United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Reeves. Chief Judge United States District Court.
Hernandez, Jr., has filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [Record No. 1]
After reviewing the petition, the Court will deny the
requested relief. This statutory section is not the proper
mechanism for Hernandez to pursue his claims.
a five-week trial, a jury convicted Hernandez and four of his
family members of various charges related to a 1989
murder-for-hire, subsequent arson, and insurance fraud.
United States v. Hernandez, et al., Case No.
94-CR-262-UU-3 (S.D. Fla. 1996). Hernandez was convicted of
conspiracy, murder-for-hire, and arson, for which he was
sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. Id. at
Record No. 405. He appealed the murder-for-hire conviction,
claiming that there was insufficient evidence to find him
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The United States Court of
Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, however, disagreed.
United States v. Hernandez, 141 F.3d 1042, 1056-59
(11th Cir. 1998). Since that time, Hernandez has filed at
least two § 2255 petitions,  a motion for relief from his
judgment,  and a § 2241 petition asserting
actual innocence under Jones v. United States, 529
U.S. 848 (2000), and Rosemond v. United States, 572
U.S. 65 (2014). Each petition and motion was denied.
now seeks relief in this Court by way of a § 2241
petition. [Record No. 1] Her claims that his sentence
violates the Sixth Amendment because judge-found facts
(specifically, whether a first-degree murder occurred)
increased his mandatory minimum sentence. [Record No. 1-1]
The Court conducts a preliminary review of habeas corpus
petitions and denies relief if it plainly appears that the
petition is not entitled to such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. Northern Bureau of
Prisons, 419 F. App’x 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).
prisoners typically challenge the validity of their federal
convictions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, whereas petitions
brought under § 2241 are usually limited to claims
challenging the manner or execution of an individual’s
sentence. Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 594 (6th
Cir. 2016). In limited circumstances, however, a federal
prisoner can use § 2241 to challenge the conviction or
imposition of his sentence. But a petitioner cannot bring a
§ 2241 petition as an alternate or additional remedy to
the one available under § 2255. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(e); Hernandez v. Lamanna, 16 F.
App’x 317, 320 (6th Cir. 2001).
recently, claims alleging actual innocence of a sentence
enhancement could not be raised under § 2241. See,
e.g., Jones v. Castillo, 489 F. App’x
864, 866 (6th Cir. 2012). But Hill v. Masters
allowed a petitioner to challenge his misapplied sentence
where he could show “(1) a case of statutory
interpretation, (2) that is retroactive and could not have
been invoked in the initial § 2255 motion, and (3) that
the misapplied sentence presents an error sufficiently grave
to be deemed a miscarriage of justice or fundamental
defect.” See 836 F.3d at 595 (citing Brown
v. Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013)).
does not fit within the extraordinarily narrow framework set
forth in Hill for several reasons. First, he does
not explain why he could not bring the argument presented in
this petition in his initial § 2255 motion. Put another
way, Hernandez fails to demonstrate that he had “no
prior reasonable opportunity to bring his argument for
relief.” Wright v. Spaulding, ___ F.3d ___,
No. 17-4257, at *13 (6th Cir. Sept. 19, 2019). As the Sixth
Circuit recently explained, “a claim for habeas relief
is more than the talismanic force of a new case name. A new
case matters only, if at all, because of the new legal
arguments it makes available.” Id. at *14
(emphasis in original). Hernandez alleges the imposition of
his sentence enhancement violated the Sixth Amendment, but he
has not identified anything that prevented him from making
this argument at his sentencing, on direct appeal, or in his
initial § 2255 motion. See Id . at *15.
also fails to identify a retroactive decision of statutory
interpretation that applies to his sentence. He primarily
relies on Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99
(2013), and Robinson v. Woods, 901 F.3d 710 (6th
Cir. 2018), to argue that his sentence was improperly
enhanced. [Record No. 1-1] But neither holding is a
retroactive decision of statutory interpretation. See In
re Mazzio, 756 F.3d 487, 489-90 (6th Cir. 2014)
(explaining Alleyne is not retroactive on collateral
review); In re Payne, 733 F.3d 1027, 1029 (10th Cir.
2013) (identifying Alleyne as a new rule of
constitutional-not statutory-interpretation). The same is
true for the other cases to which Hernandez gives a hat
tip.Therefore, Hernandez does not fit within
the narrow category of petitioners allowed to challenge their
sentences under § 2241. See Hill, 836 F.3d at
595; Wright, ___ F.3d ___, No. 18-4257 (6th Cir.
Sept. 19, 2019).
it is hereby
that Petitioner Antonio Hernandez, Jr.’s petition for a
writ of habeas corpus [Record No. 1] is