Gallon v. Spaulding
MEMORANDUM OPINION (Order to follow as separate docket entry) re 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Michael Gallon. Signed by Honorable Matthew W. Brann on 1/6/2021. (lg)
Case 4:20-cv-01964-MWB-EBC Document 8 Filed 01/06/21 Page 1 of 6
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
JANUARY 6, 2021
Petitioner Michael Gallon (“Petitioner” or “Gallon”), a federal prisoner
formerly incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg, filed the
instant petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on October 26, 2020.1 He
supplemented the petition on December 7, 2020.2 Gallon challenges his May 29,
2014 sentence imposed in criminal case 8:13-cr-626-T-23 AEP in the United States
District Court for the Middle District of Florida – Tampa Division.3
For the reasons that follow, the petition will be summarily dismissed.
Doc. 1, p. 1.
Case 4:20-cv-01964-MWB-EBC Document 8 Filed 01/06/21 Page 2 of 6
PRELIMINARY REVIEW STANDARD
Habeas corpus petitions are subject to summary dismissal pursuant to Rule 4
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.4
The provisions of Rule 4, which are applicable to § 2241 petitions under Rule 1(b),
provides in pertinent part: “If it plainly appears from the petition and any attached
exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge
must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner.” A petition
may be dismissed without review of an answer “when the petition is frivolous, or
obviously lacking in merit, or where . . . the necessary facts can be determined
from the petition itself. . . .”5
On February 5, 2014, Gallon entered knowledgeable and voluntary pleas of
guilty to sex trafficking of a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a)(1), (a)(2),
(b)(1), (b)(2), and 2, and distribution of child pornography in violation of 18
U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1).6 On May 29, 2014, the court sentenced him to ‘a
term of four hundred five (405) months, consisting of concurrent terms of four
hundred five (405) months as to count one and two hundred forty (240) months as
28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 (2004).
Gorko v. Holt, Civ. No. 4:05-CV-956, 2005 WL 1138479 *1 (M.D. Pa. May 13, 2005)
(McClure, J.)(quoting Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970) ).
See electronic docket, M.D.FL., Tampa Division, Case 8:13-cr-00626-SDM-AEP, Docs. 2830, 35, 42.
Case 4:20-cv-01964-MWB-EBC Document 8 Filed 01/06/21 Page 3 of 6
to count two.”7
On January 20, 2015, he filed a motion to vacate sentence under 28 U.S.C. §
2255, which the district court denied on December 7, 2015.8 Although he appealed
to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the Eleventh Circuit
dismissed the appeal for want of prosecution on June 24, 2016.9 Approximately
thirty months later, he moved to reopen the case.10 The sentencing court denied the
motion.11 Gallon appealed. On July 2, 2019, the Eleventh Circuit again dismissed
the appeal for want of prosecution.12
Prior to filing the instant petition, Gallon unsuccessfully moved to reduce his
sentence, petitioned for release to home confinement, and sought compassionate
In the instant petition, Gallon seeks relief on the grounds that he is actually
and factually innocent, that his sentence is unconstitutional or illegal, that he
involuntarily entered a guilty plea, and that he suffered procedural due process
violations associated with his waiver of indictment and the lack of grand jury
Id. at Docs. 41, 42.
Id. at Docs. 43, 44.
See electronic docket, M.D.FL., Tampa Division, Case 8:15-cv-00110-SDM-AEP, Docs. 6, 8.
Id. at Doc. 9.
Id. at Doc. 10.
Id. at Docs. 13, 18.
See electronic docket, M.D.FL., Tampa Division, Case 8:13-cr-00626-SDM-AEP, Docs. 45,
48, 61, 62, 66, 67.
Id. at Docs. 1, 7.
Case 4:20-cv-01964-MWB-EBC Document 8 Filed 01/06/21 Page 4 of 6
When challenging the validity of a federal sentence and not its execution, a
federal prisoner is generally limited to seeking relief by way of a motion pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.15 A federal prisoner must file a § 2255 motion in the
sentencing court, “a court already familiar with the facts of the case.”16 A
challenge can only be brought under § 2241 if “it ... appears that the remedy by [a
§ 2255] motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.”17
This language in § 2255, known as the safety-valve clause, must be strictly
construed.18 Significantly, “[i]t is the inefficacy of the remedy, not the personal
inability to use it, that is determinative.”19 “Section 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 the amended § 2255.”20
In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249 (3d Cir. 1997); Russell v. Martinez, 325 F. App’x.
45, 47 (3d Cir. 2009)(“a section 2255 motion filed in the sentencing court is the presumptive
means for a federal prisoner to challenge the validity of a conviction or sentence”).
See Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 774-75 (2008); Russell v. Martinez, 325 F. App’x 45,
47 (3d Cir. 2009) (noting that “a section 2255 motion filed in the sentencing court is the
presumptive means for a federal prisoner to challenge the validity of a conviction or
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e).
Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251; Russell, 325 F. App’x. at 47 (stating the safety valve “is
extremely narrow and has been held to apply in unusual situations, such as those in which a
prisoner has had no prior opportunity to challenge his conviction for a crime later deemed to
be non-criminal by an intervening change in the law”).
Cradle v. United States, 290 F.3d 536, 538 (3d Cir. 2002).
Id. at 539.
Case 4:20-cv-01964-MWB-EBC Document 8 Filed 01/06/21 Page 5 of 6
Our Circuit permits access to § 2241 when two conditions are satisfied:
First, a prisoner must assert a “claim of ‘actual innocence’ on the theory
that ‘he is being detained for conduct that has subsequently been
rendered non-criminal by an intervening Supreme Court decision and
our own precedent construing an intervening Supreme Court
decision”—in other words, when there is a change in statutory caselaw
that applies retroactively in cases on collateral review. Tyler, 732 F.3d
at 246 (quoting Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 252). And second, the prisoner
must be “otherwise barred from challenging the legality of the
conviction under § 2255.” Id. Stated differently, the prisoner has “had
no earlier opportunity to challenge his conviction for a crime that an
intervening change in substantive law may negate.” Dorsainvil, 119
F.3d at 251. It matters not whether the prisoner’s claim was viable
under circuit precedent as it existed at the time of his direct appeal and
initial § 2255 motion. What matters is that the prisoner has had no
earlier opportunity to test the legality of his detention since the
intervening Supreme Court decision issued.”21
Gallon 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 the legality of his
detention. Gallon has failed to meet this burden. He has not alleged actual
innocence based on a change in statutory interpretation by the Supreme Court,
made retroactive in cases on collateral review. And his claim is 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. Because Gallon fails to meet
his burden of demonstrating that § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective the challenge
Bruce v. Warden Lewisburg USP, 868 F.3d 170, 180 (3d Cir. 2017).
Case 4:20-cv-01964-MWB-EBC Document 8 Filed 01/06/21 Page 6 of 6
the legality of his detention, the § 2241 petition will be dismissed for lack of
Based on the foregoing, the petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The dismissal is
without prejudice to Gallon’s right to seek authorization from the appropriate court
of appeals to file a second or successive § 2255 motion.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Matthew W. Brann
Matthew W. Brann
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?