United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
BRANDON L. TAYLOR, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HORN BOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Taylor is an inmate at the Federal Correctional
Institution-Manchester in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding
without an attorney, McNeil has filed a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in this
Court. [R. 1] For the reasons that follow, Taylor's
petition will be DENIED.
2008, a jury convicted Taylor of being a felon in possession
of a firearm, a felon in possession of ammunition, an
unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a
firearm, and an unlawful user of a controlled substance in
possession of ammunition-all in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g). The district court then sentenced Taylor
to a total term of 240 months in prison. Taylor appealed his
case, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh
Circuit affirmed his convictions and sentences. Taylor then
moved to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2255, but the district court denied that motion and the
Seventh Circuit denied Taylor a certificate of appealability.
Taylor has now filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in this Court.
arguments presented in Taylor's habeas petition are less
than clear, but Taylor appears to be arguing, first, that he
is “actually innocent” of his various 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(g) convictions and sentence and, second, that he
received ineffective assistance of counsel for a variety of
reasons. [See R. 1] Taylor claims his defense
counsel failed to explain, among other things, the
preponderance of the evidence standard the Court would use
during his sentencing proceeding; Taylor also claims his
defense counsel should have pursued a claim for
“vindictive prosecution” on his behalf.
[Id.] Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243,
Taylor's petition is now before the Court for a
the Court's initial screening, a section 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
section 2241 petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b)). The Court
evaluates Taylor's petition under a more lenient standard
because he is proceeding without an attorney, and the Court,
at this stage of the proceedings, accepts his 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).
the lenient construction afforded to Taylor's petition,
Taylor is not entitled to the relief he seeks. As an initial
matter, Taylor challenges the legality of his conviction and
sentence in his habeas petition. While a federal prisoner may
challenge the legality of his convictions and sentence in a
28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion before the sentencing court, he
generally may not do so in a section 2241 petition. See
United States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir.
2001). A section 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). But
Taylor's petition challenges the underlying sentence he
actually received, not the manner in which his sentence is
exceptions do exist under which a federal prisoner may
challenge the validity of a conviction or sentence in a
section 2241 proceeding. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
has explained that a prisoner can challenge the validity of
his sentence by way of section 2241 if he can demonstrate
first that the section 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). However,
Taylor's petition fails to articulate why one of these
limited exceptions applies to his case.
Taylor's petition mentions in passing various cases, the
petition does not clearly rely on any particular case that
represents a change in statutory law that retroactively
applies to Taylor's situation. The petition purports to
rely on Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243
(2016), which limited the use of the modified categorical
approach to determine whether a prior offense qualifies as a
violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act. But
despite the petition's emphasis on Mathis
[see R. 1 at 10 (presenting argument “In Light
of Mathis”)], Taylor does not explain which (if any) of
his prior offenses he feels are no longer ACCA predicates
under Mathis, and why. And the petition also relies
on Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000),
which held that “[o]ther than the fact of a prior
conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime
beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to
a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” See
Apprendi, 530 U.S. at 490. However, the Sixth Circuit
has plainly stated that a challenge to a sentence based on
Apprendi cannot be the basis for an actual innocence
claim such that the section 2255(e) savings clause applies.
See, e.g., Bannerman v. Snyder, 325 F.3d 722, 724
(6th Cir. 2003).
end, Taylor's petition simply fails to direct the Court
to any intervening and retroactive interpretations of
statutory law that apply to his case, not to mention the
other requirements set forth in Wooten v. Cauley
that must be satisfied before the savings clause is
triggered. See 677 F.3d at 307-08. Instead, the
petition attempts to litigate arguments that Taylor needed to
make on direct appeal or in a section 2255 petition. Cf.
Mallard v. United States, 82 Fed.Appx. 151, 153 (6th
Cir. 2003); Jameson v. Samuels, 555 Fed.Appx. 743,
746 (10th Cir. 2014).
and the Court being otherwise sufficiently advised,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED as follows:
Brandon Taylor's Petition for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R.
1] is DENIED;
matter is STRICKEN from the Court's
active docket; and
Judgment in favor of the Respondent shall be entered