United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, United States District Judge
Tucker is an inmate at the United States Penitentiary (USP) -
McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer,
Tucker filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [R. 1]. The Respondent has now
filed a response to Tucker's petition [R. 12], and Tucker
has filed a reply brief [R. 15]. This matter is therefore
ripe for a decision. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court will deny Tucker's petition.
1998, a jury convicted Tucker of multiple federal crimes,
including robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, using and
carrying a firearm during the commission of a robbery,
carjacking, and using and carrying a firearm during the
commission of a carjacking. The trial court then held
multiple sentencing hearings and determined that Tucker had
previously been convicted in Florida of burglary of a
dwelling and battery of a law-enforcement officer. The trial
court determined that these convictions constituted crimes of
violence under section 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing
Guidelines and thus that Tucker was a career offender subject
to an enhanced sentence. The trial court ultimately sentenced
Tucker to a total of 510 months in prison. Tucker then filed
a direct appeal, but the United States Court of Appeals for
the Eleventh Circuit affirmed his convictions and sentence.
Finally, Tucker's efforts to vacate his sentence pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 were unsuccessful.
has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. [R. 1].
Tucker's petition is lengthy and at times difficult to
understand. However, the crux of Tucker's argument is
that, in light of intervening United States Supreme Court
case law, he is “actually innocent of his career
offender enhancement classification” and, as a result,
this Court should vacate his sentence. Tucker cites the
Supreme Court's decisions in Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), Descamps v. United
States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013), and Mathis v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), to support his petition.
petition, however, constitutes an impermissible collateral
attack on his underlying 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, Tucker cannot use a
§ 2241 petition as a way of challenging his underlying
sure, as Tucker points out, there is a limited exception
under which federal prisoners have been permitted to
challenge the validity of their 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, among other things,
that “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.” Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591,
600 (6th Cir. 2016).
exception does not provide Tucker with the relief he is
seeking. As an initial matter, Tucker relies on
Johnson, but in that case the Supreme Court held
that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act
(ACCA) was unconstitutionally vague. See Johnson,
135 S.Ct. at 2551. Thus, Johnson involved a specific
constitutional question about the ACCA, not an issue of
statutory interpretation directly relevant to Tucker's
case. Ultimately, if Tucker wants to bring a claim based on
Johnson, he must do so via a § 2255 motion, not
a § 2241 petition.
while Tucker cites Descamps and Mathis, he
has failed to clearly demonstrate how those cases reveal that
his previous Florida felony convictions are not valid
predicate offenses for purposes of the career-offender
enhancement. In fact, as the Respondent explains in his
response brief, Tucker's prior Florida conviction for
burglary of a dwelling qualifies as a predicate crime of
violence under the residual clause of the career-offender
guideline in effect at the time the trial court sentenced
Tucker. See United States v. Jacques, 717 Fed.Appx.
934, 937 (11th Cir. 2017) (“Regardless of whether
Florida burglary of an occupied dwelling is a crime of
violence under the enumerated clause, it is so under the
residual clause.”); United States v. Walker,
631 Fed.Appx. 753, 756 (11th Cir. 2015) (burglary of an
unoccupied dwelling under Florida law is a crime of violence
under the residual clause); United States v.
Matchett, 802 F.3d 1185, 1196-97 (11th Cir. 2015) (the
same). The same is true for Tucker's prior Florida
conviction for battery of a law-enforcement officer. See
United States v. Joseph, 700 Fed.Appx. 918, 923 (11th
Cir. 2017) (explaining that Florida battery of a
law-enforcement officer qualifies as a crime of violence
under the residual clause of the guidelines); Rozier v.
United States, 701 F.3d 681, 682 (11th Cir. 2012) (the
same); see also Anderson v. Ormond, No.
6:18-cv-254-CHB, 2018 WL 6594539, at *5 (Dec. 14, 2018)
(deciding, among other things, that the petitioner's
Florida convictions for battery of a law-enforcement officer
qualified as a crime of violence under the residual clause of
the guidelines). Therefore, despite Tucker's claims to
the contrary, he has not shown that he is actually innocent
of the career-offender enhancement.
it is ORDERED as follows:
Tucker's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1] is DENIED.
action is DISMISSED and
STRICKEN from the Court's docket.
corresponding Judgment will be entered this date.