Sanchez-Angeles v. Baltazar
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Jose F. Sanchez-Angeles. Signed by Judge Andrew W. Austin. (ml)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
WARDEN J. BALTAZAR
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
THE HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Before the Court is Jose F. Sanchez-Angeles’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus brought
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Dkt. No. 1). The District Court referred the above-case to the
undersigned Magistrate Judge for a determination pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b) and Rule 1(c) of
Appendix C of the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas,
Local Rules for the Assignment of Duties to United States Magistrate Judges.
I. GENERAL BACKGROUND
On February 17, 2004, in the Western District of Texas Petitioner Jose F. Sanchez-Angeles
pled guilty to a five-count indictment charging him with: (1) conspiring to smuggle, transport, and
harbor illegal aliens in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324; (2) harboring illegal aliens in violation of 8
U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii); (3) providing a firearm to an illegal alien in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(d)(5)(A); (4) conspiring to use a firearm during a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c); and (5) conspiring to take one or more hostages in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1203. On
April 22, 2004, he was sentenced to 120 months of imprisonment for Counts 1–3, 240 months of
imprisonment for Count 4, and life imprisonment for Count 5 (all to run concurrently), followed by
three years supervised release on Counts 1–4, and five years supervised release on Count 5, to run
concurrently. Sanchez appealed his sentence, which was affirmed on July 27, 2005. On June 21,
2006, Sanchez filed a motion to vacate the sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which the court denied
on the merits. See United States v. Sanchez-Angeles, No. 1:03-CR-309-LY, Dkt. No. 55 (W.D. Tex.
July 3, 2007). Sanchez then filed a second motion to vacate on November 2, 2009, but this was
dismissed as successive. On May 19, 2017, Sanchez filed a Motion for Modification of Sentence
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582, which the Court construed as a Motion to Vacate and also dismissed
as successive. Finally, Sanchez filed the instant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under § 2241.
In the instant § 2241 Petition, Sanchez argues that he is actually innocent of (1) his
conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and (2) his conviction under 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1). Because
Sanchez is attacking errors that occurred at or prior to his sentencing, his claims are outside the scope
of a § 2241 petition. “28 U.S.C. § 2255, not § 2241, is the proper means of attacking errors that
occurred during or before sentencing.” Ojo v. INS, 106 F.3d 680, 683 (5th Cir. 1997). In contrast,
§ 2241 is used by prisoners to attack the manner in which a sentence is carried out or the prison
authorities’ determination of its duration. Pack v. Yusuff, 218 F.3d 448, 451 (5th Cir. 2000). A
§ 2241 petition that seeks to challenge the validity of a federal sentence must either be dismissed or
construed as a § 2255 motion. Id. at 452. Lopez filed three previous § 2255 motions, and as such
his § 2241 petition should be dismissed. Lopez, No. 1:11-CR-360(5)-SS, Dkt. No. 820.
The Court may nevertheless address Sanchez’s claims through the so called “savings clause”
provision of § 2255 if Lopez can demonstrate that § 2255 otherwise provides him with an
“inadequate” or “ineffective” remedy. Benson, 511 F.3d at 487. A petitioner seeking relief under
the § 2255 savings clause must demonstrate three things: (1) his claim is based on a retroactively
applicable Supreme Court decision; (2) the Supreme Court decision establishes that he was “actually
innocent” of the charges against him because the decision decriminalized the conduct for which he
was convicted; and (3) his claim would have been foreclosed by existing circuit precedent had he
raised it at trial, on direct appeal, or in his original § 2255 petition. Reyes-Requena v. United States,
243 F.3d 893, 904 (5th Cir. 2001). “[T]he core idea is that the petitioner may have been imprisoned
for conduct that was not prohibited by law.” Id. at 903. The petitioner bears the burden of
demonstrating that “the remedy by motion [under § 2255] is inadequate or ineffective to test the
legality of his detention.” § 2255(e); see also Pack, 218 F.3d at 452.
However, this Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain Lopez’s petition. “Only the
custodial court has the jurisdiction to determine whether a petitioner’s claims are properly brought
under § 2241 via the savings clause of § 2255.” Padilla v. United States, 416 F.3d 424, 426 (5th Cir.
2005) (citing Hooker v. Sivley, 187 F.3d 680, 682 (5th Cir. 1999). As Lopez is currently incarcerated
in United States Penitentiary, Canaan in Waymart, Pennsylvania, only the Middle District of
Pennsylvania would have jurisdiction to entertain this petition. See 21 U.S.C. § 118. It should
therefore be dismissed.
The undersigned RECOMMENDS that the District Court DISMISS Jose SanchezAngeles’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Dkt. No. 1) for
lack of jurisdiction.
The parties may file objections to this Report and Recommendation. A party filing
objections must specifically identify those findings or recommendations to which objections are
being made. The District Court need not consider frivolous, conclusive, or general objections. See
Battle v. United States Parole Comm'n, 834 F.2d 419, 421 (5th Cir. 1987). A party’s failure to file
written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations contained in this Report within
fourteen (14) days after the party is served with a copy of the Report shall bar that party from de novo
review by the District Court of the proposed findings and recommendations in the Report and, except
upon grounds of plain error, shall bar the party from appellate review of unobjected-to proposed
factual findings and legal conclusions accepted by the District Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C);
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150-53, (1985); Douglass v. United Servs. Auto. Ass’n, 79 F.3d 1415,
1428-29 (5th Cir. 1996) (en banc).
To the extent that a party has not been served by the Clerk with this Report &
Recommendation electronically, the Clerk is directed to mail such party a copy of this Report and
Recommendation by certified mail, return receipt requested.
SIGNED this 22nd day of August, 2017.
ANDREW W. AUSTIN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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