United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Mardis is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution
in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer, Mardis
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 Mardis's petition.
2015, Mardis pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with the
intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances,
including 1, 000 grams or more of a mixture or substance
containing a detectable amount of heroin, in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846. See United States v.
Mardis, No. 1:14-cr-068 at R. 219 (S.D. Ind. 2015).
Mardis stipulated in his plea agreement that he was a career
offender within the meaning of United States Sentencing
Guidelines § 4B1.1. See Id. at R. 219 at 4. The
trial court agreed that Mardis was a career offender pursuant
to § 4B1.1 because he had multiple prior felony
convictions-two for controlled substance offenses and one for
a crime of violence. See Id. at R. 333 at 3 (later
explaining the various guidelines-related calculations).
Ultimately, the trial court determined that Mardis's
advisory guidelines range was 151 to 188 months in prison.
See id. That said, the trial court actually
sentenced Mardis to a below-guidelines sentence of 137 months
in prison. See Id. at R. 277. Mardis's
subsequent efforts to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255 were unsuccessful. See Id. at R.
has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. [R. 1].
The crux of Mardis's argument is that, in light of
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), and
multiple federal circuit court decisions, his prior
convictions are no longer valid predicate offenses for
purposes of the career-offender enhancement under the
advisory sentencing guidelines. Thus, Mardis argues that this
Court should resentence him without the career offender
enhancement. [R. 1-1 at 10].
initial matter, Mardis waived his right to collaterally
attack his underlying sentence. Indeed, Mardis specifically
said in his plea agreement that he “expressly agrees
not to contest his conviction or sentence or seek to modify
his sentence or the manner in which it was determined in
any type of proceeding, including, but not
limited to, an action brought under 28 U.S.C.
2255.” United States v. Mardis, No.
1:14-cr-068 at R. 219 at 3 (S.D. Ind. Aug. 26, 2015)
(emphasis added). This broad waiver precludes the arguments
that Mardis makes in this case. After all, “[i]t is
well-settled that a knowing and voluntary waiver of a
collateral attack is enforceable.” Slusser v.
United States, 895 F.3d 437, 439 (6th Cir. 2018);
see also Ewing v. Sepanek, No. 0:14-cv-111-HRW (E.D.
Ky. Jan. 6, 2015); Solis-Caceres v. Sepanek, No.
0:13-cv-021-HRW (E.D. Ky. Aug. 6, 2013); Combs v.
Hickey, No. 5:11-cv-012-JMH (E.D. Ky. Jan. 7, 2011). In
short, Mardis is barred from collaterally attacking his
underlying sentence in his habeas petition.
said, even if Mardis's collateral attack waiver was not
enforceable, his § 2241 petition would still constitute
an impermissible collateral attack on his sentence. While a
federal prisoner may challenge the legality of his 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,
Mardis cannot use a § 2241 petition as a way of
challenging his underlying sentence.
true that, in Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th
Cir. 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit indicated for the first time that a prisoner may
challenge his sentence in a § 2241 petition. However, in
doing so, the court expressly limited its decision to the
following, narrow circumstances:
(1) prisoners who were sentenced under the mandatory
guidelines regime pre-United States v. Booker, 543
U.S. 220 . . . (2005), (2) who were foreclosed from filing a
successive petition under § 2255, and (3) when a
subsequent, retroactive change in statutory interpretation by
the Supreme Court reveals that a previous conviction is not a
predicate offense for a career-offender enhancement.
Id. at 599-600.
circumstances do not apply in this case. That is because the
trial court sentenced Mardis in 2016, well after the Supreme
Court's decision in Booker made the sentencing
guidelines advisory rather than mandatory. On this basis
alone, Mardis's claim does not fall within
Hill's limited exception for bringing a §
2241 petition to challenge his federal sentence. See
Contreras v. Ormond, No. 18-5020 (6th Cir.
Sept. 10, 2018) (“[The petitioner's] case does not
fall within the narrow exception recognized by Hill
because he was sentenced post Booker in 2009, under
the advisory sentencing guidelines.”); Arroyo v.
Ormond, No. 17-5837 (6th Cir. April 6, 2018) (holding
that since the petitioner was sentenced after
Booker, his “claim does not fall within
Hill's limited exception for bringing a §
2241 habeas petition to challenge a federal sentence”).
Moreover, with respect to the merits of Mardis's claims,
he was able to make, and did in fact make, the same arguments
in his § 2255 motion, albeit to no avail. See United
States v. Mardis, No. 1:14-cr-068 at R. 333 (S.D. Ind.
Sept. 12, 2018). Thus, Mardis has not shown that his claims
“could not have been invoked in the initial § 2255
motion, ” as is also required for him to proceed via
§ 2241. See Hill, 836 F.3d at 595. For all of
these reasons, Mardis's § 2241 petition is
it is ORDERED as follows:
1. Mardis's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1] is DENIED
2. This action is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from the ...