QUASHIE v. ORTIZ
OPINION. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 1/6/2021. (rss, n.m.)
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NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
CIV. NO. 19-20084 (RMB)
This matter comes before the Court upon Ryan Quashie’s
(“Petitioner”) Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, challenging his conviction based on the Supreme Court
decision in Rehaif v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2191 (2019). (Pet.,
Dkt. No. 1.) Petitioner was confined in the Federal Correctional
Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey, when he filed this petition.
Respondent filed an answer to the petition on March 30, 2020,
(Answer, Dkt. No. 11), and Petitioner filed a reply brief. (Reply
Brief, Dkt. No. 13.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court
will dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction.
On February 10, 2017, Petitioner was sentenced in the United
States District Court, Eastern District of New York, to a 54-month
concurrent term of imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act
robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count 1) and Hobbs
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Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count 3).
(Declaration of Elizabeth Pascal, (“Pascal Decl.,”) Ex. 1 at 2;
Ex. 2; see also United States v. Quashie, No. 14-cr-00376-BMC
(E.D.N.Y.)1 (ECF No. 198)). Assuming Petitioner receives all good
conduct time available, his projected release date is January 27,
2021. (Id., Ex. 1 at 1.)
On November 12, 2019, Petitioner filed the present petition
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, alleging that he is actually innocent of
conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and Hobbs Act robbery, 18
U.S.C. § 1951, pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Rehaif v.
United States, 139 S. Ct. 2191 (2019). (Pet., Dkt. 1.) Petitioner
contends that because he was charged with “knowingly” conspiring
to commit Hobbs Act robbery and “knowingly” attempting to commit
Hobbs Act robbery, Rehaif is applicable to his conviction. He
Information did not charge him with facts establishing that he
commerce. For relief, Petitioner asks the Court to vacate his
conviction; dismiss the criminal charges against him for lack of
Available at www.PACER.gov.
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subject matter jurisdiction; and immediately release him from BOP
Respondent argues that the petition should be denied for two
reasons. First, Respondent contends that Rehaif does not apply to
convictions for conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and Hobbs
Act robbery, 18 U.S.C. § 1951. Second, assuming the Court were to
find that Rehaif applied to Petitioner’s convictions, the Supreme
requirement does not apply to the jurisdictional element of §§
922(g) and 924(a)(2); therefore, it would not apply in Petitioner’s
Petitioner’s Reply Brief
Brief, Dkt. No. 13.) Petitioner acknowledges that he would have
raised his claim in his motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255,
if he had known about the Rehaif decision at that time. Petitioner
also suggests that because Respondent is unclear whether Rehaif is
applicable, it is for the Court to decide.
Standard of Law
28 U.S.C. § 2255 is the presumptive means for a federal
prisoner to challenge the validity of a conviction. Bruce v. Warden
Lewisburg USP, 868 F.3d 170, 178 (3d Cir. 2017). The Third Circuit,
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permits access to § 2241 when two conditions
are satisfied: First, a prisoner must assert
a “claim of ‘actual innocence’ on the theory
that ‘he is being detained for conduct that
has subsequently been rendered non-criminal by
an intervening Supreme Court decision’ and our
own precedent construing an intervening
Supreme Court decision”—in other words, when
there is a change in statutory caselaw that
applies retroactively in cases on collateral
review. [U.S. v.] Tyler, 732 F.3d [241,] 246
[3d Cir. 2013] (quoting [In re] Dorsainvil,
119 F.3d [ 245,] 252 [3d Cir. 1997). And
second, the prisoner must be “otherwise barred
conviction under § 2255.” Id.
Bruce v. Warden Lewisburg USP, 868 F.3d 170, 180 (3d Cir. 2017).
In Rehaif, the Supreme Court held that the Government, for a
conviction under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and 924(a) for possession of
defendant knew he possessed a firearm, and that he knew he belonged
to the relevant category of restricted persons. 139 S. Ct. at 2194.
The Supreme Court in Rehaif did not interpret the statutory
language of 18 U.S.C. § 1951, Petitioner’s crime of conviction.
Instead, Petitioner asks this Court to extend the reasoning of the
Supreme Court’s decision in Rehaif to his situation.
The Third Circuit has never found jurisdiction under § 2241
interpretation to a different statute. In a similar vein, where a
defendant sought relief in an otherwise untimely petition under 28
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U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3), based on “a natural application of the
reasoning of the [Supreme] Court's decisions in Johnson, Booker,
and Beckles …,” the Third Circuit held that the defendant’s claim
was premature because the Supreme Court had not yet addressed the
specific issue raised by the defendant. United States v. Green,
898 F.3d 315, 320 (3d Cir. 2018), cert. denied, 139 S. Ct. 1590,
203 L. Ed. 2d 748 (2019). To proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3),
a defendant must establish that a constitutional “right has been
newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively
applicable to cases on collateral review.” Similarly, to bring a
claim under § 2241, based on the saving clause of § 2255(e), a
Petitioner must assert a claim of actual innocence based on an
subsequently rendered the Petitioner’s conduct of conviction noncriminal.
The Supreme Court, in Rehaif, did not interpret the language
of 18 U.S.C. § 1951. In statutory interpretation, words can have
different meanings in a particular context. See Yates v. United
States, 574 U.S. 528, 537 (2015) (quoting Robinson v. Shell Oil
Co., 519 U.S. 337, 341 (1997) (“[t]he plainness or ambiguity of
statutory language is determined [not only] by reference to the
language itself, [but as well by] the specific context in which
that language is used, and the broader context of the statute as
a whole.”) (alteration in Yates.)) Thus, the Court concludes that
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it lacks jurisdiction under § 2241 over the claim raised by
Petitioner. At best, Petitioner’s claim is premature because the
“knowingly” under § 922(g) and 924(a) is also applicable to the
conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 1951. Therefore, the Court will
dismiss the petition because Petitioner does not rely on a Supreme
conduct of conviction no longer criminal.
For the reasons discussed above, the Court dismisses the
petition for lack of jurisdiction.
An appropriate Order follows.
Date: January 6, 2021
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB
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