Higdon v. Taylor
MEMORANDUM OPINION adopting and approving the findings and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge and OVERRULING Petitioner's 16 Objection. Signed by Judge Abdul K Kallon on 8/21/2017. (JLC)
2017 Aug-21 PM 04:38
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
JERRY JOSEPH HIGDON, JR.,
WARDEN WILLIAM T. TAYLOR,
Case No.: 1:15-cv-01602-AKK-JHE
On July 24, 2017, the magistrate judge entered a Report and
Recommendation, doc. 15, recommending that the court dismiss the petition for
writ of habeas corpus for lack of jurisdiction under the savings clause of 28 U.S.C.
§2255(e). The petitioner timely objected, stating (1) that the magistrate judge
should not have referred to §2255(e) or the savings clause, and (2) that the
magistrate judge failed to address the petitioner’s actual innocence argument. Doc.
16 at 1-2. Both objections are due to be overruled.
As an initial matter, the magistrate judge properly analyzed the petition
under the savings clause. A federal prisoner “claiming the right to be released
upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or
laws of the United States” may file a motion to “vacate, set aside or correct the
sentence.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). A prisoner may generally seek § 2255 relief only
once, but may file a “second or successive motion” under certain circumstances by
obtaining certification from a court of appeals. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244(b) &
Although a § 2255 motion is ordinarily the only means to challenge the
validity of a federal conviction following the conclusion of direct appeal, in rare
instances, a prisoner may attack his underlying conviction by bringing a § 2241
habeas corpus application under the “savings clause” in § 2255(e). See Williams v.
Warden, Federal Bureau of Prisons, 713 F.3d 1332, 1337 (11th Cir. 2013). That
An application for a writ of habeas corpus [(§ 2241)] in behalf of a
prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to
this section [(§ 2255)], shall not be entertained if it appears that the
applicant has failed to apply for relief, by motion, to the court which
sentenced him, or that such court has denied him relief, unless it also
appears that the remedy by motion [(§ 2255)] is inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Thus, under the “savings clause” of § 2255(e), a federal
prisoner may file a § 2241 application challenging the validity of his sentence only
if § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention. See
Williams, 713 F.3d at 1337. As such, the magistrate judge applied the appropriate
statutes to reach the conclusion that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear this petition.
This objection is OVERRULED.
As to the second objection, because the magistrate judge recommended that
the court dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction, even if the magistrate judge
had not reached the merits of the petitioner’s claim, there would be no error.
However, contrary to the petitioner’s objection, the magistrate judge also
addressed the petitioner’s “actual innocence” claim, finding in the alternative that
the court would lack jurisdiction under the pre-McCarthan analysis to address the
legal innocence claim. See doc. 15 at 3-4. This objection is OVERRULED.
The court has considered the entire file in this action, together with the
report and recommendation, and has reached an independent conclusion that the
report and recommendation is due to be adopted and approved.
Accordingly, the court hereby adopts and approves the findings and
recommendation of the magistrate judge as the findings and conclusions of this
court. The petition for writ of habeas corpus is due to be DISMISSED. A
separate Order will be entered.
DONE the 21st day of August, 2017.
ABDUL K. KALLON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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