United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. Wilhoit, Jr. United States District Judge.
Lee Goddard is an inmate at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Ashland, Kentucky. Proceeding without a
lawyer, Goddard filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [D. E. No. 1]. 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 Goddard's
2008, Goddard pled guilty to attempting to possess with the
intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. See United States v.
Goddard, No. 5:07-cr-134-DCR (E.D. Ky. 2008). The
district court found that Goddard was a career offender
pursuant to section 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing
Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) because he had at least two prior
felony convictions for either a crime of violence or
controlled substance offense. See id. As a result,
Goddard's sentencing guidelines range was 360 months to
life. See Id. That said, the district court granted
the Government's motions for a reduced sentence under
U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 and sentenced Goddard to 180 months in
prison. See Id. The United States Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit affirmed. See United States v.
Goddard, 638 F.3d 490 (6th Cir. 2011). Goddard
subsequently tried to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255, but his efforts were unsuccessful.
has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. [D. E.
No. 1]. While Goddard's petition is somewhat difficult to
follow, he is clearly trying to challenge the validity of his
conviction and sentence in his underlying criminal case. At
one point, Goddard says he "would like to preserve his
original argument . . . that a conviction for Title 21 U.S.C.
§ 846 standing alone is not a federal offense," and
he cites a series of federal district and circuit court
decisions, the most recent of which was issued in 2010. [D.
E. No. 1 at 2-3]. That said, Goddard's primary argument
is that, in light of the Sixth Circuit's recent en banc
decision in United States v. Havis, 927 F.3d 382
(6th Cir. June 19, 2019), "he is now eligible to be
resentenced minus the career offender" enhancement. [D.
E. No. 1 at 2].
petition, however, constitutes an impermissible collateral
attack on his conviction and sentence. Although a federal
prisoner may challenge the legality of his conviction and
sentence on direct appeal and through a timely § 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 habeas 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, Goddard cannot use a § 2241
petition as a way of challenging his conviction 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 Sixth Circuit has explained that a prisoner can
only proceed in this manner if he can establish his actual
innocence, see Wooten v. Cauley, 677 F.3d 303,
307-08 (6th Cir. 2012), or show that his sentence was
improperly enhanced, see Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d
591, 599-600 (6th Cir. 2012). Here, Goddard has not met the
requirements set forth in either Wooten or
first suggests that his conviction under § 846 is
somehow invalid and, thus, he is raising an actual innocence
claim. However, a petitioner can only show actual innocence
(1) the existence of a new interpretation of statutory law,
(2) which was issued after the petitioner had a meaningful
time to incorporate the new interpretation into his direct
appeals or subsequent motions, (3) is retroactive, and (4)
applies to the merits of the petition to make it more likely
than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted him.
Wooten, 677 F.3d at 307-08. Goddard has not met
these requirements because the cases he relies on do not
clearly set forth a new interpretation of statutory law that
is retroactive and, in any event, the cases were all decided
before 2011, when the Sixth Circuit resolved Goddard's
direct appeal, and before Goddard filed his subsequent
motions. Plus, none of the cases Goddard cites demonstrate in
any clear way that his conviction is actually invalid. Thus,
Goddard's first claim lacks merit.
also argues that his career offender enhancement is no longer
valid in light of the Sixth Circuit's recent en banc
decision in Havis. To be sure, in Hill, the
Sixth Circuit said that a prisoner may challenge his sentence
enhancement in a § 2241 petition. However, in doing so,
the court expressly limited its decision to the following,
(1) prisoners who were sentenced under the mandatory
guidelines regime pre-United States v. Booker, 543
U.S. 220 .. . (2005), (2) who were foreclosed from filing a
successive petition under § 2255, and (3) when 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.
Id. at 599-600.
circumstances do not apply in this case. That is because the
trial court sentenced Goddard in 2009, well after the Supreme
Court's decision in Booker made the sentencing
guidelines advisory rather than mandatory. On this basis
alone, Goddard's claim does not fall within
Hill's limited exception for bringing a §
2241 petition to challenge his federal sentence. See
Loza-Gracia v. Streeval, No. 18-5923 (6th Cir. March 12,
2019) ("Loza-Gracia cannot proceed under Hill
because he was sentenced in 2011, long after the Supreme
Court's January 2005 Booker decision made the
guidelines advisory rather than mandatory.");
Contreras v. Ormond, No. 18-5020 (6th Cir. Sept. 10,
2018) ("[The petitioner's] case does not fall within
the narrow exception recognized by Hill because he
was sentenced post Booker in 2009, under the
advisory sentencing guidelines."); Arroyo v.
Ormond, No. 17-5837 (6th Cir. April 6, 2018) (holding
that since the petitioner was sentenced after
Booker, his "claim does not fall within
Hill's limited exception for bringing a §
2241 habeas petition to challenge a federal sentence").
also has not identified a subsequent, retroactive change in
statutory interpretation by the Supreme Court that reveals
that a previous conviction is not a predicate offense for
purposes of his career-offender enhancement. Instead, Goddard
relies on the Sixth Circuit's recent en banc decision in
Havis which is, of course, not a Supreme Court
decision. Thus, Goddard has also not met Hill's