United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. BUNNING, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ryan Keith Fields is an inmate confined at the United States
Penitentiary-McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding
without an attorney, Fields has filed a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and has
paid the filing fee. (Docs. # 1 and 6). Accordingly, the
Court will conduct an initial review of Field's petition.
28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. N. Bureau of
Prisons, 419 F. App'x 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).
After review, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court
must deny relief.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
November 2001, Fields was charged in a three-count indictment
with possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams
of cocaine and aiding and abetting, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(iii) and 18 U.S.C.
§ 2 (Count 1); possession of a firearm in furtherance of
a drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) and 18 U.S.C. § 2
(Count 2); and being a felon in possession of a firearm and
aiding and abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Count 3). In February 2002,
Fields was found guilty by a jury on all three counts. In May
2002, Fields was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 480
months on Count 1, 60 months on Count 2, and 120 months on
Count 3. The term of imprisonment on Count 2 was to run
consecutively to the sentences on Counts 1 and 3, for a total
aggregate sentence of 540 months of imprisonment, to be
followed by a 10-year term of supervised release. United
States v. Fields, 5:01-cr-127-C-BQ-1 (N.D.Tex. 2001).
habeas petition, Fields states that he was sentenced as a
career offender under United States Sentencing Guideline
§ 4B1.1 based on two prior state-court convictions in
New Mexico for trafficking controlled substances and
aggravated battery. (Doc. # 1-1 at 4, 11). With respect to
his aggravated-battery conviction, he specifies that he was
convicted of N.M.S.A. § 30-3-5(C), which is felony
battery. Id. at 14. According to Fields, the
Presentence Investigation Report (“PSR”) prepared
by the Probation Office in his case determined that
Fields's Base Offense Level was 37 and his Criminal
History Category was VI and recommended a Sentencing
Guideline range of 360 months to life imprisonment.
Id. at 11.
appealed his convictions to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. His convictions and sentence
were affirmed. Fields, 5:01-cr-127-C-BQ-1 (Docs. #
81 and 82 therein). The United States Supreme Court denied
Fields's petition for writ of certiorari. Id.
(10/20/2003 Unnumbered Docket Entry).
has filed multiple motions seeking relief from his sentence,
including a Motion to Vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2255, as well as a Motion to Reduce his Sentence pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 3582, both of which have been denied.
United States v. Fields, 5:01-cr-127-C-BQ-1 (Docs. #
83, 91, 104, 105, 108, 109, and 116 therein); Fields v.
United States, 5:14-cv-98-C (N.D. Tex. 2014). His
appeals of these decisions have also been denied.
Id. (Doc. # 100 therein). Although Fields has sought
to file a second or successive petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, his first attempt in 2014 failed because of his
failure to comply with a Fifth Circuit order directing Fields
to seek authorization to file his successive §2255
petition. In re: Ryan Fields, No. 14-10714 (5th Cir.
2014). Although Fields sought authorization from the Fifth
Circuit in 2016 to file a successive § 2255 petition
seeking relief pursuant to Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), this request was denied on the grounds
that Fields did not make the requisite showing under In
re. Arnick, 826 F.3d 787 (5th Cir. 2016), which held
that Johnson does not apply to a sentence enhanced
pursuant to the “residual clause” of §
4B1.2(a)(2) of the Sentencing Guidelines. In re: Ryan
Fields, No. 16-10949 (5th Cir. Aug. 16, 2016).
has now filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in this Court, arguing that, in
light of Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243
(2016) and Johnson, his prior conviction for
aggravated battery is no longer a viable predicate offense
for purposes of his classification as a career offender
pursuant to § 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing
Guidelines. Fields invokes the “savings clause”
provision of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) and Hill v.
Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2017) to contend that he
may assert this claim in a § 2241 petition. However,
Fields's petition will be denied.
may not pursue his claims in this proceeding. A federal
prisoner generally may not use a § 2241 petition to
challenge the enhancement of his sentence. See United
States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001). A
§ 2241 petition may typically 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.
Peterman, 249 F.3d at 461 (explaining the
distinction between a § 2255 motion and a § 2241
petition). A habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 may not be used for this purpose because it does
not function as an additional or alternative remedy to the
one available under § 2255. Hernandez v.
Lamanna, 16 F. App'x 317, 320 (6th Cir. 2001).
“savings clause” of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e)
creates an extraordinarily narrow exception to this
prohibition if the remedy afforded by § 2255 is
“inadequate or ineffective” to test the legality
of the prisoner's detention. Truss v. Davis, 115
F. App'x 772, 773-74 (6th Cir. 2004). A motion under
§ 2255 is not “inadequate or ineffective”
simply because the prisoner's time to file a § 2255
motion has passed; he did not file a § 2255 motion; or
he did file such a motion and was denied relief. Copeland
v. Hemingway, 36 F. App'x 793, 795 (6th Cir. 2002);
Taylor v. Gilkey, 314 F.3d 832, 835 (7th Cir. 2002)
(holding that § 2241 is available “only when a
structural problem in § 2255 forecloses even one round
of effective collateral review ...”). In other words,
prisoners cannot use a habeas petition under § 2241 as
yet another “bite at the apple.”
Hernandez, 16 F. App'x at 360.
decidedly narrow scope of relief under § 2241 applies
with particular force to challenges to the sentence imposed.
Peterman, 249 F.3d at 462; Hayes v.
Holland, 473 F. App'x 501, 502 (6th Cir. 2012)
(“The savings clause of section 2255(e) does not apply
to sentencing claims.”). In Hill, the Sixth
Circuit articulated a very narrow exception to this general
rule, permitting a challenge to a sentence to be asserted in
a § 2241 petition, but only where (1) the
petitioner's sentence was imposed when the Sentencing
Guidelines were mandatory before the Supreme Court's
decision in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220
(2005); (2) the petitioner was foreclosed from asserting the
claim in a successive petition under § 2255; and (3)
after the petitioner's sentence became final, the Supreme
Court issued a retroactively applicable decision establishing
that-as a matter of statutory interpretation-a prior
conviction used to enhance his or her federal sentence no
longer qualified as a valid predicate offense. Hill,
836 F.3d at 599-600.
Fields does satisfy the first criteria, as he was sentenced
before the Supreme Court decided Booker. Nor has he
satisfied the third criteria. Fields has not identified a
subsequent, retroactive change in statutory interpretation by
the Supreme Court that reveals that one of his previous
convictions (specifically, his prior aggravated battery
conviction) is not a valid predicate offense for purposes of
the career-offender enhancement.
Fields relies on the United States Supreme Court's
decision in Johnson, Johnson is not
applicable here. In Johnson, the Supreme Court held
that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), is
unconstitutionally vague, and that imposing an increased
sentence under that clause violates the Constitution's
guarantee of due process guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment
of the U.S. Constitution. Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at
2563. Here, Fields alleges that he was determined to be a
career offender pursuant to § 4B1.1 of the United States
Sentencing Guidelines. (Doc. #1-1, p. 4, 11). He does not
allege that he was sentenced under the ACCA, which was the
specific statutory scheme addressed in Johnson.
Thus, Johnson does not apply to him. Indeed, in
Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017), the
United States ...