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Fatiga v. Young

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 24, 2019

NICHOLAS FATIGA, Petitioner,
v.
SCOTT YOUNG, Respondent.

          Nicholas Fatiga Petitioner Pro se

          John Andrew Ruymann, Esq. John Tudor Stinson, Jr., Esq. Office of the U.S. Attorney Counsel for Respondent

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Petitioner Nicholas Fatiga, a prisoner presently confined at the Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) at Fairton in Fairton, 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 a Motion to Dismiss the Petition in which he argues that the Petition should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. ECF No. 9. Petitioner filed an opposition to the Motion, ECF No. 11, and Respondent filed a reply, ECF No. 11. The Motion is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the Motion and dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On July 14, 2010, Petitioner was charged in a second superseding indictment for participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. See No. 10-cr-52, ECF No. 103 (E.D. Pa.). On February 24, 2011, pursuant to a plea agreement, Petitioner pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. See id., ECF No. 448.

         Petitioner's sentencing hearing was held on June 26, 2012. Id. Pursuant to Section 2D1.1(a) of the 2009 Sentencing Guidelines, Petitioner had an initial base offense level of thirty-two (32) for an offense involving more than five but less than ten kilograms of cocaine. Id. at 2. The sentencing court determined that Petitioner qualified as a “career offender” under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 because of prior drug trafficking offenses, which increased the offense level to a thirty-seven (37). The sentencing court then reduced the offense level by three “for being a minimal participant in the crime activity” and by an additional three for acceptance of responsibility, “resulting in a total offense level of thirty-one (31).” Id. As a career offender under the Guidelines, Petitioner received a criminal history category of VI, which, with his offense level, carried an advisory sentencing range under the applicable Guidelines of 180 to 235 months' imprisonment. Id.

         The sentencing court then granted the Government's motion for a downward departure, which further reduced Petitioner's offense level to twenty-seven (27). Id. The sentencing court concluded that, under the Guidelines, Petitioner's advisory range would be 132 to 162 months' imprisonment. Id. at 2-3. After considering the advisory range and other relevant factors, the sentencing court sentenced Petitioner to 162 months of imprisonment. Id. Petitioner did not challenge his sentence on direct appeal or through a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

         On August 25, 2017, Petitioner filed a pro se motion to modify sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Id., ECF Nos. 439 (motion), 440 (supplement), 445 (additional supplement). Petitioner sought to reduce his sentence to a range between 110 to 137 months based on Amendment 782 of the Guidelines. Id., ECF No. 448 at 3. On May 30, 2018, the sentencing court denied the motion on grounds that the Amendment did not affect Petitioner's applicable sentencing range. Id.

         Petitioner then filed the instant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in this Court on January 30, 2019. No. 19-cv-1934, ECF No. 1 (D.N.J.). In the Petition, he argues that he should not have been designated as a career offender under the Guidelines at sentencing. Specifically, he relies on two Supreme Court cases, Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. 254 (2013), and Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), to support his theory that his prior convictions “do not qualify him as a career offender” and that he is entitled to resentencing without the career offender enhancement. ECF No. 1 at 7-8.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         Title 28, Section 2243 of the United States Code provides in relevant part as follows:

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 ...

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