United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
JEANNE J. GRAHAM, Magistrate Judge.
This case is before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Petitioner's application for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Docket No. 1.) The matter has been referred to this Court for report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons discussed below, it is recommended that the petition for writ of habeas corpus be summarily dismissed pursuant to Rule 4 of The Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases In The United States District Courts.
Petitioner is an inmate at the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, Minnesota. He is serving a 225-month prison sentence that was imposed in November 2007 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. (Petition, p. 2, §§ 1-4.) Petitioner was sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 1000 kilograms of marijuana and at least 5 kilograms of cocaine. United States v. Gonzalez, No. 2:00-CR-257.
Under the terms and conditions of Petitioner's plea agreement, he was barred from filing a direct appeal, or seeking post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, unless his sentence did not conform to certain conditions described in the agreement. The sentence imposed by the trial court judge did conform to those conditions, so Petitioner's waiver of his right to challenge his sentence became binding upon his sentencing. (See Petition, p. 3, § 10, ["Petitioner waived his right to any post-conviction appeal or motion as conditions in part to plea agreement"].) Because of the waiver in the plea agreement, Petitioner has never challenged his conviction or sentence by means of an appeal, or by filing a § 2255 motion.
In the present habeas corpus case, Petitioner is attempting to challenge the sentence that was imposed in 2007 in the Southern District of Texas. The current petition lists three grounds for relief, which, repeated verbatim and in their entirety, are as follows:
"Ground 1 Error in application of fraud enhancement. Petitioner has provided proof to court that he was ultimately exonerated of offense stemming from case in Mexico. Requests four-point reduction/correction."
Ground 2 Sentence offense level was never adjusted to reflect 2-point reduction for Acceptance of Responsibility, and two-to-four-point allowance for misapplying ring leader' enhancement to sentence."
Ground 3 Sentencing court erroneously attached an inflated Category and offense level, with no concessions considered despite signing plea agreement. Former counsel never contested sentence for Petitioner."
(Petition, p. 3, § 9.)
For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that Petitioner's current challenges to his 2007 federal prison sentence cannot be brought in a § 2241 habeas corpus petition.
As a general rule, a federal prisoner can maintain a collateral challenge to his conviction or sentence only by filing a motion in the trial court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Abdullah v. Hedrick, 392 F.3d 957, 959 (8th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 545 U.S. 1147 (2005). Subsection 2255(e) provides that -
"[a]n 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 [i.e., § 2255], 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 ...