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Che L. Romero v. H. Rios

January 17, 2012

CHE L. ROMERO,
PETITIONER,
v.
H. RIOS, WARDEN,
RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto ie United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS BROUGHT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) ORDER DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY ORDER DIRECTING THE CLERK TO CLOSE THE CASE

Petitioner is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se in a habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1), Petitioner has consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings in the case, including the entry of final judgment, by manifesting consent in a signed writing filed by Petitioner on December 27, 2011 (doc. 3). Pending before the Court is the petition, which was filed on December 7, 2011.

I. Screening the Petition

The Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (Habeas Rules) are appropriately applied to proceedings undertaken pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Habeas Rule 1(b). Habeas Rule 4 requires the Court to make a preliminary review of each petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Court must summarily dismiss a petition "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court...." Habeas Rule 4; O'Bremski v. Maass, 915 F.2d 418, 420 (9th Cir. 1990); see also Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490 (9th Cir. 1990). Habeas Rule 2(c) requires that a petition 1) specify all grounds of relief available to the Petitioner; 2) state the facts supporting each ground; and 3) state the relief requested. Notice pleading is not sufficient; rather, the petition must state facts that point to a real possibility of constitutional error. Rule 4, Advisory Committee Notes, 1976 Adoption; O'Bremski v. Maass, 915 F.2d at 420 (quoting Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 75 n. 7 (1977)). Allegations in a petition that are vague, conclusory, or palpably incredible are subject to summary dismissal. Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490, 491 (9th Cir. 1990).

Further, the Court may dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus either on its own motion under Habeas Rule 4, pursuant to the respondent's motion to dismiss, or after an answer to the petition has been filed. Advisory Committee Notes to Habeas Rule 8, 1976 Adoption; see, Herbst v. Cook, 260 F.3d 1039, 1042-43 (9th Cir. 2001).

Here, Petitioner is an inmate of the United States Penitentiary at Atwater, California (USPA) who challenges his sentence of seventy-two (72) months imposed in case number 05-cr-00368-JRT-FLN-3 on March 14, 2007, and amended on November 20, 2008, by the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota upon Petitioner's conviction of aiding and abetting arson, possession of a firearm, illegal manufacture of a firearm, and possession of a firearm without a serial number. (Pet. 2.) Petitioner raises two grounds in the petition: 1) Petitioner is entitled to relief with respect to the restitution ordered by the sentencing court because his co-defendant received such relief in an appeal brought by the co-defendant; and 2) the sentence of seventy-two months imposed on Petitioner increased his overall prison stay by five years, which was contrary to the plea agreement for fifteen years that Petitioner entered into in the sentencing court. (Id. at 3.)

Petitioner admits that both issues he raises are reviewable only by the District Court, and not by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). (Pet. 3.)

II. Analysis

A federal prisoner who wishes to challenge his conviction or sentence on the grounds it was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or was otherwise subject to collateral attack must do so by way of a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. 28 U.S.C. § 2255; Stephens v. Herrera, 464 F.3d 895, 897 (9th Cir. 2006); Tripati v. Henman, 843 F.2d 1160, 1162 (9th Cir. 1988). In such cases, the motion must be filed in the district where the defendant was sentenced because only the sentencing court has jurisdiction. Hernandez v. Campbell, 204 F.3d 861, 864 (9th Cir. 2000); Tripati, 843 F.2d at 1163. Generally, a prisoner may not collaterally attack a federal conviction or sentence by way of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Stephens v. Herrera, 464 F.3d 895, 897 (9th Cir. 2006); Tripati, 843 F.2d at 1162.

In contrast, a federal prisoner challenging the manner, location, or conditions of that sentence's execution must bring a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Brown v. United States, 610 F.2d 672, 677 (9th Cir. 1990).

A federal prisoner authorized to seek relief under § 2255 may seek relief under § 2241 only if he can show that the remedy available under § 2255 is "inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention." United States v. Pirro, 104 F.3d 297, 299 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting § 2255). Although there is little guidance from any court on when § 2255 is an inadequate or ineffective remedy, in the Ninth Circuit it is recognized that the exception is narrow. Id; Moore v. Reno, 185 F.3d 1054, 1055 (9th Cir. 1999) (dismissal of a successive motion pursuant to § 2255 did not render such motion procedure an ineffective or inadequate remedy so as to authorize a federal prisoner to seek habeas relief); Aronson v. May, 85 S.Ct. 3, 5 (1964) (denial of a prior § 2255 motion is insufficient to render § 2255 inadequate); Tripati, 843 F.2d at 1162-63 (9th Cir. 1988) (noting that a petitioner's fears of bias or unequal treatment do not render a § 2255 petition inadequate); see, United States v. ValdezPacheco, 237 F.3d 1077 (9th Cir. 2001) (procedural requirements of § 2255 may not be circumvented by filing a petition for writ of audita querela pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651). The burden is on the petitioner to show that the remedy is inadequate or ineffective. Redfield v. United States, 315 F.2d 76, 83 (9th Cir. 1963). If a petitioner proceeding pursuant to § 2241 fails to meet his burden to demonstrate that the § 2255 remedy is inadequate or ineffective, then the § 2241 petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Ivy v. Pontesso, 328 F.3d 1057, 1061 (9th Cir. 2003).

In this case, Petitioner challenges the underlying sentence imposed on him because of the sentencing court's choice of term and its determination of the amount of restitution Petitioner was ordered to pay. Because Petitioner is alleging errors in his sentence, and not errors in the administration of his sentence, the Court concludes that Petitioner is not entitled to relief under § 2241.

In addition, Petitioner makes no claim that ยง 2255 is inadequate or ineffective. Should the Petitioner wish to pursue his claims in federal court, he must do so by way of a motion to vacate ...


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