United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. Banning, United States District Judge
Maxwell is an inmate confined at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding without a
lawyer, Maxwell filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. # 1). For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will deny Maxwell's
2004, Maxwell pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and
possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and possession
of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
crime.The district court determined that Maxwell
had two prior felony drug convictions and, thus, was
initially subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of life in
prison pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). The
Government, however, filed a motion for a downward departure,
and the district court granted that request, which relieved
the Court from the otherwise applicable minimum mandatory
sentence. Then, in June 2006, the district court sentenced
Maxwell to 328 months in prison on the conspiracy charge and
60 months in prison on the firearm offense and ordered that
the sentences run consecutive to one another, for a total
term of 388 months in prison. The district court later
reduced Maxwell's sentence to a total term of 236 months
in prison. Maxwell did not file a direct appeal, and his
subsequent motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255 was denied.
has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. (Doc.
#1). As best as the Court can tell, Maxwell is arguing that,
in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Mathis v.
United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), the district court
erred when it determined that he had two prior felony drug
convictions and, thus, was initially subject to a mandatory
minimum sentence of life in prison pursuant to 21 U.S.C.
§ 2241 petition, however, constitutes an impermissible
collateral attack on his sentence. Although a federal
prisoner may challenge the legality of his sentence through a
direct appeal or a § 2255 motion, he generally may not
do so by means of 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). The difference is that a § 2241
petition is usually 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, Maxwell cannot use a § 2241
petition as a way of challenging his sentence.
nevertheless argues 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. (Doc.
#1-1 at 4-6). It is true that, in Hill, the Sixth
Circuit indicated for the first time that a prisoner may
challenge his sentence in a § 2241 petition. See
Hill, 836 F.3d at 599. However, in doing so, the Sixth
Circuit expressly limited its decision to the following, very
(1) prisoners who were sentenced under the mandatory
guidelines regime pre-United States v. Booker, 543
U.S. 220 . . . (2005), (2) who were foreclosed from filing a
successive petition under § 2255, and (3) when 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.
Id. at 599-600.
circumstances do not apply in this case. The district court
sentenced Maxwell in June 2006, after the Supreme Court
decided Booker. Furthermore, Maxwell has not invoked
a subsequent, retroactive change in statutory interpretation
by the Supreme Court. While Maxwell relies on
Mathis, the Sixth Circuit recently explained in a
published decision that “Mathis was dictated
by prior precedent (indeed two decades worth), ” and,
thus, it did not announce a new rule, let alone a retroactive
one. In re Conzelmann, No. 17-3270, 2017 WL 4159184,
at *1 (6th Cir. Sept. 20, 2017). In short, Maxwell's
petition falls outside of Hill's narrow
confines, meaning that he cannot attack his sentence through
a § 2241 petition.
even if Maxwell could challenge his sentence, there is no
merit to his argument that he was improperly subjected to an
enhanced sentence under § 841(b)(1)(A). After all, the
district court never ended up imposing that enhancement
because it granted the Government's motion for a downward
departure and sentenced Maxwell within the advisory
guidelines range. Thus, Maxwell's petition is simply
IT IS ORDERED that:
Maxwell's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc.# 1) is
This action is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from ...