Williamson v. United States of America (INMATE3)

Filing 6

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)

Download PDF
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 [2255], 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 2 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). 1 3 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 4 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 5 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 6

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?