Thornton-Bey v. Oddo
MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry) re: 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by DeJuan B. Thornton-Bey. (See memo for complete details.) Signed by Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner on 10/17/17. (ki)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
DEJUAN B. THORNTON-BEY,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:17-CV-1392
(Chief Judge Conner)
Presently before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1), filed by petitioner DeJuan B. Thornton-Bey (“ThorntonBey”), a federal inmate confined at the United States Penitentiary, Allenwood,
Pennsylvania. Preliminary review of the petition has been undertaken, see R.
GOVERNING § 2254 CASES R.4 (directing prompt examination of the petition and
dismissal if it plainly appears that the petitioner is not entitled to relief)1, and, for
the reasons set forth below, the petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
Following a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Thornton-Bey was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a
felon, possession with intent to distribute a schedule I controlled substance in a
public housing authority facility, and using and carrying a firearm in relation to a
drug trafficking crime. (Doc. 1, at 14, 19-20). He was sentenced to a total of 387
These rules are applicable to petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the
discretion of the court. See R. GOVERNING § 2254 CASES R.1(b).
months’ imprisonment, and ordered to pay a special assessment of $300.00 and a
fine of $3,000.00, due immediately. (Id. at 17-20).
In the habeas petition, Thornton-Bey challenges the legality of the judgment
and commitment order issued by the Northern District of Illinois. (Doc. 1, at 6).
Specifically, he contends that the judgment and commitment order is invalid
because it was not signed by a judge on the date of the imposition of sentence, was
not entered on the docket, and does not bear the court’s seal. (Id. at 8-9). As a
result of this alleged fraudulent judgment and commitment order, Thornton-Bey
claims that he is unlawfully detained and requests that the court order respondent
to “send [him] back” to the Northern District of Illinois. (Doc. 1-1, at 9).
Challenges to the legality of federal convictions or sentences that are
allegedly in violation of the Constitution may generally be brought only in the
district of sentencing pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Okereke v. United States, 307
F.3d 117 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing Davis v. United States 417 U.S. 333, 342 (1974)); see In
re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245 (3d Cir. 1997). Once relief is sought via section 2255, an
individual is prohibited from filing a second or subsequent 2255 petition unless the
request for relief is based on “newly discovered evidence” or a “new rule of
constitutional law.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Further, such claims may not be raised in a § 2241 petition except in unusual
situations where the remedy by motion under § 2255 would be inadequate or
ineffective. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255; see Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251-52. The burden is
on the habeas petitioner to allege or demonstrate inadequacy or ineffectiveness.
See Application of Galante, 437 F.2d 1164, 1165 (3d Cir. 1971). Importantly, § 2255 is
not “inadequate or ineffective” merely because the sentencing court has previously
denied relief. See Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251. Nor do legislative limitations, such as
statutes of limitation or gatekeeping provisions, placed on § 2255 proceedings
render the remedy inadequate or ineffective so as to authorize pursuit of a habeas
corpus petition in this court. Cradle v. United States, 290 F.3d 536, 539 (3d Cir.
2002); United States v. Brooks, 230 F.3d 643, 647 (3d Cir. 2000); Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d
at 251. If a petitioner improperly challenges a federal conviction or sentence under
§ 2241, the petition must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Application of
Galante, 437 F.2d at 1165.
Thornton-Bey’s present claims fall within the purview of § 2255. Indeed, he
is currently pursuing a § 2255 motion in the Northern District of Illinois and has
raised the same claim regarding the alleged fraudulent judgment and commitment
order. See United States v. Thornton-Bey, Civil No. 1:16-cv-5532 (N.D. Ill. 2016) at
(Docs. 28, 45). Thornton-Bey offers no explanation or reasoning as to why his
pending § 2255 motion is inadequate or ineffective. In fact, nothing in the petition
speaks to a claim of inadequacy or ineffectiveness, as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
The remedy afforded under § 2241 is not an additional, alternative, or supplemental
remedy to that prescribed under § 2255. Thornton-Bey’s recourse lies with a
motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the sentencing court. Consequently, the
instant petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
A separate order shall issue.
/S/ CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
United States District Court
Middle District of Pennsylvania
October 17, 2017
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