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Jones v. Entzel

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 20, 2015

ANTHONY JONES, Petitioner
v.
CYNTHIA ENTZEL, Acting Warden Respondent

MEMORANDUM

MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge

Petitioner, Anthony Jones, an inmate currently confined in the Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution, (“SCI-Schuylkill”), Minersville, Pennsylvania, filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2241. (Doc. 1). He challenges a sentence imposed by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the petition for writ of habeas corpus for lack of jurisdiction.

I. Background

On January 10, 2006, the defendant, Anthony Jones, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of conspiracy and drug distribution. (See United States v. Barnes, et al, Criminal Action No. 1:06-cr-0001-DSC (USDC W.D. Pa.) at Doc. 440). On July 25, 2006, Jones entered a plea of guilt pursuant to a written plea agreement. Id. Paragraph A(8) of the plea agreement stated that Jones “waive[d] the right to take a direct appeal from his conviction or sentence” and “waive[d] the right to file a motion to vacate sentence, under 28 U.S.C. §2255, attacking his conviction or sentence, and the right to file any other collateral proceeding attacking his conviction or sentence.” Id.

Prior to sentencing, Jones and the government disagreed as to the applicability of section 3B1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines which provides for an offense level increase on the basis of Jones’ leadership role in the conspiracy. Id. On December 5, 2006, the District Court conducted an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the 3B1.1 increase was appropriate. Id. After determining that Jones was a “central cog in the conspiracy” to distribute cocaine, the Court applied the 3B1.1 enhancement on December 6, 2006. Jones was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 292 months incarceration. Id.

Jones filed a timely appeal to the Third Circuit, arguing that his appellate waiver was invalid because the application of the 3B1.1 enhancement constituted an “unconstitutional sentencing practice[].” See United States v. Jones, 261 Fed.Appx. 412 (3rd Cir. 2008). The Third Circuit ultimately concluded that Jones had “knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to appeal” and, accordingly, enforced the waiver provision and dismissed the appeal. Id. at 415.

On February 6, 2009, Jones filed a motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §2255. (See United States v. Barnes, et al, Criminal Action No. 1:06-cr-0001-DSC (USDC W.D. Pa.) at Doc. 340). In his 2255 motion, Jones asserted that his attorney offered ineffective assistance at sentencing by 1) failing to object to the 3B1.1 enhancement on the ground that the government had promised during plea negotiations not to seek an enhancement under that provision, and 2) failing to offer mitigation evidence in support of a downwards sentencing departure pursuant to §4A1.3(b). Id.

On August 13, 2010, following an evidentiary hearing, the District Court denied Jones’ 2255 Motion after concluding that Jones had knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to collaterally attack his sentence. (See United States v. Barnes, et al, Criminal Action No. 1:06-cr-0001-DSC (USDC W.D. Pa.) at Doc. 364). Following a timely appeal, the Third Circuit remanded for the limited purpose of having the District Court decide whether to issue a certificate of appealability. Id at Doc. 365. On September 3, 2010, the District Court issued the following ruling:

After thoroughly reviewing Jones’ 2255 motion, the government’s response, the testimony taken at the evidentiary hearing, and the Court’s August 13, 2010 Order, I conclude that a certificate of appealability is not warranted in this case.

Id. at 366. On March 16, 2011, the Third Circuit similarly denied Jones’ request for a certificate of appealability, holding that “reasonable jurists would not find it debatable whether the request states a valid claim of the denial of the constitutional right” and noting that “Jones [had] failed to show that his waiver was not knowing and voluntary.” Id. at Doc. 377.

On May 16, 2011, Jones filed a “Motion for out of Time to Support Appellant Certificate of Appealability.” Id. at Docs. 382, 385. In his motion, Jones again raised the same issues previously raised in his 2255 motion and his prior appeal to the Third Circuit. Id. On April 6, 2012, the District Court rejected this new motion on the basis of the same waiver provision, noting that “Defendant has already received the exact review to which he was entitled, to wit, ‘two bites at the appeal certificate apple.’” Id. at Doc. 421 (quoting Hunter v. United States, 101 F.3d 1565, 1575 (11th Cir. 1996) (en banc).

Petitioner subsequently filed two “Motion(s) for Challenging the Court Memorandum Order, ” advancing the same arguments which had previously been determined to have been waived by the District Court and by the Third Circuit on multiple occasions. Id. at 423, 436. By Memorandum Opinion dated April 12, 2013, the District Court denied Petitioner’s motions and a certificate of appealability. Id. at 440.

On December 1, 2014, Jones filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง2241, in which he seeks a four point reduction in his sentence, alleging application of the 3B1.1 enhancement ...


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