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Ellis v. Antonelli

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

July 4, 2019

David Ellis, Petitioner,
v.
B. M. Antonelli, Warden, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Jacquelyn D. Austin United States Magistrate Judge.

         David Ellis (“Petitioner”) is a prisoner in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and is currently incarcerated in South Carolina at the Williamsburg Federal Correctional Institution. Proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, Petitioner brings this habeas action under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c), D.S.C., the undersigned Magistrate Judge is authorized to review such petitions for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. For the reasons below, the Petition is subject to summary dismissal for lack of jurisdiction.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner's Conviction, Sentence, and Appeal

         On August 26, 2013, Petitioner pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina at case number 5:12-cr-208-D to Count 2 of an Indictment, charging him with possession of a stolen firearm, and to Count 3 of an Indictment, charging him with possession of an unregistered firearm. [Doc. 1 at 2]; United States v. Ellis, No. 5:12-cr-00208-D (E.D. N.C. Aug. 26, 2013), Doc. 60.[1] On February 24, 2014, the Honorable James C. Dever III, sentenced Petitioner to, among other things, a term of 120 months' imprisonment as to Count 2 and a consecutive term of 115 months' imprisonment as to Count 3, for a total term of 235 months' imprisonment. [Doc. 1 at 3]; United States v. Ellis, No. 5:12-cr-00208-D (E.D. N.C. Feb. 24, 2014), Docs. 77, 81. Plaintiff filed a direct appeal, and, on October 23, 2014, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction and dismissed the appeal as to his sentence. [Doc. 1 at 2]; United States v. Ellis, 585 Fed.Appx. 58 (4th Cir. 2014). The United States Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for writ of certiorari on March 2, 2015. Ellis v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 1510 (2015).

         Petitioner's § 2255 Motion

         On June 19, 2015, Petitioner filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the sentencing court. [Doc. 1 at 4]; United States v. Ellis, No. 5:12-cr-00208-D (E.D. N.C. Jun. 19, 2015), Docs. 95, 99. However, the sentencing court denied his motion and granted the Government's motion to dismiss on May 27, 2016. Ellis v. United States, No. 5:15-cv-00268-D, 2016 WL 3064079 (E.D. N.C. May 27, 2016). Petitioner appealed and, on October 18, 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Petitioner's appeal.[2] Ellis v. United States, 669 Fed.Appx. 655, 656 (4th Cir. 2016).

         Petitioner's Present Action

         Petitioner now seeks habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in this Court, claiming that his sentence is unconstitutional because trial counsel was ineffective in failing to adequately or meaningfully explain the United States Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.” or “Guidelines”) at any time during the pendency of the criminal proceedings against him. [Doc. 1 at 8.] Specifically, Petitioner contends that trial counsel failed to explain Chapters 2 and 3 of the Guidelines to him, even though Petitioner was subject to a Chapter 2 enhancement, and that Petitioner entered a guilty plea without knowing the consequences of that plea with regard to the applicable sentencing enhancements under the Guidelines. [Id.] For his relief, Petitioner seeks resentencing and an evidentiary hearing. [Id. at 9.]

         APPLICABLE LAW

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se pleadings pursuant to the procedural provisions of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The review has been conducted in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Correction, 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995) (en banc); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291 (4th Cir. 1978); and Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Petitioner is a pro se litigant, and thus his pleadings are accorded liberal construction. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972). Even under this less stringent standard, however, the Petition is subject to summary dismissal.

         Furthermore, this Court is charged with screening Petitioner's lawsuit to determine if “it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4 of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts; see also Rule 1(b) Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the U.S. District Courts (2012) (explaining that a district court may apply these rules to a habeas corpus petition not filed pursuant to § 2254).

         DISCUSSION

         Savings ...


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