United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
CHEN I. CHUNG, Petitioner,
J. RAY ORMOND, Warden, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE.
Chung is an inmate at the United States Penitentiary -
McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer,
Chung filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [R. 1]. This matter is now before
the Court on initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2243. See Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons,
419 Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011). For the reasons set
forth below, the Court will deny Chung's petition.
1992, a jury convicted Chung of numerous counts related to
racketeering, kidnapping, and murder. See United States
v. Chung, No. 1:90-cr-1019 at R. 16 (E.D.N.Y. 1992). The
trial court then sentenced Chung to life in prison. See
Id. at R. 69. Chen filed a direct appeal, but the United
States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the
trial court's judgment, except as to certain monetary
fines. See United States v. Wong et al., 40 F.3d
1347 (2nd Cir. 1994). Cheng's subsequent efforts to
vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 were
unsuccessful. See, e.g., Chung v. United States, No.
1:11-cv-3579 at R. 6 (E.D.N.Y. 2012).
has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. [R. 1].
While Chung's petition is difficult to follow, he appears
to be arguing that his various convictions under 18 U.S.C.
§ 1959 are invalid and that his sentence was erroneously
enhanced under § 2A1.1 of the United States Sentencing
Guidelines. Chung cites numerous cases to support his claims,
including but not limited to Descamps v. United
States, 570 U.S. 254 (2013), Mathis v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), and Sessions v.
Dimaya, 138 S.Ct. 1204 (2018). Ultimately, Chung
suggests that his convictions and sentence were
“unconstitutional, ” and he asks the Court to
grant him relief.
§ 2241 petition, however, constitutes an impermissible
collateral attack on his underlying 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, Chung 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 such that
it represents a miscarriage of justice or fundamental defect,
see Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 599-600 (6th Cir.
has not made such a showing. In fact, Chung's petition is
quite confusing and, thus, he has not demonstrated in any
clear way that a new rule of statutory law either renders him
actually innocent of an offense or causes his sentence to be
a miscarriage of justice or fundamental defect. Chung does
rely on the Supreme Court's recent decision in
Dimaya, but that case involved a constitutional
question, not an issue of statutory interpretation. And while
Chung also cites Descamps and Mathis,
neither of those cases speak to § 2A1.1 or the other
issues presented in Chung's case. In short, the Court has
fully reviewed Chung's petition, but he has not shown
that he is entitled to relief via § 2241.
it is ORDERED as follows:
1. The Clerk of the Court shall SUBSTITUTE
in Warden J. Ray Ormond as the Respondent in this proceeding.
2. Chung's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1] is DENIED.
3. This action is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from the Court's docket.
4. A corresponding Judgment will be entered this date.