United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, Pikeville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE.
Meador, an inmate at the United States Penitentiary-Big Sandy
in Inez, Kentucky, has filed a pro se petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [R.
1.] Meador claims he is “actually innocent” of
his various offenses of conviction and seeks to be
immediately released from prison. But because Meador does not
identify any intervening changes in statutory law that apply
to his sentence, Meador's claims are not appropriate in
this § 2241 proceeding. The Court, therefore,
DENIES his petition.
2009, a jury found Michael Meador guilty of conspiracy to
distribute and possess fifty kilograms or more of marijuana,
interstate travel or transportation in aid of racketeering,
and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug
trafficking crime resulting in murder. [See United States
v. Meador, No. 1:06-cr-134-DCP (E.D. Mo. 2006), R. 577,
therein.] The Eastern District of Missouri subsequently
sentenced Meador to life in prison. [Id. at R. 642,
therein.] In 2010, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld
Meador's conviction, [id. at R. 697, therein],
and in 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States denied
Meador's petition for a writ of certiorari. [Id.
at R. 707, therein.] Meador then filed various petitions
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 seeking habeas relief, but all of
his attempts were denied. [See, e.g., id.
at R. 740; see also Meador v. United States, No.
1:12-cv-36-CDP (E.D. Mo. 2012), R. 25, therein.]
now seeks relief in this Court by way of a 28 U.S.C. §
2241 petition, which is before the Court for a § 2243
preliminary screening. [See R. 1.] 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 Meador's petition under a more lenient standard
because he is proceeding without an attorney and, at this
stage of the proceedings, accepts Meador's 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 more lenient construction afforded to pro se
filings, the Court finds that Meador is not entitled to his
requested relief under § 2241. Meador's petition
sets forth five grounds for habeas relief. Ground one alleges
that Meador suffers from mental disabilities and that he has
not been treated fairly in court because of those
disabilities. [R. 1 at 7.] Grounds two through five argue
that Meador is “actually innocent” of the three
statutes he was convicted of violating. [Id. at
12-28.] All of these claims are challenges to the
constitutionality of Meador's underlying conviction,
which are generally inappropriate in a § 2241 petition.
federal prisoner may challenge the legality of his conviction
and sentence in a § 2255 habeas petition brought before
the prisoner's sentencing judge, a prisoner may generally
not challenge his conviction and sentence in a § 2241
petition filed in his district of confinement. Such §
2241 challenges may only proceed where the 28 U.S.C. §
2255(e) savings clause applies, and that savings clause is
triggered in very narrow circumstances. See United States
v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001). For
instance, to proceed under § 2241, a prisoner's
remedy under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 must be inadequate or
ineffective, and the prisoner must 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).
a motion under § 2255 is not “inadequate or
ineffective” simply because the prisoner's time to
file a § 2255 motion has passed, because he did not file
a § 2255 motion, or because he did file such a motion
and was denied relief. See Copeland v. Hemingway, 36
Fed.Appx. 793, 795 (6th Cir. 2002); Taylor v.
Gilkey, 314 F.3d 832, 835 (7th Cir. 2002) (holding that
§ 2241 is available “only when a structural
problem in § 2255 forecloses even one round of effective
collateral review . . . .”). Further, a petitioner must
contend he is “actually innocent” by showing
that, after his conviction became final, the Supreme Court
reinterpreted the substantive terms of a statute under which
he was convicted in a manner that establishes that his
conduct did not violate the statute after all.
Wooten, 677 F.3d at 307-08 (citing
Peterman, 249 F.3d at 461-62).
Meador repeatedly contends he is “actually
innocent” of the charges for which he was convicted,
Meador's petition fails to articulate why § 2255 is
an effective remedy for his claims. Further, regardless of
whether or not Meador is foreclosed from proceeding under
§ 2255, Meador has not directed the Court to any
intervening and retroactive changes in statutory law that
apply to his case. See Wooten, 677 F.3d at 307-08.
Indeed, Meador's petition appears to reference only three
cases of any kind, with little explanation of how those cases
provide him with any relief.
Meador makes passing reference to the Supreme Court's
“Demaya” holding. [R. 1 at 12.] Assuming Meador
meant to reference Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S.Ct.
1204 (2018), Meador does not connect that case to any of his
five grounds for relief. Dimaya found the residual
clause in the federal criminal code's definition of
“crime of violence” set forth in 18 U.S.C. §
16(b) and incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality
Act was impermissibly vague. The present petition makes no
argument about the applicability of that holding to
Meador's sentence. Put another way, Dimaya was
concerned with the constitutionality of a particular
sentencing enhancement for a prior crime of violence, but
Meador's petition does not contend his sentence was
improperly enhanced based on a prior conviction for a crime
of violence. Instead, the petition states only that
“his rights were violated when the jury heard about a
crime of violence.” [R. 1 at 12.]
Meador attaches one page of Justice Alito's concurrence
in the 2014 Supreme Court decision Rosemond v. United
States, 134 S.Ct. 1240 (2014), and one page of a
concurrence in a Rosemond-related Tenth Circuit
opinion, United States v. Davis, 750 F.3d 1186 (10th
Cir. 2014). [R. 1 at 13-14.] Like with Dimaya,
Meador's petition makes no actual arguments regarding
Rosemond or Davis. But even assuming Meador
hoped to invoke Rosemond as an intervening change in
statutory law, that attempt fails. Meador's judgment was
imposed in 2009, Rosemond was decided in March 2014,
and according to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals,
“the Supreme Court has not made Rosemond
retroactive on collateral review.” Velez v. United
States, No. 17 5369, 2017 WL 10402847, at *2 (6th Cir.
Sept. 1, 2017). Meador, therefore, is entitled to no relief
from the opinion excerpts he attached to his petition.
end of the day, the pending § 2241 petition concerns
arguments that Meador needed to make on direct appeal or in a
§ 2255 proceeding. Cf. Mallard v. United
States,82 Fed.Appx. 151, 153 (6th Cir. 2003);
Jameson v. Samuels,555 Fed.Appx. 743, 746 (10th
Cir. 2014). Meador has drawn the Court's attention to no
retroactive changes in statutory interpretation, and the
savings clause set forth in 28 U.S.C. § ...