Williamson v. United States of America (INMATE3)
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS that the 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Relief filed by Williamson be denied and that this case be dismissed with prejudice. Objections to R&R due by 12/1/2008. Signed by Honorable Wallace Capel, Jr. on 11/14/2008. (dmn)
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION F R E D E L WILLIAMSON, P e titio n e r, v UNITED STATES, R e sp o n d e n t. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )
Civil Action No.2:08cv872-TMH (WO)
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE O n or around October 30, 2008, Fredel Williamson ("Williamson"), a prisoner at the F e d e ra l Prison Camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, initiated this a c tio n as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In his petition, W i ll ia m s o n argues that his sentence for a money laundering conviction in the Northern D istric t of Georgia should have been imposed concurrently and not consecutively to his s e n te n c e in the Middle District of Georgia for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He further a rg u e s that his counsel at his money laundering sentencing rendered ineffective assistance b y failing to ensure that the sentence was imposed currently to his drug conspiracy sentence. F o r the reasons that follow, this court concludes that Williamson is not entitled to any relief. D IS C U S S IO N In November 1991, Williamson was convicted in the United States District Court for th e Northern District of Georgia on a charge of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(1). He was sentenced to 84 months' imprisonment to be served
c o n se c u tiv e ly to a sentence imposed in 1989 in the Middle District of Georgia for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. After his money laundering conviction and sentence were upheld on d ire c t appeal, Williamson collaterally attacked his sentence through various motions filed in th e Northern District of Georgia, including a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence p u rs u a n t to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Civil Docket for United States v. Williamson,
1 :95 cv 2 9 2 1 -JO F (N.D.Ga. 1995) (§ 2255 action); February 16, 2005 Order of District Court in United States v. Williamson, Criminal Action No. 1:90cr266-2-JOF (providing history of W illia m s o n 's collateral attacks against his sentence). Each of Williamson's previous motions w e re a variation on the same contention presented in his instant petition, that his money lau n d e rin g sentence from the Northern District of Georgia should be imposed concurrently to his drug conspiracy sentence from the Middle District of Georgia. All such attempts by W illiam so n at collateral relief were unsuccessful. W il li a m s o n ' s claims in the instant petition go to the fundamental legality of his c o n v ic tio n and sentence. The law directs that 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is the exclusive remedy for c h a lle n g in g the validity of a conviction and/or sentence imposed by a federal court. "An a p p lic a tio n for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a prisoner who is authorized to apply for re lie f by motion pursuant to ... section , shall not be entertained if it appears that the a p p lic a n t has failed to apply for relief, by motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that s u c h court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy by [a § 2255] motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of [the inmate's] detention." 28 U.S.C. § 2255
¶5. It appears from a review of the petition that Williamson filed this action in this court p u rs u a n t to § 2241 in an attempt to circumvent the constraint on successive § 2255 motions co n tain ed in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A).1 However, under no circumstances can this court c o u n te n a n ce Williamson's circumvention of the procedural restraints contained in the A n tite rro rism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), as 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is n o t rendered inadequate or ineffective to challenge the legality of a petitioner's detention m e re ly because a subsequent motion under the section would be barred as successive. T h e habeas petition, supporting documents, and relevant court records indicate that W illia m s o n 's claims would be barred from review in a § 2255 motion before the United S ta te s District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by the AEDPA's gatekeeping p ro v is io n s on successive petitions. The "inadequate or ineffective" savings clause of 28 U .S .C . § 2255 applies to a claim when (1) that claim is based upon a retroactively applicable S u p r e m e Court decision; (2) the holding of that Supreme Court decision establishes that the p e titio n e r was convicted for a nonexistent offense; and (3) circuit law squarely foreclosed su c h a claim at the time it otherwise should have been raised in the petitioner's trial, appeal, o r first § 2255 motion. Wofford v. Scott, 177 F.3d 1236, 1244 (11 th Cir. 1999). All the C o n s titu tio n requires, if it requires anything, is that a reasonable opportunity existed through
"Before a second or successive [28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion] ... is filed in the district court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A).
w h ic h an inmate could have pursued judicial relief on his claims. Id. "[T]he only sentencing c la im s that may conceivably be covered by the savings clause are those based upon a re tro a c tiv e ly applicable Supreme Court decision overturning circuit precedent." Id. at 1245. W illia m s o n does not meet the prerequisites necessary to invoke application of the sa v in g s clause of § 2255, thereby precluding relief in a § 2241 proceeding. Initially, it is c le a r that Williamson's claims are not premised upon a Supreme Court decision issued after h is conviction which the Court made retroactively applicable to such conviction. Moreover, W illia m so n has not been "convicted of any crime which a retroactively applicable Supreme C o u rt decision overturning prior circuit precedent has made clear is nonexistent." Wofford, 1 7 7 F.3d at 1245. Thus, Williamson's challenge to his convictions and sentence are not b a se d upon a retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision. Finally, pertinent federal law d id not foreclose Williamson from presenting the claims now before this court at the time th e se claims otherwise could and should have been raised. Specifically, the pleadings filed h e re in establish that Williamson had the requisite procedural opportunity to raise the instant h a b e as claims and have such claims decided during proceedings before the United States D is tric t Court for the Northern District of Georgia or on appeal. Williamson also had the o p p o rtu n ity to present his claims in a properly filed § 2255 motion. These opportunities are a ll the Constitution requires. Id. at 1244. The claims pending before this court therefore fail to warrant relief under the savings clause of § 2255. A federal prisoner cannot use § 2241 simply to escape the procedural restrictions
p la c e d on § 2255 motions by the AEDPA. Wofford, 177 F.3d at 1245. "[T]he savings clause ... does not exist to free a prisoner of the effects of his failure to raise an available claim e a rlie r." Id. "If it were the case that any prisoner who is prevented from bringing a § 2255 p e titio n could, without more, establish that § 2255 is `inadequate or ineffective,' and th e re f o re that he is entitled to petition for a writ of habeas corpus under § 2241(c)(3), then C o n g re ss would have accomplished nothing at all in its attempts through statutes like the A E D P A to place limits on federal collateral review." Triestman v. United States, 124 F.3d 3 6 1 , 376 (2 n d Cir. 1997); see also In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251 (3 r d Cir. 1997) (a f e d era l petitioner may not proceed under "§ 2241 merely because [he] is unable to meet the strin g e n t gatekeeping requirements of the amended § 2255. Such a holding would effectively e v isc e ra te Congress's intent in amending § 2255."); In re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 n.5 (4 th C ir. 1997) (internal citations omitted) ("The remedy afforded by § 2255 is not rendered in a d e q u ate or ineffective merely because an individual has been unable to obtain relief under th a t provision, ... or because an individual is procedurally barred from filing a § 2255 m o t io n . . . . " ) . In light of the foregoing, this court concludes that Williamson's claims challenging th e validity of the conviction and sentence entered against him by the United States District C o u rt for the Northern District of Georgia is not cognizable in a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition. C O N C L U SIO N A c c o rd in g ly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that the 28
U .S .C . § 2241 petition for habeas corpus relief filed by Williamson be denied and that this c a se be dismissed with prejudice. It is further O R D E R E D that the parties shall file any objections to this Recommendation on or b e f o r e December 1, 2008. A party must specifically identify the findings in the
R e c o m m e n d a tio n to which objection is made; frivolous, conclusive, or general objections w ill not be considered. Failure to file written objections to the Magistrate Judge's proposed f in d in g s and recommendations shall bar a party from a de novo determination by the District C o u rt of issues covered in the Recommendation and shall bar the party from attacking on a p p e al factual findings accepted or adopted by the District Court except upon grounds of p la in error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5 th Cir. 1982). See S te in v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 33 (11 th Cir. 1982). See also Bonner v. City of P r ic h a r d , 661 F.2d 1206 (11 th Cir. 1981) (en banc). D o n e this 14 th day of November, 2008.
/s/Wallace Capel, Jr. WALLACE CAPEL, JR. U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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