United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE
se petitioner Ernesto Monell has filed a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [R.
1.] Monell asks the Court to set aside his conviction for
various reasons, including ineffective assistance of counsel
and the denial of his Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause
rights. Because Monell brings only constitutional challenges
to his underlying sentence and does not identify any
intervening changes in statutory law that would impact his
Guidelines range or sentence, Monell's claims are not
appropriate in this § 2241 proceeding. The Court,
therefore, must DENY his petition.
2013, following a jury trial, Ernesto Monell was convicted of
possession of a cocaine base with intent to distribute in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and of being a felon
in possession of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1). See United States v. Monell, No.
1:12-cr-10187-FDS (D. Mass. 2012). Although Monell was
initially sentenced as an armed career criminal under the
Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), following the
United States Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v.
United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), Monell was
resentenced to a decreased term of imprisonment. See
id., at R. 308, R. 359 therein. Monell is currently
serving his sentence at the United States
Penitentiary-McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky, and he seeks
relief in this Court by way of a 28 U.S.C. § 2241
petition. [R. 1.]
to 28 U.S.C. § 2243, Monell's petition is before the
Court for a preliminary screening. Upon 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 Monell'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).
reviewing Monell's petition, the Court finds he is not
entitled to relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 even despite
the leniency afforded to pro se petitioners. The
memorandum attached to Monell's petition sets forth six
grounds for relief, including various ineffective assistance
of counsel claims against three different court-appointed
defense attorneys and an alleged Sixth Amendment claim.
[See R. 1-1 at 5-7.] All six of the grounds for
relief are challenges to the legality of Monell's
conviction and sentence, which may not be litigated by way of
a § 2241 petition.
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). 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). Because
Monell's petition challenges the underlying sentence he
actually received, not the manner in which his sentence is
being executed, the petition should be dismissed.
sure, limited exceptions exist under which a federal prisoner
may challenge the validity of a conviction or sentence in a
§ 2241 proceeding, but Monell's filing does not
satisfy any of these exceptions. The Sixth Circuit Court of
Appeals 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). Monell
has not demonstrated that either of those circumstances exist
in his case. Instead, Monell has attempted to litigate
arguments that he either already made or needed to make on
direct appeal or in a § 2255 petition. Cf. Mallard
v. United States, 82 Fed.Appx. 151, 153 (6th Cir. 2003);
Jameson v. Samuels, 555 Fed.Appx. 743, 746 (10th
foregoing reasons, the Court hereby ORDERS
Monell's petition for a writ of habeas corpus [R. 1] is
action is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from the ...