United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Abdullah is a federal prisoner confined at the United States
Penitentiary - Big Sandy in Inez, Kentucky. Proceeding
without a lawyer, Abdullah has filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [R. 1]. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny
2004, Abdullah was convicted of conspiracy to possess with
the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine, as
well as possession with the intent to distribute 20.8 grams
of cocaine.The trial court determined that Abdullah
had two or more prior convictions for a “felony drug
offense” and, thus, was subject to a mandatory life
sentence pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). The
district court imposed that sentence in March 2005. Abdullah
then challenged his convictions and sentence on direct appeal
and through a motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255,
but his efforts were unsuccessful.
has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. [R. 1].
Abdullah argues that one of his prior convictions does not
constitute a “felony drug offense” and, as a
result, his sentence was improperly enhanced. Abdullah
therefore asks this Court to vacate his
§ 2241 petition, however, constitutes an impermissible
collateral attack on his sentence. While a federal prisoner
may challenge the legality of his sentence through a direct
appeal and a § 2255 motion, he generally may not do so
in a § 2241 petition. See United States v.
Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001) (explaining
the distinction between a § 2255 motion and a §
2241 petition). After all, a § 2241 petition is usually
only a vehicle for challenges to actions taken by prison
officials that affect the manner in which the prisoner's
sentence is being carried out, such as computing sentence
credits or determining parole eligibility. See Terrell v.
United States, 564 F.3d 442, 447 (6th Cir. 2009). Simply
put, Abdullah cannot use a § 2241 petition as a way of
challenging his sentence.
nevertheless suggests that he can attack his
sentence in a § 2241 petition, and he cites Hill v.
Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2016), to support his
position. [R. 1-1]. In Hill, the Sixth Circuit
indicated, for the first time, that a prisoner may challenge
his sentence in a § 2241 petition if he can show that
“a subsequent, retroactive change in statutory
interpretation by the Supreme Court reveals that a previous
conviction is not a predicate offense for a career-offender
enhancement.” Hill, 836 F.3d at 599. However,
the Sixth Circuit expressly limited its decision to
“prisoners who were sentenced under the mandatory
guidelines regime pre-United States v. Booker, 543
U.S. 220 . . . (January 12, 2005).” Hill, 836
F.3d at 599. In this case, the trial court sentenced Abdullah
in March 2005, after the Supreme Court decided
Booker, and, in any event, Abdullah's sentence
was enhanced pursuant to § 841(b)(1)(A), not the
sentencing guidelines. Thus, there is no merit to
Abdullah's argument that he can attack his sentence
enhancement in a § 2241 petition.
even if Abdullah could somehow rely on Hill, he has
failed to identify a subsequent, retroactive active change in
statutory interpretation by the Supreme Court that reveals
that one of his previous convictions is not a “felony
drug offense.” To be sure, Abdullah cites the Supreme
Court's decision in Descamps v. United States,
133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013). But Descamps discussed the
approach courts should use to determine whether a prior
conviction constitutes a violent felony for purposes of the
Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), and, here, Abdullah
received his sentence enhancement under § 841(b)(1)(A),
not the ACCA. Plus, as this Court has recently explained,
controlling Sixth Circuit case law indicates that
Descamps is not retroactive. See Griffin v.
Kizziah, No. 7:16-cv-278-KKC (E.D. Ky. August 30, 2017).
Simply put, Abdullah's reliance on Descamps is
it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
Abdullah's petition for a writ of habeas corpus [R. 1] is
action is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from the Court's docket.
corresponding judgment will be entered this date.
 The procedural history is found at
United States v. Tamir Abdullah, No.