United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER [Resolving ECF Nos. 1,
Y. Pearson United States District Judge
se petitioner Janeiro Burgess, confined at FCI Elkton,
filed the above-captioned habeas corpus action under 28
U.S.C. § 2241 challenging the sentence imposed upon him
in the United States District Court, Eastern District of
North Carolina, No. 7:12-CR-19-FL-1 (“Criminal
Case”). ECF No. 1. For the reasons that
follow, this case is dismissed.
February 2012, Burgess was indicted on drug related offenses
in the Criminal Case. In May 16, 2012, he pleaded guilty to
one count of violating 21 U.S.C. §
841(a) and the Government dismissed the remaining
counts. Burgess was sentenced on October 25, 2012. See
Burgess v. United States, No. 7:12-CR-19-FL-1, 2015 WL
11234132, at *1 (E.D. N.C. July 16, 2015).
moved the sentencing court to vacate his sentence pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255 challenging, among other issues, his
sentence enhancement. In that case, the Government's
motion to dismiss was granted, Burgess' motion to vacate
was denied, and the district court's dismissal was
affirmed by the Fourth Circuit. Id. at *10,
dismissed, 628 Fed.Appx. 190 (4th Cir. 2016).
failed to successfully challenge his sentencing enhancement
under § 2255, Burgess filed a § 2241 petition in
the Northern District of Ohio (No. 4:17-cv-1349), the
district that has jurisdiction over his place of confinement.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a). That petition was also
unsuccessful. The district court dismissed Burgess'
petition on the ground that the sentencing issues he raised
should have been raised in a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, and he failed to set forth a valid basis upon
which to raise his sentencing enhancement issues under §
2241. Burgess v. Merlak, No. 4:17 CV 1349, 2017 WL
4699493, at *2 (N.D. Ohio Oct. 19, 2017). Burgess appealed,
and the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court's
dismissal of the petition, finding that Burgess' reliance
on the Sixth Circuit case in Hill v. Masters, 836
F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2016) was misplaced because he was
sentenced in 2012 after the sentencing guidelines became
advisory pursuant to United States v. Booker, 543
U.S. 220 (2005). See Burgess v. Merlak, No. 17-4147,
2018 WL 5778364, at *1 (6th Cir. June 22, 2018) (citing
Pittman v. Quintana, No. 16-6857, 2017 WL 6759113,
at *2 (6th Cir. Sept. 18, 2017)).
case, Burgess brings another § 2241 challenge
to his enhanced sentence in the Criminal Case, relying upon
the Sixth Circuit's interpretation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(b)(1)(A) in United States v. Winston, 37 F.3d
235 (6th Cir. 1994). ECF No. 1-1 at PageID #: 10. This §
2241 petition fails for the same reason as the first.
Standard of Review
Court conducts an initial review of habeas corpus petitions.
28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. Bureau of
Prisons, 419 Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).
“[I]f it plainly appears from the petition and any
attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief[, ]” the petition will be denied. Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases (applicable to § 2241
petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b)). As with all pro se
filings, the Court evaluates Burgess' petition under a
more lenient standard than pleadings prepared by an attorney.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007);
Urbina v. Thomas, 270 F.3d 292, 295 (6th Cir. 2001).
corpus petitions brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
challenge the execution of a sentence, while motions brought
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the court where a
federal prisoner was convicted and sentenced challenge the
validity of the conviction and sentence. See Capaldi v.
Pontesso, 135 F.3d 1122, 1123 (6th Cir. 1998).
Generally, a habeas corpus petition pursuant to §
2241 may not be used to challenge the validity of a
conviction or sentence because “[t]he remedy afforded
under § 2241 is not an additional, alternative or
supplemental remedy to that prescribed under §
2255.” Hernandez v. Lamanna, 16 Fed.Appx. 317,
320 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Charles v Chandler, 180
F.3d 753, 756-58 (6th Cir. 1999)).
§ 2255(e) contains a “savings clause” which
provides a narrow exception to this prohibition if the remedy
afforded by § 2255 is “inadequate or
ineffective” to challenge the legality of the
prisoner's detention. It is petitioner's burden to
establish that the savings clause applies to his petition.
Hill, 836 F.3d at 594 (citing United States v.
Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001)). Section
2255 is not inadequate or ineffective merely because a §
2255 motion has been previously denied or is procedurally
barred. Id.(citing Charles, 180 F.3d at 756
(“[T]he § 2255 remedy is not considered inadequate
or ineffective simply because § 2255 relief has already
been denied, or because the petitioner is procedurally barred
from pursuing relief under § 2255, or because the
petition has been denied permission to file a second or
successive motion to vacate.”) (internal citations
petition for a writ of habeas corpus under § 2241 must
be filed in the district court that has jurisdiction over a
prisoner's place of confinement. 28 U.S.C. §
2241(a). “As a result, habeas corpus proceedings may
occur in a court of confinement that is different from the
court of conviction.” Martin v. Perez, 319
F.3d 799, 803 (6th Cir. 2003).
considering a § 2241 petition from a prisoner convicted
in a different circuit, courts apply the procedural law from
the circuit where the petition is filed, and the substantive
law of the circuit in which the prisoner was convicted and
sentenced. Burgess, 2018 WL 5778364, at *1 (applying
Sixth Circuit's savings clause test in Hill to
Burgess' § 2241 challenge to his enhanced sentence
imposed in the Eastern District of North Carolina); see
also Bender v. Carter, No. 5:12CV165, 2013 WL 5636745,
at *3 (N.D. W.Va. Oct. 15, 2013) (denying motion for
reconsideration of the court's application of the Fourth
Circuit's procedural rule as to savings clause test
because the petitioner was confined in the Fourth Circuit,
before considering the substantive law of the Sixth Circuit
(where petitioner was convicted) regarding actual innocence)
(citing Eames v. Jones, 7 ...