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Jackson v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 31, 2019

ANDREW CHARLES JACKSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          OPINION

          Robert B. Kugler United States District Judge.

         Petitioner Andrew Charles Jackson is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at FCI Fairton, in Fairton, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court will construe the factual allegations in the Petition as true for the purpose of this Opinion. In June of 2000, a Grand Jury indicted Petitioner on one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, one count of killing in furtherance of a criminal enterprise, one count of carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, and four counts of distributing crack cocaine. In 2002, a jury found Petitioner guilty on all counts, and the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia sentenced Petitioner to life in prison and five years.

         According to Petitioner, the court had improperly applied the 2001 Sentencing Guidelines instead of the 1987 Sentencing Guidelines, which were in effect at the time of his offenses. Had the court used the 1987 Guidelines, Petitioner contends that he would have had a sentencing range of 210 to 262 months imprisonment rather than a minimum sentence of life in prison. Additionally, the sentencing court enhanced Petitioner's sentence based on the quantity of drugs and degree of murder involved in his offenses, without submitting those issues to a jury. It appears that Petitioner's trial counsel did not contest any of these issues.

         It is not entirely clear what transpired next, but it appears that the Fourth Circuit denied his direct appeal, United States v. West, 90 Fed.Appx. 683 (4th Cir. 2004), and the Supreme Court denied his petition for writ of certiorari. Jackson v. United States, 543 U.S. 888 (2004). Petitioner filed a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and a district court denied that Petition on the merits. Jackson v. United States, No. 05-110, 2008 WL 2230718, at *1 (N.D. W.Va. May 29, 2008). The Fourth Circuit denied a certificate of appealability, United States v. Jackson, 393 Fed.Appx. 129 (4th Cir. 2010), and the Supreme Court denied certiorari. Jackson v. United States, 562 U.S. 1278 (2011).

         Petitioner then filed a second § 2255 petition, and a district court denied that petition as untimely and for a lack of jurisdiction as second or successive. Jackson v. United States, No. 3:00-CR-6-1, 2013 WL 1849524, at *1 (N.D. W.Va. Apr. 30, 2013). The Fourth Circuit again denied a certificate of appealability, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari. United States v. Jackson, 703 Fed.Appx. 197 (4th Cir. 2017), cert. dismissed, 138 S.Ct. 2664 (2018).

         Petitioner then filed the instant Petition, contending: (1) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) that he received sentencing enhancements in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); and (3) that his sentence violated the Constitution's Ex Post Facto Clause. See generally U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 3.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal 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).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Petitioner challenges his conviction and sentence in this 28 U.S.C. § 2241 federal habeas action. Generally, a person must 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, 88-89 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002)). This is generally true because § 2255 prohibits a district court from entertaining a challenge to a prisoner's federal sentence through § 2241 unless the remedy under § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Indeed, § 2255(e) states that:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to this section, shall not be entertained if it appears that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such a court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy by the motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.

         A § 2255 motion is “inadequate or ineffective, ” which permits a petitioner to resort to a § 2241 petition, “only where the petitioner demonstrates that some limitation or procedure would prevent a § 2255 proceeding from affording him a full hearing and adjudication of his wrongful detention claim.” Cradle v. U.S. ex rel. Miner,290 F.3d 536, 538 (3d Cir. 2002). However, § 2255 “is not inadequate or ineffective merely because the sentencing court does not grant relief, the one-year statute of limitations has expired, or the petitioner is unable to meet the stringent gatekeeping requirements of . . . § 2255.” Id. at 539. “It is the inefficacy of the remedy, not the personal inability to use it, that is determinative.” Id. at 538. “The provision ...


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