Woodley v. Warden of USP-Allenwood
MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry). Signed by Honorable Christopher C. Conner on 9/19/2022. (mw)
Case 1:22-cv-00613-CCC-CA Document 12 Filed 09/19/22 Page 1 of 7
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ANTONIO D. WOODLEY,
WARDEN OF USP ALLENWOOD,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:22-CV-613
Petitioner Antonio D. Woodley (“Woodley”) filed the instant petition for writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging his conviction and
sentence entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Georgia. (Doc. 1). For the reasons set forth below, the court will dismiss the
petition for lack of jurisdiction.
Factual Background & Procedural History
On September 27, 2010, a jury convicted Woodley of conspiracy to distribute
cocaine and unlawful use of a telephone to facilitate a felony drug distribution
conspiracy. United States v. Woodley, No. 4:08-CR-315, Doc. 1255 (S.D. Ga.). On
January 24, 2011, he was sentenced to a 210-month term of imprisonment. Id., Doc.
1299. Subsequently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
affirmed Woodley’s judgment of conviction. United States v. Woodley, 484 F. App’x
310 (11th Cir. 2012).
On July 5, 2013, Woodley filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his
sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Woodley, No. 4:08-CR-315, Doc. 1451. The
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sentencing court denied the § 2255 motion and found that a certificate of
appealability should not issue. Id., Docs. 1457, 1470, 1471; Woodley v. United States,
2013 WL 6119239 (S.D. Ga.). Specifically, the sentencing court found that the
following claims raised by Woodley failed on their face: the indictment was fatally
deficient, appellate counsel was ineffective, and abuse of discretion by the
sentencing judge. Woodley, 2013 WL 6119239, at *2. The sentencing court then
considered Woodley’s claim that the sentencing court improperly sentenced him as
being responsible for more than 500 grams of cocaine when the jury found him
responsible for less than 500 grams of cocaine. Id. The court explained that while
the jury convicted Woodley of a conspiracy offense involving less than 500 grams of
cocaine hydrochloride, his Presentence Investigation (“PSI”) found that the offense
involved at least 500 grams but less than two kilograms. Id. at *3. The judge
adopted the PSI’s findings and sentenced Woodley on the basis of more than 500
Woodley then filed a motion for writ of error audita querela pursuant to 18
U.S.C. § 1651, wherein he requested that the court vacate his sentence. Woodley,
No. 4:08-CR-315, Doc. 1491. On October 14, 2015, the sentencing court denied the
motion and found that Woodley’s claim alleging his special assessments violated
double jeopardy lacked merit. Id., Doc. 1558.
On January 21, 2011, the sentencing court considered a sua sponte motion
under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) to determine whether Woodley was entitled to a
sentence reduction “based on a guideline sentencing range that has subsequently
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been lowered and made retroactive by the United States Sentencing Commission
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 994(u).” Id., Doc. 1547. The sentencing court ultimately
denied the motion after considering the policy statement set forth in USSG § 1B1.10
and the sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). Id.
On June 24, 2016, Woodley filed a second § 2255 motion. Id., Doc. 1573. The
sentencing court dismissed the motion as successive and found that Woodley was
not entitled to a certificate of appealability. Id., Docs. 1574, 1594. The court also
noted that the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals repeatedly denied Woodley’s
requests to file a second or successive petition. Id., Doc. 1594 (citing In re: Woodley,
No. 16-13774 (11th Cir. June 29, 2016); In re: Woodley, No. 16-14188 (11th Cir. July
In June of 2017, Woodley again sought authorization from the Eleventh
Circuit Court of Appeals to file a successive § 2255 motion based on the United
States Supreme Court decision in Mathis v. United States, 579 U.S. 500 (2016), and
based on his claim that he was assessed a $100 fee for each of his three convictions,
in violation of the prohibition against double jeopardy. Woodley, No. 4:08-CR-315,
Doc. 1609; In re: Woodley, No. 17-12875 (11th Cir. July 10, 2017). On July 10, 2017,
the Eleventh Circuit denied Woodley’s application for leave to file a second or
successive § 2255 motion. Id.
On March 2, 2020, Woodley filed a motion for sentence reduction under § 404
of the First Step Act, which the sentencing court denied. Woodley, No. 4:08-CR-315,
Docs. 1683, 1701.
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Woodley filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241, setting forth the following claims: (1) the sentencing court imposed
special assessment fees in violation of the prohibition against double jeopardy; (2)
he is entitled to a sentence reduction based on a 2014 amendment to the United
States Sentencing Guidelines for non-violent drug offenders; (3) he is entitled to a
sentence reduction pursuant to § 404(a) of the First Step Act; (4) the sentencing
court improperly sentenced him as a career offender; and (5) the sentencing court
improperly sentenced him as being responsible for more than 500 grams of cocaine
when the jury found him responsible for less than 500 grams of cocaine. (Doc. 1).
For relief, Woodley requests that the court vacate his sentence and immediately
release him from custody. (Id. at 11). In response, respondent argues that the
petition must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. 9). The petition is ripe for
Federal prisoners seeking post-conviction relief from their judgment of
conviction, or the sentence imposed, are generally required to bring their collateral
challenges pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). The Third Circuit
Court of Appeals has observed that “[m]otions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are the
presumptive means by which federal prisoners can challenge their convictions or
sentences that are allegedly in violation of the Constitution.” Okereke v. United
States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333,
343 (1974)). Section 2255(e) specifically prohibits federal courts from entertaining a
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federal prisoner’s collateral challenge by an application for habeas corpus unless
the court finds that a § 2255 motion is “inadequate or ineffective.” Okereke, 307
F.3d at 120 (citing In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251 (3d Cir. 1997); 28 U.S.C. §
2255(e)). A § 2255 motion is “inadequate or ineffective,” which permits a petitioner
to pursue a § 2241 petition, “only where the petitioner demonstrates that some
limitation of scope or procedure would prevent a § 2255 proceeding from affording
him a full hearing and adjudication of his wrongful detention claim.” Cradle v. U.S.
ex rel. Miner, 290 F.3d 536, 538 (3d Cir. 2002) (per curiam). Significantly, § 2255 “is
not inadequate or ineffective merely because the sentencing court does not grant
relief, the one-year statute of limitations has expired, or the petitioner is unable to
meet the stringent gatekeeping requirements of . . . § 2255.” Id. at 539. “It is the
inefficacy of the [§ 2255] remedy, not the personal inability to utilize it, that is
determinative.” Id. at 538.
In Dorsainvil, the Third Circuit held that the remedy under § 2255 is
“inadequate or ineffective,” permitting resort to § 2241, where a prisoner who
previously filed a § 2255 motion on other grounds “had no earlier opportunity to
challenge his conviction for a crime that an intervening change in substantive law
may negate.” 119 F.3d at 251.
Woodley’s present claims fall within the purview of § 2255 because they
challenge the validity of his sentence. He has unsuccessfully sought relief in the
sentencing court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Thus, he can only bring a challenge
under § 2241 if it appears that the § 2255 remedy is inadequate or ineffective to test
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the legality of his detention. Woodley has failed to meet this burden. He has
previously raised his present claims with the sentencing court, and his claims are
not premised on any intervening change in substantive law that would negate the
criminal nature of his conduct so that his conviction is no longer valid. Woodley
cannot seek further relief in this court simply because his § 2255 motions were
unsuccessful. Moreover, the denial of a second or successive petition does not make
§ 2255 relief inadequate or ineffective. See Cradle, 290 F.3d at 539 (stating that a
petitioner “cannot contend that § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to protect him,
even if he cannot prevail under it”); Long v. Fairton, 611 F. App’x 53, 55 (3d Cir.
2015) (“Critically, § 2255 is not inadequate or ineffective merely because the
petitioner cannot satisfy § 2255’s timeliness or other gatekeeping requirements.”);
Levan v. Sneizek, 325 F. App’x 55, 56-57 (3d Cir. 2009) (denial of motion for leave to
file a second or successive § 2255 motion does not render the motion inadequate or
ineffective). 1 The remedy afforded under § 2241 is not an additional, alternative, or
supplemental remedy to that prescribed under § 2255. Because Woodley failed to
meet his burden of demonstrating that § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to the
challenge the legality of his detention, the § 2241 petition is subject to dismissal.
The court acknowledges that nonprecedential decisions are not binding
upon federal district courts. Citations to nonprecedential decisions reflect that the
court has carefully considered and is persuaded by the panel’s ratio decidendi.
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We will dismiss the petition for writ of habeas corpus for lack of jurisdiction.
An appropriate order shall issue.
/S/ CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER
Christopher C. Conner
United States District Judge
Middle District of Pennsylvania
September 19, 2022
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