Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tolbert v. Warden of FCI Estill

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

September 18, 2019

Robert Tolbert, Petitioner,
v.
Warden of FCI Estill, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          SHIVA V. HODGES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Robert Tolbert (“Petitioner”), proceeding pro se, is an inmate at Federal Correctional Institution Estill, in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons. He filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review such petitions for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the following reasons, the undersigned recommends the district judge dismiss the petition in this case without requiring the respondent to file an answer.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On February 24, 2014, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (“Sentencing Court”). See ECF No. 126, United States v. Tolbert, Crim. No. 3:14-19-ARC-1 (M.D. Pa. 2014) (“Sentencing Docket”).[1] On June 24, 2014, pursuant to a written plea agreement, the Sentencing Court sentenced Petitioner to 151 months' imprisonment. See ECF Nos. 122, 134, Sentencing Docket. Petitioner alleges his sentence included a two-level career offender enhancement under United States Sentencing Guidelines § 4B1.1. [ECF No. 1-2 at 4]. Petitioner did not challenge his conviction or sentence through a direct appeal or motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

         Petitioner asserts he is actually innocent of his career offender enhancement in light of Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), and seeks resentencing.

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of this petition pursuant to the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings for the United States District Court, [2] the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, and other habeas corpus statutes. Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir. 1975). The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).

         B. Analysis

         “[I]t is well established that defendants convicted in federal court are obliged to seek habeas relief from their convictions and sentences through § 2255.” Rice v. Rivera, 617 F.3d 802, 807 (4th Cir. 2010) (citing In re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 (4th Cir. 1997)). In contrast, a petition filed under § 2241 is typically used to challenge the manner in which a sentence is executed. See In re Vial, 115 F.3d at 1194 n.5. A petitioner cannot challenge his federal conviction and sentence under § 2241 unless he can satisfy the § 2255 savings clause, which states:

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 court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(e); see also Rice, 617 F.3d at 807 (finding courts lack jurisdiction over § 2241 petition outside savings clause).

         In the Fourth Circuit, § 2255 is inadequate and ineffective to test the legality of a sentence when:

(1) at the time of sentencing, settled law of this circuit or the Supreme Court established the legality of the sentence; (2) subsequent to the prisoner's direct appeal and first § 2255 motion, the aforementioned settled substantive law changed and was deemed to apply retroactively on collateral review; (3) the prisoner is unable to meet the gatekeeping provisions of § 2255(h)(2) for second or successive motions; and (4) due to this ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.