Arias v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM OPINION dismissing this Petition as frivolous. FURTHER, to the extent the Petition can be construed as a § 2255 Motion, it shall be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. A Final Judgment in accordance with this Memorandum Opinion shall be issued. Signed by District Judge Carlton W. Reeves on 3/21/2014. (JS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
RAMIRO ARIAS, #24027-069
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:14-cv-245-CWR-LRA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
This matter is before the Court, sua sponte, for consideration of dismissal. Petitioner Ramiro
Arias, an inmate presently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex in Yazoo City,
Mississippi, filed this pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Arias is
challenging his federal conviction and sentence. Upon review of the Petition , along with the
applicable case law, the Court has reached the following conclusions.
On January 11, 2005, Arias pled guilty to and was convicted of one count of aiding and
abetting with intent to distribute narcotics and one count of conspiracy to import 1,000 kilograms
or more of marijuana, in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. See United
States v. Arias, No. 3:04-cr-9 (D. P.R. Jan. 11, 2005). Arias states that he was sentenced as a career
offender to serve 262 months imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. His
conviction and sentence was affirmed by the First Circuit. See U.S. v. Arias, No. 05-2041 (1st Cir.
2006). His motion to vacate his conviction and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, was denied
by the sentencing court on June 3, 2008. See Arias v. U.S., 3:07-cv-1174 (D. P.R. June 3, 2008).
Arias claims that he is entitled to habeas relief because the sentencing court violated his
constitutional rights when he was designated a “career offender” under § 4B1.1 of the sentencing
guidelines. He argues that without the career offender designation he “would have been sentenced
to a term of 135 to 168 months.” Pet.  at 10. Arias also states that he was provided ineffective
assistance of counsel, apparently because his attorney filed an appellate brief pursuant to Anders v.
California, 386 U.S. 738 (1987). As relief, Arias is requesting re-sentencing “absent the application
[of] U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1.” Id. at 11.
A federal inmate may attack the manner in which his sentence is being carried out or the
prison authorities’ determination of its duration in a habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, filed in the same district where the prisoner is incarcerated. See Pack v. Yusuff, 218 F.3d
448, 451 (5th Cir. 2000). By contrast, a federal inmate’s challenge to the validity of his conviction
or sentence should be pursued in a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, filed in the sentencing
court. Ojo v. INS, 106 F.3d 680, 683 (5th Cir.1997).
Arias’s claims clearly challenge the validity of his sentence, and therefore are not properly
pursued in a § 2241 petition. Pack, 218 F.3d at 452. However, pursuant to a limited exception,
referred to as the “savings clause,” a federal court may consider a § 2241 petition that challenges a
federally imposed sentence when the petitioner establishes that the remedy under
§ 2255 is inadequate or ineffective. Reyes-Requena v. United States, 243 F.3d 893, 901 (5th Cir.
2001). In Reyes-Requena, the Fifth Circuit set forth a two-part test to determine if a claim meets the
stringent “inadequate or ineffective” requirement entitling the inmate to proceed under the savings
clause. 243 F.3d at 904. To satisfy the test, an inmate “must show that (1) his claims are based on
a retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision which establishes that he may have been convicted
of a nonexistent offense, and (2) his claims were foreclosed by circuit law at the time when the
claims should have been raised in his trial, appeal, or first § 2255 motion.” Wesson v. U.S.
Penitentiary, 305 F.3d 343, 347 (5th Cir. 2002) (citing Reyes-Requena v. U.S., 243 F.3d at 904).
Arias clearly attacks the validity of his conviction and sentence in the instant case, therefore,
he cannot pursue these claims in a § 2241 petition unless he can demonstrate that he is entitled to
relief under the savings clause. At best, Arias contends that he meets the requirements to proceed
under the savings clause because he is “actually innocent of his sentence enhancement”, i.e., he is
not a career offender, because “the facts supporting the enhancement were not alleged in the
indictment.” Pet.  at 8, 10. It appears Arias is attempting to rely on the United States Supreme
Court decision of United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), as support for his actual innocence
claim. See id.
However, the Fifth Circuit has consistently found that sentence enhancement claims fail to
satisfy the requirements of the savings clause. Bradford v. Tamez, 660 F.3d 226, 230 (5th Cir.
2011); Padilla v. United States, 416 F.3d 424, 427 (5th Cir. 2005); Kinder v. Purdy, 22 F.3d 209,
213-14 (5th Cir. 2000). Since “a claim of actual innocence of a career offender enhancement is not
a claim of actual innocence of the crime of conviction” it “fails the first prong of the Reyes-Requena
test.” Bradford, 660 F.3d at 230. Moreover, Arias’s reliance on United States v. Booker does not
assist his cause because the holding in Booker is not retroactively applicable to cases on collateral
review. Padilla, 416 F.3d at 427. The Court concludes that Arias’s claims do not rely on a
retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision which establishes that he may have been convicted
of a nonexistent offense, thus, he fails the first prong of the Reyes-Requena test and he cannot
proceed with his claims under the savings clause.
Since Arias’s claims challenge the validity of his sentence and his claims do not meet the
stringent requirements of the savings clause, he will not be allowed to proceed with this action for
habeas corpus relief pursuant to § 2241. Accordingly, this Petition for habeas relief shall be
dismissed as frivolous. See Ojo, 106 F.3d at 683 (finding inmate’s § 2241 petition asserting claims
properly pursued under § 2255 to be “thoroughly frivolous”). Further, to the extent the Petition can
be construed as a § 2255 motion it shall be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Pack, 218 F.3d at 454.
A Final Judgment in accordance with this Memorandum Opinion shall be issued.
SO ORDERED, this the 21st day of March, 2014.
s/Carlton W. Reeves
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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