United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. BUNNING UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Harris is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution
in Manchester, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer, Harris
filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. # 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
herein, Harris's Petition is denied.
late 1990s, Harris was convicted of multiple drug- and
gun-related crimes, including but not limited to possession
with the intent to distribute cocaine, carrying a firearm
during a drug trafficking offense, possessing an unregistered
silencer, and possessing a firearm with the serial number
obliterated. See United States v. Harris, No.
1:97-cr-063 (S. D. Ind. 1997). The trial court ultimately
sentenced Harris to life in prison. Harris then filed a
direct appeal, but the United States Court of Appeals for the
Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgments of conviction of
Harris and his co-defendants. See United States v.
Thornton, 197 F.3d 241 (7th Cir. 1999).
March 28, 2000, Harris filed a motion to vacate his sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. However, on February 26,
2001, the district court denied that motion. See
Harris, 1:97-cr-063, at Doc. # 1 (docket sheet listing
this procedural history). Harris then filed subsequent §
2255 motions, as well as multiple § 2241 petitions, but
his attempts to collaterally attack his underlying
convictions and sentence were unsuccessful. See,
e.g., Harris v. United States, No.
6:18-cv-295-CHB, Doc. # 7 (E.D. Ky. Feb. 19, 2019)
(discussing Harris's litigation history); Harris v.
Butler, No. 6:14-cv-107-DLB, Doc. # 7 (E.D. Ky. Sept.
15, 2014) (same).
has now filed yet another § 2241 petition with this
Court. (Doc. # 1). Put simply, Harris claims that, in light
of the United States Supreme Court's June 5, 2000
decision in Castillo v. United States, 530 U.S. 120
(2000), he is “actually innocent” of his 18
U.S.C. § 924(c) conviction. Thus, Harris asks this Court
to grant him habeas relief.
petition, however, constitutes an impermissible collateral
attack on his conviction. Although a federal prisoner may
challenge the legality of his conviction 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 petition). That is because 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). Harris
cannot use his § 2241 petition as a way of challenging
Court recognizes that there is a limited exception under
which federal prisoners have been permitted to challenge the
validity of their convictions 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 establish his actual innocence by
(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 v. Cauley, 677 F.3d 303, 307-08 (6th Cir.
does not meet all of these requirements. Even assuming,
without deciding, that Castillo v. United States,
530 U.S. 120 (2000), applies to the merits of Harris's
petition, the Supreme Court decided that case on June 5,
2000, more than eight months before the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
denied Harris's initial § 2255 motion.
Thus, Harris certainly had a meaningful time to incorporate
his Castillo-related arguments into his original
§ 2255 motion, as well as his other subsequent filings.
Instead, Harris apparently waited over 19 years to put forth
his arguments. That is simply not proper. Thus, the Court
will deny Harris's petition.
result is consistent with the Sixth Circuit's recent
decision in Wright v. Spaulding, 939 F.3d 695, 705
(6th Cir. 2019). In Wright, the Sixth Circuit
specifically held “that a federal prisoner cannot bring
a claim of actual innocence in a § 2241 petition through
the saving clause without showing that he had no prior
reasonable opportunity to bring his argument for
relief.” Id. Here, Harris has not shown that
he had no prior reasonable opportunity to bring his argument
for relief; if anything, the record suggests that Harris had
numerous opportunities to assert his
Castillo-related arguments, and he simply failed to
it is ORDERED that:
Harris's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. # 1) is DENIED;
This action is DISMISSED and
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