United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
JASON M. GATEWOOD, Petitioner,
S. BUTLER, Warden Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Reeves, United States District Judge.
Jason M. Gatewood is confined at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding without
counsel, Gatewood has filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [Record No. 1] The
matter is before the Court to conduct an initial screening of
Gatewood's petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Because
Gatewood's claims cannot be asserted in a petition under
28 U.S.C. § 2241, the Court will deny the petition.
federal grand jury in the Western District of Kentucky issued
a three-count Indictment against Gatewood on February 3,
2010, charging him with: (1) knowing and intentional
possession with the intent to distribute marijuana in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and
841(b)(1)(D) (Count 1); (2) carrying a firearm during and in
relation to a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Count 2); and (3) being a person
who had previously been convicted of a felony who possessed a
firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and
924(e) (Count 3).
was found guilty of all charges. On September 21, 2011, he
was sentenced to terms of imprisonment of 60 months on Count
1 and 180 months on Count 3 (to be served concurrently), and
60 months on Count 2, to be served consecutively, for a total
aggregate term of 240 months imprisonment. The prison term is
to be followed by a 4-year total term of supervised release.
Additionally, Gatewood was ordered to pay a $300.00 special
assessment fee. United States v. Gatewood, No.
1:10-cr-7-JHM-HBB-1 (W.D. Ky. 2010).
filed a direct appeal with the United States Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit, raising claims that: (i) his Sixth
Amendment right to a trial before an impartial jury was
violated; (ii) the trial court erred in denying his motion to
suppress evidence; (iii) the trial court improperly admitted
evidence of a prior felony warrant and that he was not
completely truthful when questioned by law enforcement
officers; and (iv) prosecutorial misconduct occurred during
closing arguments. The Sixth Circuit found that
Gatewood's claims were without merit and confirmed his
conviction and sentence. United States v. Gatewood,
No. 11-6162 (6th Cir. 2011).
filed a motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on March 31, 2014. He
argued that his counsel was ineffective for failing to seek
to set aside the conviction for violating 18 U.S.C. §
924(c) due to the United States' purported failure to
establish that his possession of the gun was “in
relation to” the predicate drug trafficking offense.
However, the District Court denied Gatewood's § 2255
motion. United States v. Gatewood, No.
1:10-cr-7-JHM-HBB-1 (W.D. Ky. 2010).
filed a second § 2255 motion seeking relief pursuant to
the United States Supreme Court's decision in Johnson
v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). That motion was
transferred to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Sixth
Circuit denied Gatewood's request for permission to file
a second or successive § 2255 motion, holding that
Johnson is inapplicable to his sentence because
Johnson invalidated only the residual clause of the
Armed Career Criminal Act's definition of “violent
felony.” Gatewood's sentence was enhanced on the
basis of his three prior serious drug offenses. In re.
Jason M. Gatewood, No. 16-5849 (6th Cir. 2016).
filed yet another application for permission to file a second
or successive habeas petition in May 2017, arguing that his
sentence is unconstitutional under Mathis v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), which addressed the
circumstances under which a state conviction constitutes a
“violent felony” for purposes of 18 U.S.C. §
924(e). The Sixth Circuit denied this request, finding that
Mathis did not apply to Gatewood's case because
his prior convictions were considered to be “serious
drug offenses, ” not “violent felonies.”
In re. Jason M. Gatewood, No. 17-5569 (6th Cir.
now seeks relief from this Court via a petition for
a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
[Record No. 1] Gatewood identifies the following four
“grounds” in support of his current petition: (1)
the Indictment in his underlying criminal case, United
States v. Gatewood, No. 1:10-cr-7-JHM-HBB-1 (W.D. Ky.
2010), is “fatally defective” because he did not
have fair notice that he was being investigated by the Grand
Jury, nor was he given the opportunity to challenge the
“individual Grand Jurors (composition selection
process)” prior to the seating of the Grand Jury, in
violation of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment Due Process
rights, his Fourth Amendment rights to be free from
“unlawful seizure, ” and the Fifth Amendment
“Fair Notice” doctrine; (2) the Indictment was
fatally defective “pursuant to the Government's
failure to allege that the ‘locus in quo' where the
alleged criminal act was alleged to have been committed was
within the exclusive legislative, territorial, admiralty, or
maritime jurisdiction of the federal ‘United States,
'” in violation of the “Fair Notice”
doctrine and Gatewood's rights under the Fourth, Fifth,
Sixth and Tenth Amendments of the United States Constitution;
(3) the Indictment was fatally defective because the federal
government misapplied 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1), §
924(e) and 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(D),
as these statutes are not published in the Federal Register
in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act and the
Federal Register Act; and (4) 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) is
unconstitutional because Congress “made no finding
(rationally based or otherwise) nor placed any statutory
requirement in the section of an interstate commerce nexus
between the mere possession of a gun and crime, ” nor
did Congress base this statute “upon other appropriate
findings that would indicate Congressional authority to
legislate in this area.” [Record No. 1].
Court conducts an initial review of habeas corpus petitions
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Alexander v. Northern
Bureau of Prisons, 419 F. App'x 544, 545 (6th Cir.
2011). A petition will be denied “if it plainly appears
from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts (applicable to § 2241 petitions pursuant
to Rule 1(b)). The Court evaluates Gatewood's petition
under a more lenient standard because he is not represented
by an attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). At this stage of the proceedings, the Court accepts
the petitioner's factual allegations as true and
construes all legal claims in his favor. Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
seeks an Order for his immediate release, as well as any
other relief the Court deems necessary. However, the claims
raised in his § 2241 petition are simply not the kind
which may be pursued under this statutory section. Typically,
a § 2241 petition may only be used as 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. Terrell v. United
States, 564 F.3d 442, 447 (6th Cir. 2009). A federal
prisoner who instead wishes to challenge the legality of his
conviction or sentence must file a motion under § 2255.
United States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th
Cir. 2001) (explaining the distinction between permissible
uses for a § 2255 motion and a § 2241 petition). A
prisoner may not resort to § 2241 to seek relief even
when § 2255 is not presently “available” to
him, whether because he filed a timely motion and was denied
relief; he did not file a timely § 2255 motion; or he
filed an untimely motion. Copeland v. Hemingway, 36
F. App'x 793, 795 (6th Cir. 2002). In other words,
prisoners cannot use a habeas petition under § 2241 as
yet another “bite at the apple.” Hernandez v.
Lamanna, 16 F. App'x 317, 360 (6th Cir. 2001).
“savings clause” of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e)
creates a narrow exception to this prohibition. The Sixth
Circuit has said that “the so-called ‘savings
clause' of section 2255 provides that if section 2255 is
‘inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his
detention . . . then a federal prisoner may also challenge
the validity of his conviction or sentence under ...