United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
GREGORY F.VAN TATENHOVE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
inmate Vincent Raines has filed a pro se petition
for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241. [R. 1] This matter is before the Court to conduct the
screening required by 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Alexander v.
Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419 Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th
September 2004, a federal grand jury in Gainesville, Florida
indicted Raines on multiple counts of drug trafficking. Five
months later, Gaines agreed to plead guilty to one count of
violating 21 U.S.C §§ 841(a)(1) in exchange for the
dismissal of the other charges. As part of that agreement,
Gaines expressly agreed that he had violated 21 U.S.C
§§ 841(b)(1)(A)(iii), which establishes a ten-year
mandatory minimum sentence when the drug quantity involved is
more than 280 grams of cocaine base. Raines also filed an
accompanying “Factual Basis for Plea” which
established prior drug sales to cooperating witnesses
totaling more than double that amount. In May 2005, the trial
court sentenced Raines to 294 months imprisonment, well above
the mandatory minimum but within the applicable guidelines
range. United States v. Raines, No.
1:04-CR-28-MW-GRJ-1 (N.D. Fla. 2004). Raines did not file a
direct appeal, but he did file numerous motions to vacate his
conviction and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and
to reduce his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 3582.
Those motions were denied as untimely or without merit.
petition before this Court, Raines contends that the 10-year
mandatory minimum sentence required by 21 U.S.C §§
841(b)(1)(A)(iii) should not have been applied to him because
the trial court never found that he had trafficked in excess
of 280 grams of cocaine base. He suggests that this is so
because the phrase “mixture or substance” was
missing “from the indictment and from a sentencing
determination.” [R. 1 at Page ID #3] Raines relies upon
several decisions of the Supreme Court, decided before and
after his conviction and sentencing, but they discuss only
the meaning of the phrase “mixture or substance”
in § 841. [R. 1 at Page ID #3-7]
petition must be denied because he may not pursue his claim
in a habeas corpus petition filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. A prisoner must challenge his federal conviction
or sentence by filing a § 2255 motion in the court that
convicted and sentenced him. Capaldi v. Pontesso,
135 F.3d 1122, 1123 (6th Cir. 2003). A prisoner may only
challenge the enhancement of his federal sentence in a §
2241 petition if: (1) the petitioner's sentence was
imposed when the Sentencing Guidelines were mandatory before
the Supreme Court's decision in United States v.
Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005); (2) the petitioner was
foreclosed from asserting the claim in a motion under §
2255; and (3) after the petitioner's sentence became
final, the Supreme Court issued a retroactively applicable
decision establishing that - as a matter of statutory
interpretation - a prior conviction used to enhance his or
her federal sentence no longer qualified as a valid predicate
offense. Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 595, 599-600
(6th Cir. 2016).
fails to meet any of Hill's requirements to
pursue his claim under § 2241. He was sentenced in May
2005, four months after Booker rendered the
sentencing guidelines advisory. This alone is sufficient to
deny the petition. Arroyo v. Ormond, No. 6:
17-CV-69-GFVT (E.D. Ky. 2017), aff'd, No.
17-5837 (6th Cir. April 6, 2018) (“Arroyo was sentenced
in October 2006, after the Supreme Court's decision in
Booker ... On this basis alone, Arroyo's claim
does not fall within Hill's limited exception
for bringing a § 2241 habeas petition to challenge a
federal sentence.”); Contreras v. Ormond, No.
6: 17-CV-329-GFVT (E.D. Ky.), aff'd, No. 18-5020
at p. 2-3 (6th Cir. Sept. 10, 2018); Anderson v.
Ormond, 352 F.Supp.2d 767, 772 (E.D. Ky. 2018),
appeal filed, No. 19-5010 (6th Cir. 2019). Notably,
the sentence imposed by the trial court was a guidelines
sentence well above the 10-year mandatory minimum required by
Section 841(b)(1)(A)(iii), rendering his challenge to the
application of that provision wholly unavailing.
addition, Raines' challenge to the sufficiency of the
indictment is precluded because he acknowledged that he had
violated 21 U.S.C §§ 841(b)(1)(A)(iii) in both his
plea agreement and through the facts established in the
“Factual Basis for Plea” he filed with the trial
court. Even if this were not so, any challenge to the
sufficiency of the indictment or to the factual basis for the
sentence imposed was one that he could, and therefore must,
have pursued on direct appeal or in an initial motion under
§ 2255. The mere fact that he failed to do so does not
render the remedy under § 2255 “inadequate and
ineffective” to permit resort to the remedy afford by
§ 2241. Capaldi v. Pontesso, 135 F.3d 1122,
1123 (6th Cir. 2003); Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591,
595, 599-600 (6th Cir. 2016).
it is ORDERED as follows:
petition filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 by Vincent
Raines [R. 1] is DENIED with respect to all
issues raised in this proceeding.
matter is STRICKEN ...