United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove United States District Judge
Matthews is an inmate at the United States Penitentiary
(USP)-McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Matthews has filed a
pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [see R. 1] and has also
paid the appropriate filing fee [R. 4]. For the reasons set
forth below, Matthews's petition must be denied.
2006, Matthews was charged with one count of conspiracy to
commit bank robbery and one count of substantive bank
robbery, both in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a).
[See United States v. Matthews, 5:05-cr-519-DNH
(N.D.N.Y. 2005), R. 10, therein.] The matter proceeded to
trial, where the jury found Matthews guilty of both offenses.
[Id., R. 53, therein.] Because of Matthews's
criminal history, this guilty verdict had a drastic impact on
Matthews's liberty. Matthews had several prior state and
felony robbery convictions, and the 2006 conviction proved to
be Matthews's “third strike” for purposes of
18 U.S.C. § 3559(c). [See, e.g., United
States v. Matthews, 5:05-cr-519-DNH (N.D.N.Y. 2005), R.
23, therein (listing prior convictions and informing Matthews
of § 3559's application to his case).] The court,
therefore, sentenced Matthews to concurrent terms of life
imprisonment on each of the two counts of conviction.
[Id., R. 78, therein.]
subsequently filed several motions for post-conviction
relief, and he ultimately prevailed on one of his 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 petitions. In 2014, the Northern District of New
York determined that Matthews's criminal defense attorney
used a biased investigator, which ultimately amounted to
constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel. See
United States v. Matthews, 999 F.Supp.2d 352, 365-66
(N.D.N.Y. 2014). As a result, the court vacated
Matthews's conviction for substantive bank robbery.
However, the court determined the ineffective assistance of
counsel had no impact on Matthews's conviction for
conspiracy and made clear that the conspiracy conviction was
still in effect. Id. at 366. Because Matthews was
sentenced to two concurrent terms
of life imprisonment on the two counts of conviction, the
vacatur of the substantive robbery conviction ultimately had
no impact on the length of Matthews's sentence. [See
United States v. Matthews, 5:05-cr-519-DNH (N.D.N.Y.
2005), R. 138, therein.]
challenged this result in another § 2255 petition,
arguing (among other things) that the conspiracy conviction
was improperly enhanced under the three-strikes law. [See
United States v. Matthews, 5:05-cr-519-DNH (N.D.N.Y.
2006), R. 206, therein.] The court rejected Matthews's
arguments, explaining the conviction for conspiracy to commit
bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and
2113 is an enumerated offense for purposes of the three
strikes law. Id. Matthews has now filed a §
2241 petition in this Court, which is subject to preliminary
screening under 28 U.S.C. § 2243. [See R. 1.]
§ 2241 petition, Matthews essentially presents the same
argument he made before the Northern District of New York in
the § 2255 petition described above-that his conviction
for conspiracy to commit bank robbery is not a qualifying
offense for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)'s life
sentence mandate. [See id.; see also United States v.
Matthews, 5:05-cr-519-DNH (N.D.N.Y. 2006), R. 206,
therein.] Despite the Northern District of New York's
decision resolving that § 2255 petition, Matthews still
believes that he no longer has the required three strikes
under § 3359(c) and thus is no longer subject to a life
sentence. Unfortunately for Matthews, his arguments are both
procedurally deficient and substantively meritless.
initial matter, Matthews's petition suffers from various
procedural flaws. Matthews's § 2241 petition
challenges the validity of his sentence, and the proper
vehicle for making such arguments is typically a 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 petition rather than a § 2241 filing.
Indeed, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has explained that
a prisoner can only challenge the validity of his sentence by
way of § 2241 if he can demonstrate first that the
§ 2255 remedy is inadequate or ineffective, and then
that an intervening change in statutory law establishes his
actual innocence, see Wooten v. Cauley, 677 F.3d
303, 307-08 (6th Cir. 2012), or that his sentence was
improperly enhanced, see Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d
591, 599-600 (6th Cir. 2016). Matthews has neither
articulated why the savings clause of § 2255(e) applies
to his case, nor has he identified any intervening changes in
statutory law. [See R. 1.]
Matthews's argument that his conspiracy conviction does
not warrant a life sentence misinterprets the three strikes
law. 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c) mandates life imprisonment for
certain violent felons, including defendants convicted of
three separate serious violent felonies.” See
18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(1). While his conviction for
conspiracy to commit bank robbery may not qualify as a
serious violent felony under 18 U.S.C. §
3559(c)(2)(F)(ii),  the conspiracy conviction explicitly
qualifies under the statute's enumerated offense clause.
See 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(2)(F)(i). That clause
plainly states that not only is a robbery conviction under 18
U.S.C. § 2113 considered a serious violent felony for
purposes of the three strikes rule, a conviction for
“attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit”
bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 2113 is a
serious violent felony, too. Because Matthews was previously
convicted of two or more qualifying crimes, he remains
subject to a term of life imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. §
3559(c) even though his conviction for substantive bank
robbery was vacated. For these reasons, the Court hereby
ORDERS as follows:
Matthews's petition for a writ of habeas corpus brought
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1] is
action is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from the Court's active docket;
Judgment shall be entered contemporaneously herewith.
 Matthews identified “C.
Gomez” as the Warden of USP-McCreary but, in reality,
the current Warden of that institution is J. Ray Ormond. The
Clerk of the Court is directed to substitute Mr. Ormond as