Bautista-Gunter v. Warden, USP McCreary
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: 1. The Clerk of the Court shall UNSEAL this matter, including Bautista-Gunters petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1 ]. 2. Bautista-Gunters habeas petition [R. 1] is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. 3. This action is STRICKEN from the Court's docket. 4. A corresponding judgment will be entered this date. Case unsealed.. Signed by Judge Gregory F. VanTatenhove on 6/22/17.(SYD)cc: mailed to pro se filer
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
JORDAN JERICHO BAUTISTA-GUNTER, )
Civil No. 6:17-cv-127-GFVT
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Jordan Jericho Bautista-Gunter is an inmate at the United States Penitentiary – McCreary
in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Proceeding without an attorney, Bautista-Gunter filed a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1], and he indicated on the front of the
petition that he wanted it to be “filed under seal.” [R. 1 at 1.] For the reasons set forth below,
the Court will deny Bautista-Gunter’s request to seal his petition and also deny his petition
In January 2017, Bautista-Gunter was convicted of being a prohibited person in
possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and carrying a weapon on an aircraft in
violation of 49 U.S.C. § 46505. [R. 1 at 2.] Bautista-Gunter’s criminal case is currently pending
on direct appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. See United
States v. Jordan Bautista-Gunter, No. 17-50084 (5th Cir. 2017).
Even though Bautista-Gunter’s direct appeal remains pending, he went ahead and filed
his § 2241 petition with this Court. [R. 1.] In the petition, Bautista-Gunter indicates that he was
convicted of an offense under Maryland state law and says that that offense served as the
predicate for his § 922(g) conviction. [R. 1 at 2, 7; R. 1-2 at 1-14.] Bautista-Gunter then argues
that his state conviction was unconstitutional and, therefore, so is his § 922(g) conviction. [R. 1
at 2, 7; R. 1-2 at 1-14.] Bautista-Gunter also attacks his § 46505 conviction and makes a number
of other arguments, including claiming that there was insufficient evidence against him, he
received ineffective assistance of counsel, and the government committed misconduct. [R. 1 at
6-8; R. 1-2 at 1-14.] Bautista-Gunter asks the Court to nullify his state conviction, vacate his §
922(g) conviction, and reverse his § 46505 conviction. [R. 1 at 8.] Finally, Bautista-Gunter
volunteers information about his alleged prior work history and suggests that the disclosure of
this information would put him in danger; this appears to be the reason why Bautista-Gunter
asked the Court to file his habeas petition under seal.
As an initial matter, the Court will deny Bautista-Gunter’s request to seal his petition.
That is because “[t]he courts have long recognized . . . a strong presumption in favor of openness
as to court records,” and Bautista-Gunter has not met his heavy burden to justify the nondisclosure of his petition. Shane Group, Inc. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, 825 F.3d
299, 305 (6th Cir. 2016) (citation and quotation marks omitted). After all, Bautista-Gunter
volunteered the information in question, and it appears that the information may already be
public. Indeed, there is no indication that Bautista-Gunter’s criminal case was sealed in its
entirety, see United States v. Bautista-Gunter, No. 5:16-cr-176-DAE-1 (W.D. Tex. 2016), and
Bautista-Gunter himself suggests that the information is already known and that the Bureau of
Prisons has taken steps to protect him. [R. 1-1.] Given these facts, the Court will direct the
Clerk of the Court to unseal this matter, including Bautista-Gunter’s petition.
The Court will also deny Bautista-Gunter’s habeas petition without prejudice because it is
premature at best. While Bautista-Gunter tries to attack his convictions, he must first complete
the direct appeal process and then, if necessary, file a motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
before he can even attempt to pursue remedies under § 2241. See Anzaldi v. Quintana, No. 5:14-
cv-215-KKC, 2014 WL 2742580, at *2 (E.D. Ky. 2014); Denton v. U.S. Atty. Gen., No. 6:12-cv219-DCR, 2012 WL 5450034, at *1 (E.D. Ky. 2012).
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that:
The Clerk of the Court shall UNSEAL this matter, including Bautista-Gunter’s
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [R. 1].
Bautista-Gunter’s habeas petition [R. 1] is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
This action is STRICKEN from the Court’s docket.
A corresponding judgment will be entered this date.
This the 22nd day of June, 2017.
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