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Telfair v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 21, 2019

TOMMIE TELFAIR, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          Tommie Telfair, Petitioner pro se

          OPINION

          Jerome B. Simandle, U.S. District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Tommie Telfair, 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. [Docket Entry 1]. He also moves for bail. [Docket Entry 2]. For the reasons expressed below, this Court will dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction.

         II. BACKGROUND

         In February 2010, a jury convicted Petitioner of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of cocaine. 21 U.S.C. § 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B); 18 U.S.C. § 2. United States v. Telfair, No. 08-cr-0757 (D.N.J. Nov. 23, 2011). He was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment in November 2011. See United States v. Telfair, 507 Fed.Appx. 164, 169 (3d Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 571 U.S. 866 (2013). The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the convictions and sentence on appeal. Id.

         Petitioner filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in October 2013. The Honorable Susan D. Wigenton, U.S.D.J., denied the motion on February 17, 2016, except for Petitioner's Miranda[1] claim which was reserved pending an evidentiary hearing. Telfair v. United States, No. 13-6585 (D.N.J. Feb. 17, 2016). The Miranda claim was denied on September 25, 2017. Order, Telfair, No. 13-6585 (Sept. 25, 2017 Docket Entry 59). The Third Circuit denied a certificate of appealability. Telfair v. United States of America, No. 17-3379 (3d Cir. June 19, 2018), cert. denied, No. 18-7840 (U.S. Mar. 18, 2019). Petitioner has filed a variety of motions and petitions seeking to overturn his conviction since the denial of his § 2255 motion.

         Petitioner filed the instant petition challenging the validity of his conviction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on April 8, 2019. [Docket Entry 1]. He states he “takes umbrage at his unconstitutional conspiracy-conviction and sentence” and asserts “the underlying ‘conduct' by which Petitioner's conspiracy-conviction is premised upon does not comport with the necessary threshold ‘statutory-element' requirements under 21 U.S.C. § 846.” [Docket Entry 1-1 at 2]. Petitioner invokes the savings clause to challenge his conviction, arguing he is actually innocent of the offense after the Supreme Court's decision in Rosemond v. United States, 572 U.S. 65 (2014). [Id. at 17].

         This matter is now ripe for disposition.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Petitioner 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).

         Nevertheless, 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).

         IV. ANALYSIS

         Section 2241 “confers habeas jurisdiction to hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is challenging not the validity but the execution of his sentence.” Coady v. Vaughn,251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001). A challenge to the validity of a federal conviction or sentence must be brought 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)). “[Section] 2255 expressly prohibits a district court from considering a challenge to a prisoner's federal sentence under § 2241 unless the remedy under § 2255 is ‘inadequate or ineffective to test the ...


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