Wright v. Merlak
Opinion and Order. Petition is denied and this action is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243 and Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases. The Court further certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. Judge Christopher A. Boyko on 11/14/2017. (H,CM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
WILLIAM ANDREW WRIGHT,
CASE NO. 4: 17 CV 2097
JUDGE CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO, J.:
Pro se Petitioner William Andrew Wright has filed a “Motion for Relief Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241,” seeking relief from his federal sentence. (Doc. No. 1.) The matter is before the
Court for initial screening. See 28 U.S.C. §2243; Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419 F.
App’x 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011). Pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in
the United States District Courts (made applicable to Section 2241 petitions under Rule 1(b)), the
Court must dismiss the Petition “if it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that
the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” See also Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970)
(the district court has “a duty to screen out a habeas corpus petition which should be dismissed for
lack of merit on its face.”).
For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that the Petition must be summarily dismissed.
Petitioner asserts he was sentenced before the United States District Court for the District
of Maryland on March 7, 2007, to a term of 180 months imprisonment. His conviction was based
on a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. His sentence
in part reflected the District Court’s determination that he qualified as an Armed Career Criminal
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), based on prior drug convictions in the State of Maryland.
Petitioner did not file a direct appeal. In July 2015, he filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside,
or Correct his Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, asserting that his counsel was ineffective and that
his armed career criminal sentence enhancement was invalid in light of Descamps v. United States,
133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013). The District Court denied this Motion on June 8, 2017.
Petitioner now seeks relief from his enhanced sentence under § 2241.
If a federal prisoner wishes to challenge the legality of his conviction or sentence, he must
do so by filing a motion for post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Capaldi v. Pontesso,
135 F.3d 1122, 1123 (6th Cir. 2003). A habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is only
“appropriate for claims challenging the execution or manner in which the sentence is served,” such
as claims challenging computation of sentence credits or determining terms of parole. United States
v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001); Terrell v. United States, 564 F.3d 442, 447 (6th Cir.
2009). Section 2255 contains a limited “savings clause,” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e), that allows a prisoner
to bring a § 2241 claim challenging the legality of his conviction or sentence in the extraordinarily
narrow circumstances where a prisoner can show that the remedy afforded under § 2255 is
“inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” In re Hanserd, 123 F.3d 922, 929
(6th Cir. 1997). The Sixth Circuit has regularly indicated that the narrow scope of relief under the
savings clause does not apply to sentencing claims. See Jones v. Castillo, 489 F. App’x 864, 866,
2012 WL 2947933, at *1 (6th Cir. 2012) ( “[c]laims alleging “actual innocence” of a sentencing
enhancement cannot be raised under § 2241”); see also Reminsky v. U.S., 523 F. App’x 327, 329
(6th Cir. 2013) (“The savings clause of § 2255(e) does not apply to sentencing claims.”).
Recently, the Sixth Circuit held that a prisoner may raise a sentence-enhancement claim in
a § 2241 petition in very limited circumstances. See Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2016).
The Hill Court expressly defined those circumstances as
a narrow subset of § 2241 petitions: (1) prisoners who were sentenced under the
mandatory guidelines regime pre-United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 125 S. Ct.
738, 160 L.Ed. 621 (2005), (2) who are foreclosed from filing a successive petition
under § 2255, and (3) when a subsequent, retroactive change in statutory
interpretation by the Supreme Court reveals that a previous conviction is not a
predicate offense for a career-offender enhancement.
Id. at 599-600.
The circumstances articulated in Hill do not apply here. Petitioner was not sentenced under
the mandatory guidelines regime pre-United States v. Booker. He was sentenced in 2007, after
Booker was decided. Further, Petitioner has not identified a new law that the Supreme Court has
held applies retroactively to invalidate his sentence on collateral review and that he would be
foreclosed from raising in a successive motion under § 2255.
For the reasons stated above, the Petition is denied and this action is dismissed pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2243 and Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases. The Court further
certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken
in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: November 14, 2017
s/ Christopher A. Boyko
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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