” had occurred “as a result of an
ineligible application of the guidelines for enhancement
purposes.” Id. The Fourth Circuit denied his
application on July 11, 2018, without requiring any response
from the government. No. 3:12-cr-174, ECF No. 53 (E.D. Va.).
September 20, 2018, Petitioner filed the instant § 2241
Petition. No. 18-cv-14220, ECF No. 1 (D.N.J.). In his brief
supporting the Petition, Petitioner argues that his initial
sentence resulted from an incorrect advisory Guidelines range
and that his counsel was ineffective for not objecting to
that range or for not appealing the resulting sentence. ECF
No. 1-2 at 3-7. He also asserts that he would have prevailed
in a direct appeal had the plain error standard of review
been applied in accordance with Molina-Martinez v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 1338 (2016), and Rosales-Mirales
v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 1897 (2018). ECF No. 1-2 at
States Code Title 28, Section 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