Smith v. Terris
OPINION and ORDER dismissing 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Signed by District Judge George Caram Steeh. (MBea)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
DEMOND DESHON SMITH,
Case Number: 2:17-CV-10992
HON. GEORGE CARAM STEEH
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING
PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
Petitioner Demond Deshon Smith, a federal inmate presently incarcerated at the
Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan, has filed a pro se petition for a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He challenges his federal sentencing
enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act, and asks that his sentence be
Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 cases, provides that the Court shall
promptly examine a petition to determine “if it plainly appears from the face of the
petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” If the Court
determines that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the court shall summarily dismiss
the petition. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (“Federal courts are
authorized to dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on
its face”). The Rules Governing Section 2254 cases may be applied at the discretion of
the district court judge to petitions not filed under § 2254. See Rule 1(b), Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases. After undertaking a Rule 4 review of the petition, the
Court concludes that the claims asserted by Smith are not properly filed under § 2241.
II. Procedural History
Smith pleaded guilty in this Court to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g). See United States v. Smith, No. 2:12-cr-20103. On
April 11, 2013, he was sentenced to 144 months in prison. (ECF No. 50). The Sixth
Circuit dismissed Smith’s appeal as untimely. (ECF No. 62). Smith filed a motion to
vacate sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which the Court denied. (ECF No. 84). The
Court also denied Smith’s Motion to Amend/Correct under Rule 59(e). (ECF No. 87).
The Sixth Circuit denied Smith’s application for a certificate of appealability. (ECF No.
94). Over ten months after the district court denied Smith’s § 2255 motion, Smith sought
to amend his § 2255 motion to assert a claim based upon the Supreme Court’s decision in
Mathis v. United States, — U.S. —, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016). The Court construed the
request as a second request for relief under § 2255 and transferred the matter to the Sixth
Circuit Court of Appeals for a determination whether to authorize the filing of a second §
2255 motion. (ECF No. 97). On March 13, 2017, the Sixth Circuit dismissed the request
to file a second application for habeas relief for want of prosecution. (ECF No. 99).
One week after the Sixth Circuit dismissed the application for permission to file a
second § 2255 motion, Smith filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus under
28 U.S.C. § 2241. He raises the same claim raised in his request to file a second § 2255
motion, that the Supreme Court’s decision in Mathis invalidates his sentencing
enhancement. Petitioner asserts that his remedy under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is inadequate or
ineffective and that he is actually innocent of the sentence enhancement.
Smith brings this action as a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The proper
avenue for relief on a federal prisoner’s claim that his conviction and sentence were
imposed in violation of the federal constitution or federal law is a motion to vacate or
correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. United States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461
(6th Cir. 2001). A federal prisoner may bring a claim challenging his conviction or the
imposition of sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 only if it appears that the remedy afforded
under section 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.
Charles v. Chandler, 180 F.3d 753, 756 (6th Cir.1999). Habeas corpus is not an
“additional, alternative, or supplemental remedy” to the motion to vacate, set aside, or
correct the sentence. Id. at 758. Smith challenges the imposition of his sentence, and
therefore his claims are properly filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, unless he can show
that a motion under § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective.
The circumstances under which § 2255 might be deemed “inadequate” are narrow,
as the “liberal allowance” of the writ under § 2241 would defeat the restrictions placed on
successive petitions or motions for collateral relief imposed by 28 U.S.C. § 2244. United
States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001). The petitioner bears the burden of
showing that a § 2255 remedy is inadequate. In re Gregory, 181 F.3d 713, 714 (6th Cir.
1999). Smith sought permission to file a second § 2255 motion raising the same claim
raised in the instant petition. The Sixth Circuit notified Smith that his application was
defective for failing to satisfy the requirements of Sixth Circuit Rule 22, and allowed him
30 days to correct the error. When Smith failed to correct the deficiency, the action was
dismissed. In re: Demond Deshon Smith, No. 17-1121 (6th Cir. March 13, 2017).
Smith’s lack of success in gaining authorization to file a second § 2255 motion, does not
render the remedy under § 2255 inadequate or ineffective. Charles, 180 F.3d at 756. The
Court, therefore, will dismiss the petition.
The Court concludes that it plainly appears from the face of the petition that
Petitioner is not entitled to habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, because the
petition is not properly filed under § 2241. Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES the
petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Dated: May 16, 2017
s/George Caram Steeh
GEORGE CARAM STEEH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
Copies of this Order were served upon Demond Smith 46678-039,
FCI Milan, P.O. Box 1000, Milan, MI 48160 on
May 16, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
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