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Robert Lee Winfield, Jr v. B. A. Bledsoe

November 10, 2011

ROBERT LEE WINFIELD, JR.,
PETITIONER
v.
B. A. BLEDSOE,
RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: : (Judge Munley)

(Magistrate Judge Blewitt)

MEMORANDUM

Before the court for disposition is Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt's report and recommendation (Doc. 5) proposing that the court dismiss Petitioner Robert Lee Winfield, Jr.'s habeas corpus petition (Doc. 1). Petitioner Robert Lee Winfield, Jr. filed objections to the report and recommendation. (Doc. 6). The matter is ripe for disposition.

Background

Petitioner Robert Lee Winfield, Jr. (hereinafter "petitioner") is incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and filed the instant pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on May 12, 2011. (Doc. 1, Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus at 1).

After a jury found petitioner guilty of various crimes, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced him to a term of imprisonment of life plus 300 months on July 29, 1996. (Id. at 3). Petitioner appealed his judgment of conviction/sentence to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. (Id.)

The Fourth Circuit affirmed the conviction and sentence on March 5, 1998. (Id. at 3-4). Petitioner filed a motion to vacate or set aside his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the Eastern District of Virginia on February 26, 1999. (See Doc. 1 in 08cv509, Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus at 5-6). The district court denied the motion on March 17, 2000. (Id.) Petitioner attempted to file a second Section 2255 motion in the Eastern District of Virginia. (See Doc. 2 in 08cv509, Mem. of Law in Supp. of 2241 Pet. at 26-27). On February 29, 2008 the district court denied the second motion because petitioner had not obtained authorization from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Id.)

On May 12, 2011, petitioner filed the instant habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.*fn1 (Doc. 1, Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus at 1). He filed the petition in this judicial district because he is imprisoned here. In the instant petition, petitioner argues that United States Bureau of Prisons (hereinafter "BOP") Policy Statement 13.51.05, which prohibits inmates from possessing their pre-sentence report and judgment and commitment order (hereinafter "J&C"), hindered him from succeeding in his first Section 2255 actual innocence claim. Petitioner contends that the J&C reflects that count one of the indictment was vacated, but that it was nonetheless used as a factor in his continuing criminal enterprise (hereinafter "CCE") conviction. Petitioner claims he was not able to obtain the J&C until his case manager provided him a copy.

This case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Blewitt for the purpose of issuing a report and recommendation. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The law provides that when a Section 2241 habeas corpus petition is filed, the court "must promptly examine it. If it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition . . . ." Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 (made applicable to § 2241 petitions under Rule 1(b)). Magistrate Judge Blewitt issued a report and recommendation indicating that the case should be dismissed under Rule 4. Petitioner then filed objections to the report and recommendation, bringing this case to its present posture.

Standard of Review

In disposing of objections to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the district court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the report against which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)©; see also Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 877 (3d Cir. 1987). This court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. Id. The district court judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions. Id.

A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). A habeas petition and any supporting submissions filed pro se must be construed liberally and with a measure of tolerance. See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d Cir. 1998); Lewis v. Attorney Gen., 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989). However, a federal district court can dismiss a habeas petition if it appears from the face of the petition that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. See Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320 (1996); Sears v. Ryan, 773 F.2d 37, 45 (3d Cir. 1985), cert denied, 490 U.S. 1025 (1989); see also 28 U.S.C. §§ 2243, 2255.

Discussion

As noted above, petitioner is a federal prisoner who brings this habeas corpus petition in the judicial district of his confinement pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2241. In his report and recommendation, Magistrate Judge Blewitt recommended that the petition be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Magistrate Judge Blewitt noted that the petition represented a ...


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