United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
OPINION & ORDER
K. CALDWELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Suitt is an inmate confined at the federal penitentiary in
Pine Knot, Kentucky. Suitt has filed a pro se
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. [R. 1] The Court now conducts the initial review
of the petition required by 28 U.S.C. § 2243.
Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419
Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).
2012, in exchange for the dismissal of charges for carjacking
and using a firearm during the commission of a crime of
violence, Suitt pleaded guilty in North Carolina to
possessing cocaine hydrochloride with intent to distribute in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C), carrying
and using a pistol during and in relation to his drug
trafficking crimes in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A)(i), and being a convicted felon in possession of
a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g).
Suitt's convictions and resulting 180-month sentence have
withstood both direct appeal and two rounds of collateral
attack. United States v. Suitt, No. 1:
12-CR-29-CCE-1 (M.D. N.C. 2012).
two-page petition, Suitt asks the Court to vacate his §
924(c) conviction, but the grounds for that request are
unclear. Suitt states that he is “actually
innocent” of the crime, and claims that he did not
receive adequate notice of the offense, his guilty plea was
involuntary, and judgment was entered against him without due
process of law. [R. 1-1 at 1] But apart from these labels,
Suitt offers neither fact nor argument to support those
claims. Suitt also states that he was convicted of both
carrying and using a firearm under § 924(c) (citing
without explanation Bailey v. United States, 516
U.S. 137 (1995)), but asserts that there was insufficient
evidence to support the conviction. [R. 1-1 at 2]
Court must deny the petition for a number of reasons. First,
most of Suitt's contentions are set forth only in the
most conclusory terms, unaccompanied by either relevant facts
or pertinent argument. These claims fail to satisfy the
minimum requirements to adequately plead a claim for relief
in a habeas proceeding. Alexander v. Northern Bureau of
Prisons, 419 Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011)
(applying the pleading standard set forth in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) to habeas corpus
petitions). As Suitt has previously been advised by the
It is not the responsibility of the Court to do the legal
research needed to support or rebut a perfunctory argument.
See Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir.
1978) (recognizing that the district court is not expected to
assume the role of advocate for a pro se litigant);
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278
(4th Cir. 1985) (stating district courts “cannot be
expected to construct full blown claims from sentence
fragments” in pro se complaints.
[R. 55 therein at 5] The petition is subject to dismissal on
that ground alone.
claim challenging the sufficiency of the evidence - in which
he notes that arresting officers found the firearm near his
cell phone rather than on his person - is also misplaced.
Suitt could have proceeded to trial to test the sufficiency
of the government's evidence, but he chose to plead
guilty instead. And by doing so, he gave up his right to
challenge the government's case. United States v.
Broce, 488 U.S. 563, 569 (1989) (“A plea of guilty
and the ensuing conviction comprehend all of the factual and
legal elements necessary to sustain a binding, final judgment
of guilt and a lawful sentence.”); see also Boykin
v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 242 (1969).
Suitt's claims are ordinary claims of trial error that
could and must have been pursued on direct appeal or by
initial motion under § 2255, and thus do not fall within
the scope of § 2241. Cf. Holcomb v. Tamez, 464
Fed.Appx. 343, 344 (5th Cir. 2012) (holding claim that guilty
plea was not knowing and voluntary is not cognizable under
§ 2241); Tyson v. Jeffers, 115 Fed.Appx. 34, 36
(10th Cir. 2004) (same); Graham v. Sanders, 77
Fed.Appx. 799, 801 (6th Cir. 2003) (holding that challenge to
sufficiency of evidence to support conspiracy conviction
could be raised on appeal and by motion under § 2255,
rendering relief under Section 2241 unavailable); Posival
v. Driver, 207 Fed.Appx. 365, 366 (5th Cir. 2006)
(holding that claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and
challenge to sufficiency of evidence to support sentencing
enhancement should be raised in a Section 2255 motion, and
may not be pursued under the savings clause). The Court must
therefore deny the petition.
the Court ORDERS as follows:
Court DENIES Suitt's petition for a writ
of habeas corpus [R. 1].
Court STRIKES this action from ...