United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE.
Wayne Adams is a prisoner confined at the United States
Penitentiary (“USP”)-McCreary in Pine Knot,
Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer, Adams 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 Adams's petition.
1995, after a thirty-four day trial, Adams was convicted by a
jury in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas of various drug trafficking and money
laundering offenses and was thereafter sentenced to a term of
life imprisonment. United States v. Adams,
4:94-cr-121-1 (S.D. Texas 1994). As set forth by Adams in his
§ 2241 petition, the full history of Adams' criminal
conviction and post-conviction requests for relief is quite
complicated and has involved several appeals to the United
States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, as well as
post-conviction requests for relief in the form of petitions
for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255
and a motion for a sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c). [R. 1 at p. 2-4]. Given the lengthy
procedural history of Adams's underlying criminal case,
his various requests for relief from his conviction and
sentence will only be discussed to the extent that they are
relevant to the claims made in his § 2241 petition filed
in this Court.
current § 2241 petition, Adams argues that he is
entitled to relief because his sentence was increased in
violation of his rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
Specifically, Adams invokes Apprendi v. New Jersey,
530 U.S. 466 (2000), in support of his argument that the
trial court violated his constitutional rights because the
trial court, not the jury, determined the material factor of
the drug amount for which Adams was determined to be
responsible (112 kilograms of cocaine), resulting in a
substantial increase under the then-mandatory federal
sentencing guidelines. [R. 1 at p. 1-2, 23]. Adams also
submits a sworn September 19, 1999 affidavit from a witness
for the United States in Adams's criminal trial that he
argues supports his claim that the facts that the trial court
relied upon in determining the drug amount attributable to
Adams constituted “fraud on the court perpetrated in
part by the government.” [R. 1 at p. 23]. It is not
entirely clear, but he also seems to suggest that he is
entitled to relief based on the fact that he was sentenced
under the mandatory federal sentencing guidelines, prior to
the Supreme Court's decision in United States v.
Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2006), which held that the federal
sentencing guidelines are advisory.
Court conducts an initial review of habeas corpus petitions.
28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. Northern Bureau of
Prisons, 419 Fed.Appx. 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 Adams'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).
claims raised in his § 2241 petition are simply not the
kind which may be pursued under § 2241. 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 § 2241 petition 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 Fed.Appx. 317, 320 (6th
“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
Fed.Appx. 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 Fed.Appx. 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 Fed.Appx. at 360.
decidedly narrow scope of relief under § 2241 applies
with particular force to challenges not to convictions, but
to the sentence imposed. Peterman, 249 F.3d at 462;
Hayes v. Holland, 473 Fed.Appx. 501, 502 (6th Cir.
2012) (“The savings clause of section 2255(e) does not
apply to sentencing claims.”). In Hill v.
Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2016), 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.
Adams was sentenced under the mandatory federal sentencing
guidelines pre-Booker, he does not satisfy any other
criteria that would permit him to raise his claims in a
§ 2241 petition. He certainly has not been foreclosed
from asserting his Apprendi and Booker
claims in a successive petition under § 2255. Indeed,
the record suggests that he has raised these claims with the
trial court and they were rejected. United States v.
Adams, 4:94-cr-121-1 (S.D. Texas 1994) at R. 968
(discussing the claims raised by Adams in his § 2255
motions). Section 2255 is the primary vehicle for challenges
to the legality of a federal conviction or sentence,
Capaldi v. Pontesso, 135 F.3d 1122, 1123 (6th Cir.
2003), and § 2241 is not designed to provide merely
another avenue to shop the same claim to another court in the
hopes of obtaining a more favorable result.
Hernandez, 16 Fed.Appx. at 320. The fact that a
prior § 2255 was denied does not render a § 2255
petition “unavailable” for purposes of the
savings clause of § 2255. Copeland, 36
Fed.Appx. at 795 (6th Cir. 2002).
addition, to properly invoke the savings clause, the
petitioner must be asserting a claim that he is “actual
innocent” of the underlying offense by showing that,
after the petitioner's conviction became final, the
Supreme Court re-interpreted the substantive terms of the
criminal statute under which he was convicted in a manner
that establishes that his conduct did not violate the
statute. Wooten v. Cauley, 677 F.3d 303, 307-08 (6th
Cir. 2012) (citing Peterman, 249 F.3d at 461-62);
Hayes v. Holland, 473 Fed.Appx. 501, 501-02 (6th
Cir. 2012) (“To date, the savings clause has only been
applied to claims of actual innocence based upon Supreme
Court decisions announcing new rules of statutory
construction unavailable for attack under section
2255.”). The Supreme Court's newly-announced
interpretation must, of course, be retroactively applicable
to cases on collateral review. Wooten, 677 F.3d at
Apprendi nor Booker fit this criteria. The
Sixth Circuit has clearly held that “[a]challenge to a
sentence based on Apprendi cannot be the basis for
an actual innocence claim, ” brought in a § 2241
petition pursuant to the savings clause of § 2255(e).
Bannerman v. Snyder, 325 F.3d 722, 724 (6th Cir.
2003). See also Padgett v. Grondolsky, No.
06-cv-024-KKC, 2006 WL 269940, at *3 (E.D. Ky. Feb. 2, 2006).
In addition, the rule announced in Apprendi is a
constitutional rule, not a statutory rule, and it has not
been made retroactive on collateral review by the Supreme
Court. In re Clemmons, 259 F.3d 489, 493 (6th Cir.
2001). Nor does Booker ...