United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE
Hawkins is an inmate at the United States Penitentiary -
McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer,
Hawkins filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [R. 2]. 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 Hawkins's petition.
2011, Hawkins was convicted of assisting in a riot, forcibly
resisting an employee of the Bureau of Prisons, possessing a
weapon in prison, and felony contempt of a court order.
See United States v. Hawkins, No. 2:10-cr-004 (W.D.
Va. 2011). The trial court then sentenced Hawkins to a total
of 188 months in prison. See Id. at R. 240. Hawkins
filed a direct appeal, but the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the trial court's
judgment. See Id. at R. 276. Hawkins then
unsuccessfully sought relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. [R. 2].
Hawkins repeatedly claims that he is “actually innocent
of the offenses” with which he was convicted, and he
puts forth numerous arguments in support of his request for
relief. [Id. at 10-34]. Among other things, Hawkins
claims that: (1) “the district court erred in
dismissing petitioner's § 2255 claim that staff at
USP-Lee failed to preserve exculpatory video footage;”
(2) “the district court erred in dismissing
petitioner's § 2255 claim that the government failed
to disclose to the petitioner its intention to present a
surprise witness;” (3) his trial attorney provided
ineffective assistance of counsel; and (4) “the
district court erred in dismissing petitioner's §
2255 claim that he is actually and factually innocent of
participating in the riot based on newly discovered evidence
without conducting an evidentiary hearing.”
[Id. at 10-19]. These are just some of the claims
Hawkins puts forth in his submission, which this Court has
fully reviewed. [See Id. at 19-34]. Ultimately,
Hawkins claims that the trial court in his underlying
criminal case repeatedly violated his constitutional rights
and, as a result, this Court should vacate his convictions
§ 2241 petition, however, constitutes an impermissible
collateral attack on his underlying convictions and sentence.
While a federal prisoner may challenge the legality of his
convictions and sentence on direct appeal and 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 way 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, Hawkins cannot use a
§ 2241 petition as a way of challenging his underlying
convictions and sentence.
sure, there are limited exceptions under which federal
prisoners have been permitted to challenge the validity of
their convictions or 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 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 shows that his sentence was improperly enhanced, see
Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 599-600 (6th Cir. 2016).
In this case, Hawkins has not made such a showing. In fact,
Hawkins has not clearly identified any intervening change in
statutory law, let alone a change that establishes his actual
innocence or shows that his sentence was erroneously
enhanced. Instead, it appears that Hawkins is trying to
litigate claims that are only appropriate on direct appeal
and in a § 2255 motion.
it is ORDERED that:
Hawkins petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 2] is DENIED
pending motions are DENIED as moot.
action is DISMISSED and