United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER United States District Judge.
Milton Samuels (“Petitioner”), an inmate
incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, filed a Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, purporting
to challenge a forfeiture judgment against him. (ECF No. 1).
The Court has examined the Petition in accordance with Rule 4
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, applicable to
§ 2241 cases through Rule 1(b). For the following reasons,
the Court will deny the Petition with prejudice.
Court will construe the allegations in the Petition as true
for the purpose of this Opinion. The Court gleans from the
Petition that in 2009, the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York sentenced Petitioner to 276
months imprisonment and issued a forfeiture judgment in the
amount of $6, 000, 000.00, stemming from certain drug
trafficking and weapons charges. (ECF No. 1, at 3);
McLean v. United States, No. 08-CR-789, 2016 WL
3910664, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. July 13, 2016) (addressing three
§ 2255 petitions from this Petitioner and his
co-conspirators). Petitioner filed the instant Petition to
challenge only the forfeiture judgment against him.
(ECF No. 1, at 1).
district courts have a pre-service duty under Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts, which is applicable to § 2241 petitions
pursuant to Rule 1(b), to screen and summarily dismiss a
habeas petition prior to any answer or other pleading when
the petition “appears legally insufficient on its
face.” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856
(1994); see also United States v. Thomas, 221 F.3d
430, 437 (3d Cir. 2000) (explaining that courts may dismiss
petitions where “none of the grounds alleged in the
petition would entitle [the petitioner] to relief).
those principles in mind, Petitioner contends that
Honeycutt v. United States, 581 U.S. __, 137 S.Ct.
1626 (2017), renders the forfeiture judgment against him
invalid. In Honeycutt, the Supreme Court held that
the Government cannot hold a defendant jointly and severally
liable for a co-conspirator's criminal proceeds if the
defendant did not personally acquire such property or
otherwise benefit from those proceeds. Id. at 1632.
Although the Petition offers no specific details, the Court
infers that the forfeiture judgment at issue holds Petitioner
jointly and severally liable for some part of his
co-conspirators' individual profits, as the conspiracy
involved “many hundreds of kilograms of cocaine”
and multiple millions of dollars. United States v.
Sanchez, 419 Fed.Appx. 27, 33 (2d Cir. 2011) (addressing
this Petitioner's forfeiture argument on appeal prior to
have held, however, that the rule in Honeycutt
“does not apply retroactively to convictions that
became final prior to its adoption.” E.g., United
States v. Potts, No. 01-457-3, 2018 WL 5296376, at *2
(E.D. Pa. Oct. 25, 2018), aff'd, No. 18-3470,
2019 WL 1458799 (3d Cir. Apr. 2, 2019); see also, e.g.
United States v. Concepcion, No. 15-15, 2019 WL 1760520,
at *2 (D.N.J. Apr. 22, 2019). Consequently, the
Honeycutt rule would not apply to Petitioner's
2009 forfeiture judgment, which became final many years
before the Supreme Court decided Honeycutt in 2017.
See McLean, 2016 WL 3910664, at *3 (detailing the
procedural history of this Petitioner's case, along with
that of his co-conspirators, in the context of considering
Petitioner's § 2255 petition).
the instant Petition suffers from a more fundamental flaw.
Petitioner filed this Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
but proceedings under § 2241 may only challenge the
validity of a person's “custody” or
“particulars affecting its duration.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241(c)(1) (“The writ of habeas corpus shall not
extend to a prisoner unless ... [h]e is in custody under or
by color of the authority of the United States”);
Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750 (2004).
2241's custodial limitation precludes a petitioner from
collaterally attacking a noncustodial aspect of their
sentence, such as a forfeiture order, in a § 2241
petition. E.g., Concepcion, 2019 WL
1760520, at *2; Potts, 2018 WL 5296376, at *2;
Lasher v. United States, 2018 WL 3979596, at *9
(S.D.N.Y. Aug. 20, 2018); see United States v. Ross,
801 F.3d 374, 380 (3d Cir. 2015) (holding that the
“monetary component of a sentence” does not
satisfy the “in custody” requirement of federal
differently, “Congress has not authorized a collateral
attack on final forfeiture through either a motion to vacate
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 or a habeas corpus petition under
28 U.S.C. § 2241.” Potts, 2018 WL
5296376, at *2 (quoting United States v. Georgiou,
No. 09-88, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102662, *12 (E.D. Pa. June
as § 2241 provides no authority to challenge
Petitioner's forfeiture judgment, the Court will deny the
Petition with prejudice. An appropriate order follows.
 Pursuant to Rule 4, if it plainly
appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief, a court must dismiss
the petition and direct the Clerk ...