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Hauck v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

January 5, 2017

RALPH E. HAUCK, JR., Petitioner
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          A. RICHARD CAPUTO United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         On December 1, 2016, Petitioner Ralph E. Hauck, Jr., a former federal inmate presently on supervised release, [1] filed the above-captioned petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (ECF No. 1, Pet.) He has paid the requisite $5.00 filing fee.

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts provide that upon preliminary consideration by the district court judge, “[i]f 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 and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner.” See also Lonchar v. Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320, 116 S.Ct. 1293, 1297, 134 L.Ed.2d 440 (1996) (discussing Rule 4). Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives this Court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas corpus cases. See Brennan v. United States, 646 F. App'x 662, 665 n. 5 (10th Cir. 2016).

         For the reasons outlined below, the Petition will be dismissed without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.

         II. Background

         On January 26, 2000, Mr. Hauck was indicted on charges of witness tampering and obstruction of justice.[2] On June 22, 2000, following a two-day jury trial, Mr. Hauck was convicted of all counts. On September 12, 2000, he was sentenced on each count to a term of 15-months imprisonment followed by a 3-year term of supervised release. His sentences ran concurrently.

         On April 13, 2001, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed Mr. Hauck's conviction and sentence. See Hauck v. United States, No. 00-2812 (3d Cir. Apr. 13, 2001). He then filed a motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to § 2255. His motion was denied on April 17, 2003. See United States v. Hauck, 4:CR-00-0025 (M.D. Pa.) (McClure, J.). On February 2, 2004, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied Mr. Hauck's request for a certificate of appealability. See Hauck v. United States, No. 03-2482 (3d Cir. Feb. 2, 2004).

         On April 14, 2011, Mr. Hauck was indicted on three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and a single count of trespassing at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1793. See United States v. Hauck, 4:CR-11-0130 (M.D. Pa.) (Kane, J.). On February 23, 2012, Mr. Hauck pled guilty to Count Three, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. (Id.) On July 24, 2012, Mr. Hauck was sentenced to a 24-month term of imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100. See United States v. Hauck, 4:CR-11-0130 (M.D. Pa.) (Kane, J.).

         Mr. Hauck timely appealed his sentence to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. (Id.) In part, he argued that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) prohibition of gun ownership by convicted felons violated the Second Amendment. United States v. Hauck, No. 12-3130 (3d Cir. Jul. 24, 2013). On July 24, 2013 the Third Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his Second Amendment claim in light of District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 171 L.Ed.2d 637 (2008) and Mr. Hauck's “long list of past convictions.” United States v. Hauck, No. 12-3130 (3d Cir. Jul. 24, 2013) (slip op.). The United States Supreme Court denied Mr. Hauck's Petition for Writ of Certiorari on December 2, 2013. See Hauck v. United States, No. 13-7053 (U.S. Dec. 2, 2013). Mr. Hauck then filed a motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See United States v. Hauck, 4:CR-11-0130 (M.D. Pa.) (Kane, J.) (ECF No. 99.) On July 27, 2015, the sentencing court denied the Petition. (Id., ECF No. 115.)

         More recently, Mr. Hauck filed several motions to Modify his Conditions of Supervised Release with the sentencing court. On September 28, 2016, the sentencing court appointed Edward J. Rymsza, Esquire, to assist Petitioner. (Id., ECF No. 124.) On October 5, 2016, the Honorable Yvette Kane granted Mr. Hauck's unopposed motion to permit him to possess a bow and arrow for the lawful purpose of archery hunting during Pennsylvania's archery season. (Id., ECF No. 126.) On November 21, 2016, Attorney Rymszma filed an unopposed Motion to Correct the Record. (Id., ECF No. 127).

         Mr. Hauck's present habeas petition was filed on December 1, 2016. (ECF No. 1, Pet.) In his Petition, he asserts he plead not guilty and requested a jury trial but his attorneys never took his “evidence or wittnesses (sic) to the court.” (Id., p. 2.) He also claims his § 2255 petition is “still pending.” (Id., p. 4.) He argues he is not a felon and that his firearms were never used in any crimes. He seeks the return of his guns as he uses them for legal hunting, recreational, protections and butchering purposes. He asks that his conviction be overturned or he receive a pardon. (Id., p. 6.)

         III. Discussion

         Ordinarily, a prisoner may challenge his federal conviction or sentence only by means of a § 2255 motion brought before the sentencing court, and this remedy typically supersedes the writ of habeas corpus. See Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002) (a motion filed pursuant to § 2255 is the presumptive means for challenging a federal conviction). The “savings clause” under § 2255(e) allows a federal prisoner to file a petition under § 2241, if the remedy provided by § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e); see also Okereke, 307 F.3d at 120 (citing In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251 (3d Cir. 1997)). In considering what it means to be “inadequate or ineffective, ” the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a federal prisoner should be permitted to seek relief under § 2241 “only where the petitioner demonstrates that some limitation or procedure would prevent a § 2255 proceeding from affording him a full hearing and adjudication of his wrongful detention claim.” Cradle v. U.S. ex rel. Miner, 290 F.3d 536, 538 (3d Cir.2002) (citations omitted). However, “[s]ection 2255 is not inadequate or ineffective merely because the sentencing court does not grant relief, the one-year statute of limitations has expired, or the petitioner is unable to meet the stringent gatekeeping requirements of ... § 2255.” Id. at 539 (citations omitted). “It is the inefficacy of the remedy, not the personal inability to use it, that is determinative.” Id. at 538 (citation omitted). “The provision exists to ensure that petitioners have a fair opportunity to seek collateral relief, not to enable them to evade procedural requirements.” Id. (citation omitted). Rather, only when a prisoner is in the ...


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