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Pittman v. Warden, FCI Ray Brook

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Bluefield

February 1, 2018

MAURICE PITTMAN, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, FCI RAY BROOK, [1]Respondent.

          PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          DWANE L. TINSLEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Pending before the court is the petitioner's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (ECF No. 1). This matter is assigned to the Honorable David A. Faber, United States District Judge, and it is referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for submission of proposed findings and a recommendation for disposition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). For the reasons stated herein, it is respectfully RECOMMENDED that the presiding District Judge DISMISS the petitioner's section 2241 petition (ECF No. 1) and this civil action for lack of jurisdiction.

         BACKGROUND AND PETITIONER'S CLAIM

         A. The petitioner's conviction and direct appeal proceedings.

         On December 12, 2002, Petitioner was convicted by a jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois of one count of distributing 6.3 grams of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).[2] (United States v. Pittman, No. 3:01-cr-30148-2, ECF No. 104, Verdict). The jury also made a specific finding that the amount of controlled substances attributable to the petitioner in the distribution charge was at least 5 grams, but less than 50 grams of cocaine base, which exposed the petitioner to a sentence of not less than five years and not more than 40 years of imprisonment pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B). (Id.)

         Prior to his conviction, the United States of America filed an Information pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851, which subjected the petitioner to an increased statutory sentencing range of 10 years to life due to his prior convictions. (Id., ECF No. 41). Under the then-mandatory United States Sentencing Guidelines, the petitioner also received a guideline enhancement under USSG § 4B1.1 for being a career offender.[3] Therefore, his sentencing guideline level was calculated to be a level 37, with a criminal history category of VI, resulting in a sentencing guideline range of 360 months to life.[4] On March 21, 2003, the petitioner was sentenced to 390 months in prison, followed by an 8-year term of supervised release, a $100 special assessment and a $2, 000 fine. (Id., ECF No. 120). A Judgment to that effect was entered on March 24, 2003. (Id., ECF No. 123).

         The petitioner appealed his conviction and sentence to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which affirmed his Judgment on November 12, 2004. See United States v. Pittman, 388 F.3d 1104 (7th Cir. 2004). However, the petitioner thereafter filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was granted. See Pittman v. United States, 544 U.S. 995 (2005). The Supreme Court vacated and remanded the judgment of the Seventh Circuit for further consideration in light of the decision in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), which rendered the United States Sentencing Guideline advisory. Id. The Seventh Circuit then remanded the matter to the district court to determine whether it would have imposed the same sentence under an advisory guideline scheme. See United States v. Pittman, 418 F.3d 704 (7th Cir. 2005).

         On June 29, 2006, the district court issued a Memorandum & Order holding that, considering the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and the evidence of record, it would impose the same sentence. (United States v. Pittman, No. 3:01-cr-30108, ECF No. 171). On July 24, 2006, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the final judgment of the district court. (United States v. Pittman, No. 03-1812 (Jul. 24, 2006) (unpublished)). A Mandate was issued on August 15, 2005. (United States v. Pittman, No. 3:01-cr-20108, ECF No. 174).

         B. Petitioner's prior post-conviction filings.

         On October 22, 2007, the petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, which he was subsequently permitted to amend. (Pittman v. United States, No. 3:07-cv-00742). In those proceedings, the district court entertained two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and a claim that the district court did not follow proper procedure in imposing petitioner's enhancement under 21 U.S.C. § 851. On March 31, 2011, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois denied the amended section 2255 motion. (Id., ECF No. 13). In the Memorandum & Order denying the motion, the court noted that the petitioner had admitted his prior convictions at sentencing, and that the Seventh Circuit affirmed the use of those prior convictions in the sentencing determination. (Id. at 9).

         C. Petitioner's section 2241 petition.

         The instant section 2241 petition, which was filed in this court on November 18, 2014, is not a model of clarity. Although the petition appears to be challenging the petitioner's career offender enhancement, it fails to state any details concerning the petitioner's conviction and sentence imposed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, and fails to discuss the underlying prior convictions that were used to enhance his sentence. Rather, the petition merely states as follows:

COMES NOW, Maurice Pittman . . . and would state that he is actually innocent of the CCA Enhancement[5] as he proceeds to challenge in pro se.
Defendant further states his effort to move this Honorable Court to preserve his possible issue and relief under the new ...

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