Saunders v. LaManna

Filing 14

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS recommending 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Edward Harold Saunders, Jr, be Dismissed without prejudice and without requiring the respondents to file a return. It is also recommended that petitioner's 5 MOTION for Order to Show Cause, be Denied as moot. Objections to R&R due by 12/19/2008. Signed by Magistrate Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks on 12/2/08. (kmca)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA Edward Howard Saunders, Jr., #11022-058, a/k/a Edward H. Saunders, Jr., Petitioner, vs. John J. Lamanna, Warden, Respondent. __________________________________________ ) C/A No.: 8:08-3333-GRA-BHH ) ) ) ) Report and Recommendation ) ) ) ) ) BACKGROUND OF THIS CASE The petitioner is a federal inmate at FCI-Edgefield which is located in the state of South Carolina. He is serving a life term for violating sections of the United States Code. Petitioner was convicted and sentenced for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The conviction and sentence were upheld on direct appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. See United States v. Walker, 66 F.3d 318(4th Cir.1995)(table). The petitioner alleges he filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 which was denied, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision. Petitioner states he then filed a "petition for relief" to present newly discovered evidence, available to, but not presented by prior counsel, under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(3)(A), and in light of the decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). According to the petitioner, the newly discovered evidence claim was not addressed on the merits. Petitioner now files this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1 2241 alleging he is actually innocent. He also claims that any procedural default must be waived in order to avoid a fundamental miscarriage of justice. He maintains his counsel was ineffective for failing to conduct an investigation and for failing to call witnesses. He also alleges he was denied a fair trial in violation of due process of law. DISCUSSION Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se petition to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), and other habeas corpus statutes. The review has been conducted in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 112 S.Ct. 1728 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Correction, 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995)(en banc), cert. denied, Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Correction, 516 U.S. 1177 (1996); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); and Boyce v. Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979)(recognizing the district court's authority to conduct an initial screening of a pro se filing).1 Pro se complaints and petitions are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, Leeke v. Gordon, 439 U.S. 970 (1978), and a federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint or petition filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. See Hughes Boyce has been held by some authorities to have been abrogated in part, on other grounds, by Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989)(insofar as Neitzke establishes that a complaint that fails to state a claim, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), does not by definition merit sua sponte dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) [formerly 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)], as "frivolous"). 2 1 v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9-10 & n. 7 (1980)(per curiam); and Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972). When a federal court is evaluating a pro se complaint, petition, or pleading, the plaintiff's or petitioner's allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of New York, 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2nd Cir. 1975). However, even under this less stringent standard, the § 2241 petition, which raises claims under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, is subject to summary dismissal. The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Department of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990). Additionally, the mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the petitioner could prevail, it should do so, but a district court may not rewrite a petition or pleading to include claims that were never presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999), or construct the petitioner's legal arguments for him, Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-418 (7th Cir. 1993), or "conjure up questions never squarely presented" to the court. See Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1088 (1986). "If the petition be frivolous or patently absurd on its face, entry of dismissal may be made on the court's own motion without even the necessity of requiring a responsive pleading from the government." Raines v. United States, 423 F.2d 526, 529 (4th Cir. 1970). Prior to enactment of 28 U.S.C. § 2255, the only way a federal prisoner could collaterally attack a federal conviction was through a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Triestman v. United States, 124 F.3d 361, 373 (2nd Cir. 1997). In 1948, Congress enacted § 2255 primarily to serve as a more efficient and 3 convenient substitute for the traditional habeas corpus remedy. See In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249 (3rd Cir. 1997)(collecting cases). "[A] prisoner who challenges his federal conviction or sentence cannot use the federal habeas corpus statute at all but instead must proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255." Waletzki v. Keohane, 13 F.3d 1079, 1080, (7th Cir.1994). Since the petitioner is seeking relief from his conviction and sentence, the relief requested by the petitioner in the abovecaptioned matter is available, if at all, under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See United States v. Morehead, 2000 WESTLAW® 1788398 (N.D.Ill., December 4, 2000): Notwithstanding Bennett captioning this pleading under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(2), this court must construe it as a motion attacking his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Regardless of how a defendant captions a pleading, "any post-judgment motion in a criminal proceedings that fits the description of § 2255 ¶ 1 is a motion under § 2255...." United States v. Evans, 224 F.3d 670, 672 (7th Cir. 2000). In the pleading at bar, Bennett argues that the court did not have jurisdiction over his criminal case, which is one of the bases for relief under § 2255 ¶ 1. Therefore, this court must construe this motion as a § 2255 motion. United States v. Morehead, supra. Congress enacted § 2255 "because pertinent court records and witnesses were located in the sentencing district (and it was) impractical to require these petitions to be filed in the district of confinement". Dumornay v. United States, 25 F.3d 1056 (Table), 1994 WL 170752 (10th Cir. 1994). Thus, "the remedy provided by 2255 was intended to be as broad as that provided by the habeas corpus remedy". Dumornay, supra, citing United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979). Since relief granted pursuant to § 2255 "is as broad as that of habeas corpus `it supplants habeas corpus, unless it is shown to be inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of the prisoner's detention'". Dumornay, supra, citing Williams v. United States, 323 F.2d 672, 673 (10th Cir. 1963), cert. denied, 377 U.S. 4 980 (1964). The petitioner appears to rely, in part, on Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 2362-2363 (2000): * * * Other than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. With that exception, we endorse the statement of the rule set forth in the concurring opinions in that case: "[I]t is unconstitutional for a legislature to remove from the jury the assessment of facts that increase the prescribed range of penalties to which a criminal defendant is exposed. It is equally clear that such facts must be established by proof beyond a reasonable doubt." Apprendi v. New Jersey, supra. The United States Supreme Court did not hold that its decision in Apprendi is retroactive. Thus, petitioner's case would be controlled by In Re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 11941198 (4th Cir. 1997)(en banc). In that matter, the Fourth Circuit determined that the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Bailey v. United States, 516 U.S. 137, 116 S. Ct. 501, 133 L.Ed.2d 472 (1995) did not establish "a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court" within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In reaching this conclusion, the Fourth Circuit noted that "...the Bailey Court clearly considered itself to be engaged in statutory construction...". Vial @ 1195. The Fourth Circuit stated that "the decision of the Supreme Court in Bailey did not announce a new rule of constitutional law and accordingly may not form the basis for a second or successive motion to vacate sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255." Vial @ 1195. In addition, the Fourth Circuit held that Bailey, supra, had not been made "retroactive to cases on collateral review". Citing § 2255, the Fourth Circuit stated that any other reading of the statute would be "contrary to the plain language of the AEDPA". The Court 5 concluded that: a new rule of constitutional law has been `made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court' within the meaning of § 2255 only when the Supreme Court declares the collateral availability of the rule in question, either by explicitly so stating or by applying the rule in a collateral proceeding. Because the Supreme Court has done neither with respect to the rule announced in Bailey, Vial would not be entitled to file a successive § 2255 motion based on Bailey even if it contained a rule of constitutional law.2 Vial @ 1196. Furthermore, the Court in Vial, supra, made clear that the inability to file a second or successive petition was not a suspension of the writ. The Fourth Circuit said: Vial's constitutional argument is foreclosed by the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, ---- - ----, 116 S. Ct. 2333, 2339-40, 135 L.Ed.2d 827 (1996). In Felker, the Supreme Court determined that the provisions of the AEDPA limiting second and successive habeas corpus petitions by persons convicted in state courts does not constitute a suspension of the writ. See id. Rather, the Court stated that the limitations imposed by the AEDPA were simply an illustration of the longstanding principle that "the power to award the writ by any of the courts of the United States, must be given by written law.'" Id. at ----, 116 S. Ct. at 2340 (quoting Ex Parte Bollman, 8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 75, 94, 2 L.Ed. 554 (1807)). The limitations on habeas corpus relief from state-court judgements of conviction contained in the AEDPA, the Court reasoned, amounted to an entirely proper exercise of Congress' judgement regarding the proper scope of the writ [FN 11] and fell "well within the compass of [the] evolutionary process" surrounding the doctrine of abuse of the writ. Id. We 2 The statute of limitations does not begin to run until "the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review." 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Accordingly, the Fourth Circuit takes the position that as long as the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the collateral availability of a rule, the limitations period does not begin to run. 6 conclude that the reasoning of the Court with respect to limitations on second or successive habeas petitions pursuant to §2254 applies with equal force to the identical language in §2255. Accordingly, the limitations imposed on a second and successive §2255 motions by the AEDPA do not constitute a suspension of the writ. Vial @ 1197-98 citing Felker, supra. In footnote 11 the of the Vial decision the Fourth Circuit noted: In reaching this conclusion, the Court "assume[d]...that the Suspension Clause of the Constitution refers to the writ as it exists today, rather than as it existed in 1789." Felker, 518 U.S. at ----, 116 S.Ct. At 2340. Although we need not address this issue, we note that the Seventh Circuit has reasoned persuasively that the right to collateral review of state-court judgements of courts possessing jurisdiction is statutory, not constitutional, in nature and thus may be restricted as Congress sees fit. See Lindh v. Murphy, 96 F.3d 856, 867-68 (7th Cir. 1996) (en banc) ("Any suggestion that the Suspension Clause forbids every contraction of the powers bestowed by congress in 1885, and expanded by the 1948 and 1966 amendments to §2254 is untenable. The Suspension Clause is not a ratchet."), cert. granted, 519 U.S. 1074, 117 S.Ct. 726, 136 L.Ed.2d 643 (1997). Vial @ 1198 FN 11. The same result would apply then, where one, such as the petitioner, seeks to attack collaterally his conviction and sentence under Apprendi and other cases. As earlier stated, the Supreme Court of the United States in Apprendi did not address the retroactivity issue. Thus, as in Vial, that opinion is not properly raised in a collateral attack by a prisoner, such as the petitioner, whose conviction was final when Apprendi was decided. The petitioner's attention is directed to the decisions of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in United States v. Sanders, 247 F.3d 139 (4th Cir. 2001); and San-Miguel v. Dove, 291 F.3d 257 (4th Cir. 2002), both of which raised claims under 7 Apprendi. In Sanders, the Court of Appeals held that the rule in Apprendi is not applicable to cases on collateral review. In San-Miguel, the Court of Appeals upheld this court's summary dismissal of a § 2241 action raising Apprendi claims. Collateral review in federal court includes habeas corpus actions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, 28 U.S.C. § 2241, and 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In summary then, Congress saw fit to limit the availability of Section 2255 petitions, and the United States Supreme Court determined in Felker that Congress was within its right to do so under the AEDPA. To determine that Congress limited the availability of Section 2255 on the one hand, but intended to allow petitioners the availability of the Writ under Section 2241 on the other hand, would clearly be contrary to the purpose of the AEDPA. In any event, even if the petitioner could avail himself of Section 2241, the petition would be dismissed because the petitioner has not exhausted his administrative remedies. With respect to his conviction, a remedy under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 could be sought only after the petitioner has exhausted his administrative remedies. See 28 C.F.R. §§ 542.10 through 542.16; See also Martinez v. Roberts, 804 F.2d 570, 571 (9th Cir. 1986)(federal prisoners are required to exhaust their federal administrative remedies prior to bringing a petition for habeas corpus relief in federal court). In the instant case, the petitioner has not established, or even alleged, that he has exhausted his administrative remedies. Accordingly, the petition would be summarily dismissed in any event, without prejudice, so the petitioner could exhaust his administrative remedies. Additionally, the petitioner does not set forth any set of facts which could be construed to show that a second or successive § 2255 motion would be inadequate or 8 ineffective. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals set forth the test to determine if a §2255 motion would be inadequate or ineffective in In re Jones, 226 F.3d 328, 333-34 (4th Cir.2000). The Court held that a petitioner must show that "(1) at the time of the conviction, settled law of this circuit or the Supreme Court established the legality of the conviction; (2) subsequent to the prisoner's direct appeal and first §2255 motion, the substantive law changed such that the conduct of which the prisoner was convicted is deemed not to be criminal; and (3) the prisoner cannot satisfy the gatekeeping provisions of § 2255 because the new rule is not one of constitutional law." Jones, supra @ 333-334. Petitioner has not set forth any set of facts which could be construed to meet the prongs announced in Jones. As a result, this court does not have jurisdiction to entertain the petitioner's writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Finally, Petitioner's statement that he is actually innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted and sentenced is without merit because, by petitioner's own admission, these claims have already been presented to the Court. Cognizable claims of "actual innocence" are extremely rare and must be based on "factual innocence not mere legal insufficiency." Bousley v. United States, 523 U.S. 614, 623 (1998). Prisoners such as petitioner often assert "actual innocence" rather than, or in addition to, "inadequacy and ineffectiveness of remedy" in situations like the present, i.e., where a direct appeal is unsuccessful (or the time for appeal has expired) and an initial section 2255 motion or section 2254 petition is also unsuccessful, but the petitioner wishes to file a second or successive writ to raise a "new" issue, or where he or she has committed a procedural default precluding one or more available remedies. In such cases, there is some authority for the proposition that if the petitioner cannot establish cause and prejudice for his or her 9 failure to raised the issues previously, he or she can still possibly obtain review of his or her additional constitutional claims by showing that his or her case "falls within a narrow class of cases implicating a fundamental miscarriage of justice. Proving `actual innocence' is a way to demonstrate that one's case falls within that narrow class." Cornell v. Nix, 119 F.3d 1329, 1333 (8th Cir. 1997). In the present case, petitioner alleges there is new, reliable evidence that was not presented in any of his prior court proceedings which supports his innocence of the charge. To present a credible claim of actual innocence, petitioner must "support his allegations of constitutional error with new reliable evidence--whether it be exculpatory scientific evidence, trustworthy eyewitness accounts, or critical physical evidence--that was not presented at trial." See Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 324 (1995). Petitioner, however, has already raised claims of actual innocence in a case filed in the Western District of North Carolina. In that matter, the court construed his motion for relief from judgment based on newly-discovered evidence as a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence, and they denied it as successive. Petitioner appealed, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a certificate of appealability was not warranted, and that petitioner would not be authorized to file a successive motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. This court, then, has no duty to "grind the same corn a second time." See Aloe Creme Laboratories, Inc. v. Francine Co., 425 F.2d 1295, 1296 (5th Cir. 1970). Since the petitioner has not established that he has exhausted his administrative remedies, and has not demonstrated that he is actually innocent of the charges for which he was convicted and sentenced, this matter must be dismissed. 10 RECOMMENDATION Accordingly, it is recommended that the § 2241 petition in the above-captioned case be dismissed without prejudice and without requiring the respondents to file a return. See Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir.)(federal district courts have duty to screen habeas corpus petitions and eliminate burden placed on respondents caused by ordering an unnecessary answer or return), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 906 (1970); Baker v. Marshall, 1995 U.S.Dist. LEXIS® 4614, *2-*3 (N.D.Cal., March 31, 1995)("The District Court may enter an order for the summary dismissal of a habeas petition if it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in this Court."); and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. It is also recommended that petitioner's motion asking the court to order the respondent to show cause why a writ of habeas corpus should not issue be denied as moot. December 2, 2008 Greenville, South Carolina The petitioner's attention is directed to the important notice on the next page. 11 Notice of Right to File Objections to Report and Recommendation The parties are advised that they may file specific written objections to this Report and Recommendation with the District Court Judge. Objections must specifically identify the portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections are made and the basis for such objections. In the absence of a timely filed objection, a district court judge need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must "only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310 (4th Cir. 2005). Specific written objections must be filed within ten (10) days of the date of service of this Report and Recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). The time calculation of this ten-day period excludes weekends and holidays and provides for an additional three (3) days for filing by mail. Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a) & (e). Filing by mail pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5 may be accomplished by mailing objections to: Larry W. Propes, Clerk United States District Court P.O. Box 835 Charleston, South Carolina 29402 Failure to timely file specific written objections to this Report and Recommendation will result in waiver of the right to appeal from a judgment of the District Court based upon such Recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91 (4th Cir. 1984); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841 (4th Cir. 1985). 12

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