United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE
Antone Waller is an inmate at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding without an
attorney, Waller recently filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [R. 1.] For
the reasons set forth below, Waller's petition will be
2003 in Cleveland, Ohio, Petitioner Waller and a co-defendant
carjacked an FBI witness named Darnell Lestor at gunpoint and
held him for ransom. A meeting to exchange Lestor for the
ransom was organized, and during the meeting, shots were
fired and two individuals, including Lestor, were killed.
Waller was indicted for a laundry list of crimes, and the
case went to trial in the Northern District of Ohio.
Waller's first trial resulted in a mistrial after a
spectator's outburst interrupted a witness's
testimony. However, at the end of the second trial, the jury
found Walter guilty on seven of the nine charges pending
against him. In 2005, Waller was sentenced to a total term of
684 months of imprisonment for the following offenses:
• Count 1: carjacking in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
2119 and 2;
• Count 2: carrying and using a firearm during and in
relation to carjacking in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A) and 2;
• Counts 3-6: attempting to murder and/or assault four
FBI agents while they were engaged in their official duties,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1114 and 2; and
• Count 9: carrying and using a firearm in relation to
attempted murder of a federal officer, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1114 and 2.
See United States v. Waller, No. 1:04-cr-13-DCN,
(N.D. Ohio 2010), [R. 330, therein]. Waller appealed, but the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's
judgment. Waller also sought relief under 28 U.S.C. §
2255, but that request for relief was denied in 2010.
[Id.] Years later, Waller filed a motion for relief
from judgment under Rule 60(b), but the trial court and Sixth
Circuit denied that motion as well as Waller's request
for a certificate of appealability. [See Id. at R.
364, therein.] Waller now seeks relief in this Court by way
of a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition, which is before the
Court for a preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2243. [See R. 1.]
the Court's initial screening, a § 2241 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 Waller's petition under a more lenient standard
because he is proceeding without an attorney, and at this
stage of the proceedings, the Court accepts Waller's
factual allegations as true and construes all legal claims in
his favor. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555-56 (2007).
petition, Waller sets forth nine grounds for habeas relief.
He argues, among other things, that he was “never given
notice of [his] charge or given an opportunity to defend
[himself] against it”; that the trial court sentenced
him to a crime other than the crimes for which he was found
guilty by the jury; that hearsay was wrongfully admitted
during his trial; and that he is “actually innocent of
attempted murder.” [See R. 1.] Unfortunately
for Waller, these are all challenges to the legality of his
conviction and sentence which may not be litigated by way of
the present 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition.
to the legality of a federal prisoner's conviction and/or
sentence must generally be brought via a 28 U.S.C. §
2255 motion, not a § 2241 petition. See United
States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001). A
§ 2241 petition is typically only 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). To be sure,
exceptions exist under which a federal prisoner may challenge
the validity of a conviction or sentence in a § 2241
proceeding. But these exceptions are limited. The Sixth
Circuit has explained that a prisoner can only challenge the
validity of his sentence by way of § 2241 if he can
demonstrate 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).
review of Waller's § 2241 petition, the Court
concludes that Waller's petition challenges the
underlying conviction and sentence he actually received, not
the manner in which his sentence is being executed.
[See R. 1.] Further, Waller has not demonstrated
that either of the exceptions articulated above exist in his
case. Although Waller claims he is “actually
innocent” of attempted murder, he fails to demonstrate
that there have been any intervening changes in statutory law
since the time he was convicted and sentenced for that
charge, such that his case would trigger review under
Wooten v. Cauley. See 677 F.3d at 307-08.
In the end, Waller's entire petition attempts to litigate
arguments that he needed to make on direct appeal in his
Northern District of Ohio case or in a § 2255
proceeding. His petition is, therefore, properly denied.
foregoing reasons, the Court hereby OR ...