BRYANT v. LOCKETT
ENTRY Denying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Directing Entry of Judgment (S.E.) (copy to petitioner via U.S. Mail). Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 12/22/2011.(MAC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
Entry Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
Coyt Bryant is confined in this District and seeks a writ of habeas corpus
with respect to his conviction entered in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of North Carolina.
After this action was docketed, Bryant was given a period of time in which to
show cause why this action can proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He has responded
through his filing of December 20, 2011.
Whereupon the court, having considered the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus and being duly advised, now finds that the relief sought by the petitioner
must be denied and that the action must be dismissed. This conclusion rests on
the following facts and circumstances:
A motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is the presumptive means by
which a federal prisoner can challenge his conviction or sentence. See Davis v.
United States, 417 U.S. 333, 343 (1974); United States v. Bezy, 499 F.3d 668, 670
(7th Cir. 2007). A § 2241 petition by a federal prisoner is generally limited to
challenges to the execution of the sentence. Valona v. United States, 138 F.3d 693,
694 (7th Cir. 1998); Atehortua v. Kindt, 951 F.2d 126, 129 (7th Cir. 1991). However,
a petition challenging the conviction may be brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
only if § 2255 “would not . . . be[ ] adequate to test the legality of the conviction and
sentence.” Melton v. United States, 359 F.3d 855, 858 (7th Cir. 2004); 28 U.S.C. §
A remedy via § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of
[the] detention” when a legal theory that could not have been presented under
§ 2255 establishes the petitioner's actual innocence. In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605
(7th Cir. 1998). “A procedure for post-conviction relief can fairly be termed
inadequate when it is so configured as to deny a convicted defendant any
opportunity for judicial rectification of so fundamental a defect in his conviction as
having been imprisoned for a nonexistent offense.” Id. at 611. It is the inmate's
burden to show that a § 2241 remedy is the proper one. Jeffers v. Chandler, 253
F.3d 827, 830 (5th Cir. 2001). “The essential point is that a prisoner is entitled to
one unencumbered opportunity to receive a decision on the merits.” Potts v. United
States, 210 F.3d 770 (7th Cir. 2000).
Bryant was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. His
conviction was affirmed on appeal in United States v. Bryant, No. 08-4031, 329 Fed.
Appx. 435 (2009). He seeks habeas corpus relief in this action based on his claim
that his previous conviction for attempted burglary was a misdemeanor, not a
felony, and therefore could not have supported the enhancement of his sentence.
This contention was rejected in his direct appeal. Bryant challenged his conviction
with a § 2255 motion in the Eastern District of North Carolina and the trial court
denied the motion.
Bryant offers no reason in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus or
his supplement which persuades this court that a different resolution--or even
further adjudication--of claim is now warranted.
“Federal courts are authorized to dismiss summarily any habeas
petition that appears legally insufficient on its face.” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S.
849, 856 (1994). This is an appropriate case for such a disposition for precisely the
reasons explained above. That is, the petitioner has sought relief pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 under circumstances which do not permit or justify the use of that
remedy. His petition for s writ of habeas corpus is denied. Judgment consistent
with this Entry shall now issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
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