United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Reeves United States District Judge.
Timothy LaFone Murphy is confined at the United States
Penitentiary - McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding
without a lawyer, Murphy has filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [Record No.
1] This matter is before the Court for initial screening of
Murphy's petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander
v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419 Fed.Appx. 544, 545
(6th Cir. 2011). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
will deny the relief sought.
was convicted in January 2005 by a jury in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina of
conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to
distribute more than fifteen kilograms of cocaine and more
than 1.5 kilograms of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1), 846. Murphy's recommended sentencing
range under the United States Sentencing Guidelines was life
imprisonment, based on a total offense level of 43 and a
criminal history category of VI. Murphy was sentenced on July
19, 2005, to life imprisonment. Murphy's conviction and
appeal were affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit. United States v. Murphy, No.
5: 04-cr-241-FL (E.D. N.C. 2004).
subsequent efforts to obtain relief from his conviction and
sentence via multiple motions to vacate filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 have been unsuccessful.
However, on November 30, 2015, the sentencing court granted
Murphy's motion for sentence reduction pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and reduced Murphy's term of
imprisonment to 360 months. United States v. Murphy,
No. 5: 04-cr-241-FL (E.D. N.C. 2004), at Record No. 338.
Murphy currently has a renewed motion for sentence
modification pursuant to § 3582(c) and Amendment 750 to
the Sentencing Guidelines pending in the sentencing court.
Id. at Record No. 361.
has filed a § 2241 petition with this Court, arguing
that, in light of Descamps v. United States, 133
S.Ct. 2276 (2013), and Mathis v. United States, __
U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), he was erroneously classified
as a “career offender” under the Sentencing
Guidelines because one of his prior convictions no longer
qualifies as a “controlled substance offense” as
defined by U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(b). [Record No. 1-1 at p. 2]
Murphy seeks to invoke the “savings clause”
provision of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) to contend that he may
assert this claim in a § 2241 petition. However, because
Murphy may not pursue his claims in this proceeding, his
petition will be denied.
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 filed pursuant to §
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 Fed.Appx. 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
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.
does not satisfy the first criteria in Hill As he
concedes in his petition, he was sentenced under an advisory
Guideline regime in July 2005, after the Court in
Booker concluded that the Sentencing Guidelines were
advisory rather than mandatory. [Record No. 1-1 at p. 4]
Accordingly, Murphy's petition does not fall within the
“narrow subset of § 2241 petitions”
addressed in Hill Hill, 836 F.3d at 599. See
also Moser v. Quintana, No. 17-6421 (6th Cir. Jun. 21,
2018). And because Murphy fails to meet the requirements
of Hill, he does not fall within the limited
exception permitting the use a § 2241 petition to
challenge the enhancement of his sentence. Accordingly, it is
Murphy's petition for a writ of habeas corpus [Record No.
1] is DENIED.
matter is DISMISSED ...