Means v. Quintana
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: (1) Clerk shall modify the docket to identify the petitioner as "Willie Clay Means" and to identify "Clay Means" as an alias designation. (2) Petitioner's 28 USC 2241 Petition 1 for Writ of Hab eas Corpus is DENIED. (3) Petitioner's 3 , 4 , and 5 MOTIONS to Amend his Petition are DENIED. (4) This action is DISMISSED and STRICKEN from the Court's docket. (5) Judgment shall be entered contemporaneously with this Memorandum Opinion and Order in favor of Respondent Francisco J. Quintana, Warden of FMC-Lexington. Signed by Judge Danny C. Reeves on October 21, 2013. (AWD) cc: Petitioner via US Mail
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
WILLIE CLAY MEANS,
a/k/a Clay Means,
FRANCISCO J. QUINTANA, Warden of
Civil No. 5: 13-106-DCR
*** *** *** ***
Petitioner Willie Clay Means1 is an inmate confined at the Federal Medical Center in
Lexington, Kentucky (“FMC-Lexington”). Proceeding without an attorney, Means filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging his federal
conviction and sentence. [Record No. 1] Means also hlas filed three motions to amend his
initial pleading. [Record Nos. 3, 4, 5] Having reviewed Means’ petition and motions to amend,
the Court will deny the relief requested.
While Means filed his § 2241 petition under the moniker “Clay Means,” both the Bureau of Prisons
and the trial court proceedings identify his proper name as “Willie Clay Means.” See BOP Inmate Locator,
=IRN&IDNumber=15566-058&x=85&y=2 (last visited on October 21, 2013). Means has filed numerous
other habeas petitions and civil rights actions under the name “Clay Means.” To ensure the correctness of
the docket and to facilitate tracking of Means’ litigation activity for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), the
Clerk of the Court will be directed to modify the docket to identify the petitioner as “Willie Clay Means” and
to identify “Clay Means” as an alias designation.
On May 11, 1995, Means and numerous family members and friends were charged in a
129-count indictment. According to the indictment Means occupied a leadership position in a
large-scale conspiracy to manufacture and traffic in crack cocaine, marijuana, and prescription
drugs, in Birmingham, Alabama. [See United States v. Willie Clay Means, Criminal Action
No. 2: 95-129-JHH-TMP, (N.D. Ala. May 11, 1995), Record No. 1.] Means was also charged
with possessing firearms in furtherance of the drug conspiracy. [Id.] On August 7, 1995, the
government filed a Notice pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851(a), indicating that it intended to seek an
enhanced penalty against Means based on his prior convictions. On March 18, 1996, following
a six-week trial, a jury found Means guilty on thirty-four counts. [Id. at Record Nos. 618-624]
On May 24, 1996, the district court concluded that at least two of Means’ prior state drug
convictions qualified as predicate offenses for enhancement purposes under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b).
[Id. at Record Nos. 693, 694] On May 29, 1996, Means was sentenced to several concurrent
terms of life imprisonment as well as additional terms of years. [Id. at Record No. 702] The
Eleventh Circuit affirmed his convictions and sentence on direct appeal. Means has since filed
numerous motions for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and 18 U.S.C. § 3582. However, these
motions have all been found to be without merit. [See, e.g., Id. at Record Nos. 1100, 1391, 1396,
1429, 1508, 1610, 1671, 1759, 1801, 1866.] On April 15, 2013, Means filed his petition for
habeas relief under § 2241. [Record No. 1]
In conducting an initial review of habeas petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2243, the Court will
deny the relief sought “if it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts (applicable to § 2241 petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b)). Because Means is
not represented by an attorney, the Court evaluates his petition under a more lenient standard.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th Cir. 2003).
Thus, at this stage of the proceedings, Means’ factual allegations are accepted as true and his
legal claims are liberally construed in his favor.
Means’ Initial § 2241 Petition
It appears that Means seeks relief in his initial petition under Jones v. United States, 526
U.S. 227 (1999), and Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). [Record No. 1, p. 6]
However, he provides no argument for substantive relief under either case. Instead, Means
argues that the district court could not impose a life sentence pursuant to 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(b)(1)(A) because none of his convictions involved the possession of more than fifty grams
of cocaine base. In support, he relies on United States v. Winston, 37 F.3d 235 (6th Cir. 1994)
and United States v. Rettelle, 165 F.3d 489 (6th Cir. 1999).2 [Record No. 1, pp. 10-12]
However, this argument is not cognizable under § 2241. As a general rule, 28 U.S.C. § 2255
In Winston, the Sixth Circuit held that § 841(b)(1)(A) only mandates the imposition of a life sentence
if the defendant’s violation of § 841(a) involves the possession of more than fifty grams of cocaine base on
a single occasion, rather than in the aggregate. Winston, 37 F.3d at 240. In Rettelle, the Sixth Circuit applied
the same rationale announced by Winston in the manufacturing context, finding that § 841(b)(1)(B)(vii)’s
mandatory-minimum sentence requirement is only applicable when a defendant’s conduct included more than
one hundred marijuana plants on a single occasion, rather than in the aggregate. Retelle, 165 F.3d at 490-92.
provides the correct avenue to challenge a federal conviction, whereas a federal prisoner may
file a § 2241 petition if he is challenging the execution of his sentence (i.e., the Bureau of
Prisons’ (“BOP”) calculation of sentence credits or parole eligibility). See United States v.
Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001); United States v. Jalili, 925 F.2d 889, 894 (6th Cir.
1999). The Sixth Circuit has explained the difference between the two statutes as follows:
[C]ourts have uniformly held that claims asserted by federal prisoners that seek
to challenge their convictions or imposition of their sentence shall be filed in the
[jurisdiction of the] sentencing court under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and that claims
seeking to challenge the execution or manner in which the sentence is served shall
be filed in the court having jurisdiction over the prisoner’s custodian under 28
U.S.C. § 2241.
Terrell v. United States, 564 F.3d 442, 447 (6th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).
In short, 28 U.S.C. § 2255 provides the primary avenue for federal prisoners seeking relief from
an unlawful conviction or sentence, not § 2241. See Capaldi v. Pontesso, 135 F.3d 1122, 1123
(6th Cir. 2003).
The “savings clause” in § 2255(e) provides a narrow exception to this rule. Under this
provision, a prisoner may challenge the legality of his conviction through a § 2241 petition if his
remedy under § 2255 “is inadequate or ineffective” to test the legality of his detention. 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e). This exception does not apply where a prisoner fails to seize an earlier
opportunity to correct a fundamental defect in his conviction under pre-existing law, or actually
asserted a claim in a prior post-conviction motion under § 2255 but was denied relief. Charles
v. Chandler, 180 F.3d 753, 756 (6th Cir. 1999). A prisoner proceeding under § 2241 can
implicate the savings clause of § 2255 if he alleges “actual innocence.” Bannerman v. Snyder,
325 F.3d 722, 724 (6th Cir. 2003). However, he or she may only pursue a claim of actual
innocence under § 2241 when that claim is “based upon a new rule of law made retroactive by
a Supreme Court case.” Townsend v. Davis, 83 F. App’x 728, 729 (6th Cir. 2003); Martin v.
Perez, 319 F.3d 799, 804 (6th Cir. 2003) (“A prisoner who can show that an intervening change
in the law establishes his actual innocence can invoke the savings clause of § 2255 and proceed
under § 2241.”). “It is the petitioner’s burden to establish that his remedy under § 2255 is
inadequate or ineffective.” Charles, 180 F.3d at 756.
Means’ argument plainly does not fit within this narrow exception. As an initial matter,
both Winston and Rettelle were decided by the Sixth Circuit, not the Supreme Court.
Additionally, Winston was decided long before both Means’ initial conviction and the date upon
which that conviction became final, as well as when he filed his initial § 2255 motion. Thus,
because any potential claim under Winston or Retelle was available to Means when he filed his
initial § 2255 motion, on January 24, 2000, he may not assert them as grounds for relief in a §
2241 petition. Cf. Turner v. Warden Coleman FCI (Medium), 709 F.3d 1328, 1334 (11th Cir.
2013); see also Charles, 180 F.3d at 756 (“[T]he § 2255 remedy is not considered inadequate
or ineffective simply because § 2255 relief has already been denied, or because the petitioner is
procedurally barred from pursuing relief under § 2255, or because the petitioner has been denied
permission to file a second or successive motion to vacate.”).
Moreover, Means’ challenge to the validity of his sentence may not proceed under
§ 2241. As indicated above, the Sixth Circuit has consistently held that the “savings clause” of
§ 2255(e) permits a petitioner to file a habeas corpus petition under § 2241 only to challenge his
or her conviction, not to challenge the sentence imposed. Hayes v. Holland, 473 F. App’x 501,
502 (6th Cir. 2012) (“[The petitioner] does not assert that he is actually innocent of his federal
offenses. Rather, he claims actual innocence of the career offender enhancement. The savings
clause of section 2255(e) does not apply to sentencing claims.”); see also United States v. Poole,
531 F.3d 263, 267 n.7 (4th Cir. 2008); Thornton v. Ives, No. 6:11-CV-35-GFVT, 2011 WL
4586917, at *3 (E.D. Ky. Sept. 29, 2011), aff’d, No. 12-5051 (6th Cir. Sept. 11, 2012)
(allegations of sentencing errors do not qualify as claims of actual innocence under the savings
clause); Johnson v. Cauley, No. 09-52-HRW (E.D. Ky. 2009), aff’d, No. 09-5991 (6th Cir. July
9, 2010). In short, Means has failed to demonstrate that he is entitled to proceed under § 2241.
Means’ Motions to Amend
Means has also filed three motions to amend his § 2241 petition to assert additional
claims. [Record Nos. 3, 4, 5] However, his proposed amendments do not provide a basis to
grant the relief he seeks pursuant to § 2241. Therefore, because it would be futile to permit
Means to amend his § 2241 petition, these motions will be denied, as moot.
In his first amended petition, Means contends that the indictment did not allege a specific
quantity of drugs, and that the jury was not specifically required to find particular drug amounts
through a special verdict. [Record No. 3, p. 2] Means argues that his sentence, therefore,
violates Apprendi because the jury was not required to find the drug quantities beyond a
reasonable doubt.3 [Record No. 3, pp. 3-5] Means has sought relief under Apprendi on a number
of prior occasions, all without success. As the Sixth Circuit noted in rebuffing Means’ most-
In Apprendi, the Supreme Court held that “[a]ny fact (other than a prior conviction) which is
necessary to support a sentence exceeding the maximum authorized by the facts established by a plea of guilty
or a jury verdict must be admitted by the defendant or proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id., 530
U.S. at 490.
recent effort to invoke Apprendi in a § 2241 petition, “[i]t is not necessary to apply [Apprendi]
retroactively because [it] was decided during the pendency of Means’s criminal appeal . . . [and]
our court has held that a challenge to a sentence based upon Apprendi cannot be the basis for an
actual innocence claim.” Means v. Castillo, No. 09-5229 (6th Cir. Feb. 16, 2010) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). In short, Means’ argument under Apprendi is without
merit, and this claim will be denied as both an abuse of the writ and as procedurally unavailable.
See Dietz v. U.S. Parole Comm’n, 260 F. App’x 763, 766 (6th Cir. 2008); Bannerman v. Snyder,
325 F. 3d 722, 723 (6th Cir. 2003).
In his second motion to amend, Means seeks relief under the Fair Sentencing Act in light
of the Sixth Circuit’s recent decision in United States v. Blewett, 719 F.3d 482 (6th Cir. 2013).
In Blewett, a divided panel of the Sixth Circuit held that the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 applied
retroactively. However, on July 11, 2013, a majority of the active judges of the Sixth Circuit
voted for rehearing of the case en banc. United States v. Blewett, Nos. 12-5226, 12-5582, 2013
U.S. App. LEXIS 15872 (6th Cir. July 11, 2013) (order granting rehearing en banc). Therefore,
the panel opinion on Blewett has been set aside and has no precedential effect. Additionally,
previous Sixth Circuit decisions hold that the provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 do
not apply to offenses committed prior to the effective date of the Act. United States v. Hammond,
712 F.3d 333, 336 (6th Cir. 2013); United States v. Carradine, 621 F.3d 575, 580 (6th Cir.
2010); see United States v. Ruff, 437 F. App'x 448, 451 (6th Cir. 2011) (unpublished). The crime
for which Means was convicted and his sentencing occurred well before the effective date of the
Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Therefore, Hammond, Carradine, and Ruff would foreclose any
retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 in this case. See United States v. Bell,
No. 12-6495, 2013 WL 4792344, at *2 (6th Cir. Sept. 10, 2013).
In his third motion to amend his petition, Means contends that the district court erred by
imposing a mandatory minimum life sentence under § 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). Specifically,
he argues that because the drug quantities were neither specifically charged in the Indictment nor
found by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, the imposition of a mandatory minimum life
sentence is contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision in Alleyne v. United States, __ U.S. __, 133
S. Ct. 2151 (2011). [Record No. 5] In Alleyne, the Supreme Court held that “[a]ny fact that, by
law, increases the penalty for a crime is an ‘element’ that must be submitted to the jury and
found beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id. at 2155. However, as this Court has noted before,
Alleyne does not apply retroactively, and does not provide a basis for relief under § 2241. United
States v. Potter, No. 7:13-7290-DCR, 2013 WL 3967960, at *3 (E. D. Ky. July 31, 2013); Luney
v. Quintana, No. 6:13-CV-3-DCR, 2013 WL 3779172, at *3 (E.D. Ky. July 18, 2013); see also
Carter v. Coakley, No. 4:13 CV 1270, 2013 WL 3365139, at *4 (N.D. Ohio July 3, 2013)
(holding that because Alleyne is a “sentencing-error case,” it “does not decriminalize the acts
which form the basis of Petitioner’s conviction,” and therefore may not serve as a basis for an
actual innocence claim to fall within the scope § 2241). Thus, Means’ Alleyne argument does
not provide him with a valid claim under § 2241 and will be denied.
Means has failed to demonstrate that he is entitled to proceed under § 2241. Additionally,
Means’ proposed motions to amend his petition are without merit, therefore, amendment would
be futile. Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED as follows:
The Clerk of the Court shall modify the docket to identify the petitioner as “Willie
Clay Means” and to identify “Clay Means” as an alias designation.
Petitioner Willie Clay Means’s 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition for a writ of habeas
corpus [Record No. 1] is DENIED.
Petitioner Willie Clay Means’ motions to amend his petition [Record Nos. 3, 4, 5]
are DENIED, as moot.
This action is DISMISSED and STRICKEN from the Court’s docket.
Judgment shall be entered contemporaneously with this Memorandum Opinion
and Order in favor of Respondent Francisco J. Quintana, Warden of FMC-Lexington.
This 21st day of October, 2013.
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