United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HORN BOOM UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
Harris is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution
in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer, Harris
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 Harris's petition.
late 1990s, Harris was convicted of multiple drug- and
gun-related crimes, including but not limited to possession
with the intent to distribute cocaine, carrying a firearm
during a drug trafficking offense, possessing an unregistered
silencer, and possessing a firearm with the serial number
obliterated. See United States v. Harris, No.
1:97-cr-063-002 at R. 1 (S. D. Ind. 1997). The trial court
sentenced Harris to life in prison. See Id. at R.
1-2. Harris filed a direct appeal, but the United States
Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the
judgments of conviction of Harris and his co-defendants.
See United States v. Thornton, et al., 197 F.3d 241
(7th Cir. 1999). Harris then unsuccessfully sought relief
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. [R. 1]
While Harris's submission is very difficult to follow, it
is at least clear that he is putting forth numerous arguments
in support of his request for relief. Among other things,
Harris claims that: (1) at least one of the statutes under
which he was convicted is unconstitutionally vague; (2) the
district court acted in an arbitrary manner in imposing its
sentence; and (3) his trial attorney provided ineffective
assistance of counsel. [R. 1-1] These are just some of the
arguments Harris asserts in his submission, which this Court
has fully reviewed. Ultimately, Harris suggests that this
Court should vacate his underlying convictions and sentence.
§ 2241 petition, however, constitutes an impermissible
collateral attack on his convictions and sentence. While a
federal prisoner may challenge the legality of his
convictions and sentence in a § 2255 motion, he
generally may not do so in a § 2241 petition. See
United States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir.
2001) (explaining the distinction between a § 2255
motion and a § 2241 petition). After all, a § 2241
petition is usually 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). Simply put, Harris cannot use a § 2241
petition as a way of challenging his underlying convictions
sure, there are limited exceptions under which federal
prisoners have been permitted to challenge the validity of
their convictions or sentences in a § 2241 petition.
However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit has explained that a prisoner can only proceed in
this manner 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 shows that his sentence was improperly enhanced, see
Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 599-600 (6th Cir. 2016).
has not made such a showing. In fact, Harris has not clearly
identified any intervening change in statutory law, let alone
a change that establishes his actual innocence or shows that
his sentence was erroneously enhanced. Instead, it appears
that Harris is simply trying to assert arguments that he
either made or could have made on direct appeal and in his
§ 2255 motion. And while Harris repeatedly cites
Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S.Ct. 1204 (2018), and
United States v. Salas, 889 F.3d 681 (10th Cir.
2018), to support his petition, those cases involved
constitutional questions, not issues of statutory
interpretation. Thus, Harris's reliance on these
decisions in the § 2241 context is unavailing. In short,
Harris may not obtain relief via § 2241.
it is ORDERED that:
Harris's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1] is
action is DISMISSED and