United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Timothy Adams is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at
FCI Fort Dix, in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He is proceeding
pro se with an Amended 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. The Court will, however, transfer
Petitioner's Fair Sentencing Act claim to the United
States District Court for the Middle District of North
Court will construe the factual allegations in the Petition
as true for the purpose of this Opinion. In 1995, after a
trial, a jury convicted Petitioner of conspiracy with intent
to distribute in excess of fifty grams of cocaine base.
Thereafter, the United States District Court for the Middle
District of North Carolina sentenced Petitioner to life in
prison and a term of supervised release for ten years. In
August of 2016, then President Barack H. Obama commuted
Petitioner's sentence to 360 months in prison.
filed the instant Petition, contending that the sentencing
judge impermissibly found a fact that increased his mandatory
minimum sentence. Petitioner also asks that the Court reduce
his sentence, pursuant to a retroactive application of the
Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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).
challenges his conviction and sentence in this 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 federal habeas action, as well as seeks a
reduction in his sentence through the Fair Sentencing Act of
2010. 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)
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 exists to ensure
that petitioners have a fair opportunity to seek collateral
relief, not to enable them to evade procedural
requirements.” Id. at 539 (citing In re
Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251-52 (3d Cir. 1997)).
Dorsainvil, the Third Circuit held that the remedy
under § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective,
” permitting resort to § 2241 (a statute without
timeliness or successive petition limitations), where a
prisoner who previously had filed a § 2255 motion on
other grounds “had no earlier opportunity to challenge
his conviction for a crime that an intervening change in
substantive law may negate.” 119 F.3d at 251.
the Third Circuit emphasized that its holding was not
suggesting that a § 2255 motion was “inadequate or
ineffective” merely because a petitioner is unable to
meet the strict gatekeeping requirements of § 2255.
under Dorsainvil and its progeny, this Court would
have jurisdiction over the Petition if, and only if,
Petitioner alleges: (1) his “actual innocence, ”
(2) as a result of a retroactive change in substantive law
that negates the criminality of his conduct, and (3) for
which he had no other opportunity to seek judicial review.
See Bruce v. Warden Lewisburg USP,868 F.3d 170, ...