JENIFER v. WARDEN
OPINION. Signed by Judge Robert B. Kugler on 4/11/2018. (dmr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 17-13584 (RBK)
WARDEN FCI FORT DIX,
ROBERT B. KUGLER, U.S.D.J.
Petitioner Kedrick Jenifer (“Petitioner”) is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at FCI
Fort Dix, in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner seeks to void his sentence, entered by the United
States District Court, District of Maryland on March 4, 2016. For the following reasons, this Court
lacks jurisdiction over Petitioner’s claims and will transfer the matter to the sentencing court.
On October 20, 2015, Petitioner pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with
intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, in the United States District Court for
the District of Maryland. (See ECF No. 1 at p. 13). Petitioner received a sentence of 240 months
imprisonment on March 4, 2016. (See id.). On December 21, 2017, Petitioner filed a petition for
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in this Court seeking to vacate his sentence on
the sole ground that his conviction enhancement under 21 U.S.C. § 851 is null void. (See id. at p.
“Motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are the presumptive means by which federal
prisoners can challenge their convictions or sentences that are allegedly in violation of the
Constitution.” Okereke v. U.S., 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing Davis v. United States,
417 U.S. 333, 343 (1974)). “[T]he ‘safety valve’ clause of § 2255 allows a petitioner to seek a
writ of habeas corpus under § 2241 in the ‘rare case’ in which a § 2255 motion would be
‘inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.’” Jackman v. Shartle, 535 F. App’x
87, 89 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e); In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249-50 (3d Cir.
The Third Circuit has applied the safety valve “where a petitioner ‘is being detained for
conduct that has subsequently been rendered non-criminal by an intervening Supreme Court
decision,’ and where the petitioner is otherwise barred from filing a second or successive § 2255
petition.” Id. (quoting In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 252). The Dorsainvil exception does not apply
to a petitioner’s claim that he is innocent of a sentencing enhancement due to an intervening change
in the law. See Selby v. Scism, 453 F. App’x 266, 268 (3d Cir. 2011).
Petitioner’s sole ground for relief is that he is innocent of his sentencing enhancement
under 21 U.S.C. § 851. (See ECF No. 1 at pp. 21-25). Such a claim must be brought in the
sentencing court under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. It does not appear that Petitioner has brought a motion
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the sentencing court. 28 U.S.C. § 1631 provides:
Whenever a civil action is filed in a court ... and that court finds that
there is a want of jurisdiction, the court shall, if it is in the interest
of justice, transfer such action ... to any other such court in which
the action ... could have been brought at the time it was filed ...
Although Petitioner may be barred by the statute of limitations, in the interest of justice,
this Court will transfer the case to the sentencing court to make that determination.
This Court lacks jurisdiction over Petitioner’s claims under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The Court
will direct the Clerk to transfer this case to the United States District Court, District of Maryland,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631. An appropriate Order follows.
DATED: April 11, 2018
s/Robert B. Kugler
ROBERT B. KUGLER
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?