United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. Mariani United States District Judge
before the Court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by Petitioner,
Mohammad Sohail Saleem ("Saleem"), an inmate
confined at the State Correctional Institution, Rockview, in
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1). Saleem challenges his
guily plea and sentence imposed by the Court of Common Pleas
of Lebanon County. (Id.). Preliminary review of the
petition has been undertaken, see R. GOVERNING
§ 2254 Cases R.4,  and, for the reasons set forth below,
the petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
2014, Saleem was charged with various sexually-related
offenses in the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County.
See Commonwealth v. Saleem, CP-38-CR-0001112-2014,
CP-38-CR-0000565-2014 (Lebanon County Ct. Com. PL). On April
21, 2015, Saleem pled guilty to indecent assault and
harassment involving two victims who were employees of a
small business owned by Saleem. Commonwealth v.
Saleem, 2017 WL1223851, *1 (Pa. Super.). The trial court
ordered an assessment to determine whether Saleem was a
sexually violent predator pursuant to 42 PA.C.SA § 9792.
Id. Saleem was subsequently found to be a sexually
violent predator. Id. On June 3, 2015, a sentencing
hearing was held. Id. At sentencing, following a
discussion regarding possible deportation proceedings, the
trial court sentenced Saleem to an aggregate prison term of
21 months to 10 years. Id. Saleem thereafter filed
two post-sentence motions claiming ineffective assistance of
counsel, which the trial court denied without prejudice to
Saleem seeking relief under the PCRA. Id.
September 1, 2015, Saleem filed a counseled PCRA petition
regarding the voluntariness of his plea. Commonwealth v.
Saleem, 2017 WL 1223851, *7 (Pa. Super.). Saleem argued
that his plea was predicated upon a promise that he would be
deported to Pakistan. Id. When Saleem was not
deported, he argued that he was deprived of the benefit of
his plea bargain. Id. Saleem further argued that his
guilty plea counsel was ineffective for leading him to
believe that deportation would occur. Id. The PCRA
court held a hearing and ultimately denied the PCRA petition,
finding that immediate deportation was not a part of the plea
agreement. Id. at *7-8. Rather, as part of the plea
agreement, the District Attorney's office agreed that it
would have no objection to deportation and would not take any
action to prevent deportation. Id. at *8. The PCRA
court further noted that Saleem's attorney communicated
to him that there was no guarantee that he would be deported.
Id. Specifically, Saleem's attorney wrote a
letter to him explaining that, "There is no way to
determine how much of your sentence you will have to serve
before you are deported. It is possible that you would have
to serve your entire sentence, possibly 50 years or more,
before, you are deported." Id.
filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Commonwealth v. Saleem, 2017 WL1223851 (Pa. Super.).
On March 28, 2017, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed
the dismissal of the PCRA petition. Id. Saleem did
not file a petition for allowance of appeal with the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
14, 2017, Saleem filed the instant federal petition attacking
the his state court guilty plea and sentence. (Doc. 1). He
argues that the terms of his plea agreement were breached
because he was not immediately deported, and he sets forth
claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and a
Brady claim. (Id. at pp. 6-8). For
relief, Saleem requests that the Court vacate his sentence
and order his immediate release from confinement.
(Id. at p. 8).
2241 authorizes district courts to issue a writ of habeas
corpus to a state or federal prisoner who "is in custody
in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Section
2254 is more specific and confers jurisdiction on district
courts to "entertain an application for a writ of habeas
corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the
judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in
custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties
of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).
"[A] state prisoner challenging the validity or
execution of his state court sentence must rely on the more
specific provisions of § 2254 rather than §
2241." Washington v. Sobina, 509 F.3d 613, 619
n.5 (3d Cir. 3007) (citing Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d
480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001)).
instant petition, Saleem seeks relief via section
2241. Saleem challenges his guilty plea and sentence, and
sets forth claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and
trial court errors. Saleem's reliance on section 2241 is
misplaced and he must proceed under section 2254 because he
is challenging his state sentence. See Felker v.
Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, 662, 116 S.Ct. 2333, 135 L.Ed.2d
827 ("authority to grant habeas corpus relief to state
prisoners is limited by 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which
specifies the conditions under which such relief may be
granted to a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a
state court"); DeVaughn v. Dodrill, 145
F.App'x 392, 394 (3d Cir. 2005) (per curiam) ("A
prisoner challenging either the validity or execution of his
state court sentence must rely on the more specific
provisions of § 2254 and may not proceed under §
2241."); Coady, 251 F.3d at 485 ("[W]e
hold that Coady must rely on Section 2254 in challenging the
execution of his sentence."). Additionally, section 2241
is not an alternative to section 2254. Section 2254 contains
a one-year statute of limitation regarding the timely filing
of a petition, and "Congress has restricted the
availability of second and successive petitions through
Section 2244(b)." Coady, 251 F.3d at 484.
Allowing a petitioner to proceed under section 2241 would
circumvent these restrictions and thwart Congressional
intent. Id. at 484-85. Accordingly, this Court lacks
jurisdiction to consider the petition pursuant to section
on the foregoing, the Court lacks jurisdiction to consider
Saleem's petition. Therefore, the petition will be
dismissed. Notably, dismissal will be without prejudice to
Saleem's ability to take any action he deems appropriate
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.