United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge.
Latrell Givens, an inmate presently confined at the United
States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania (USP-Lewisburg)
filed this pro se habeas corpus petition pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241. Named as Respondent is the United
States of America. The required filing fee has been paid.
a jury trial in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Iowa, Petitioner was found guilty of
being a felon in possession of ammunition and possession with
intent to distribute crack cocaine. See United States v.
Givens, 763 F.3d 987, 988 (8th Cir. 2014) He
was sentenced to a 262 month term of confinement on July 19,
a direct appeal, Petitioner's conviction and sentence
were affirmed on August 15, 2014. See Id. A petition
for writ of certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court of the
United States on March 2, 2015. See Givens v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 1520 (2015). Petitioner also admits
that he previously filed a motion with the sentencing court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 which was denied on or
about April 2016. See Doc. 1, p. 3.
pending action claims that he is entitled to federal habeas
corpus because he is factually innocent of the cocaine
related offense. Specifically Petitioner contends that the
trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the
arrest warrant issued against him was not supported by a
showing of the requisite drug amount of at least twenty-eight
(28) grams of cocaine base. See Doc. 1, p. 4. In
addition, Petitioner argues that the jury was never
instructed that it had to find a quantity of twenty-eight
(28) grams of cocaine base. Givens further indicates that
evidence used against him was obtained in illegal searches of
his car and residence in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
partial support of his arguments, Petitioner relies upon the
United States Supreme Court's decision in Burrage v.
United States, 134 S.Ct. 881 (2014). The
Burrage Court in addressing a sentencing enhancement
issue held that death results from drug trafficking only when
the use of the controlled substance is the “but
for” cause of the victim's death. The Supreme Court
added that a penalty enhancement can only be applied if a
jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim's
use of a drug distributed by the defendant was a “but
for” cause of death.
names as sole Respondent the United States of America. It is
initially noted that the only properly named Respondent in a
federal habeas corpus action is Petitioner's custodial
official. See 28 U.S.C. § 2242. Accordingly,
the USP-Lewisburg Warden will be deemed the Respondent in
Standard of Review
corpus petitions are subject to summary dismissal pursuant to
Rule 4 (“Preliminary Review”) of the Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District
Courts, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 (2004). See, e.g.,
Mutope v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole,
2007 WL 846559 *2 (M.D. Pa. March 19, 2007)(Kosik, J.). The
provisions of Rule 4 are applicable to § 2241 petitions
under Rule 1(b)). See, e.g., Patton v. Fenton, 491
F.Supp. 156, 158-59 (M.D. Pa. 1979).
provides in pertinent part: “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 and direct the clerk to notify the
petitioner.” A petition may be dismissed without review
of an answer “when the petition is frivolous, or
obviously lacking in merit, or where. . . the necessary facts
can be determined from the petition itself. . . .”
Gorko v. Holt, Civ. No. 4:05-CV-956, 2005 WL 1138479
*1 (M.D. Pa. May 13, 2005)(McClure, J.)(quoting Allen v.
Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970).