The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas I. Vanaskie, Chief United States District Judge.
On April 30, 2001, Charles Brown, an inmate confined at the Allenwood
United States Penitentiary, White Deer, Pennsylvania ("USP-Allenwood"),
brought this habeas corpus proceeding pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to
challenge the validity of a life sentence imposed on December 8, 1994 by
the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Brown contends that his sentence is invalid under Apprendi v. New
Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), because the jury was not delegated the
authority to decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether he was responsible
for the distribution of at least 50 grams of cocaine base, the threshold
amount upon which to premise a maximum prison term of life. Because Brown
has failed to show that the procedure established by Congress in
28 U.S.C. § 2255 for asserting a collateral challenge to the validity
of a sentence imposed by a federal court is inadequate or ineffective in
the circumstances presented here, his § 2241 habeas corpus petition
will be dismissed.
On January 27, 1994, a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida
returned a one-count indictment against Brown, charging him with unlawful
distribution of "a mixture and substance containing a detectible amount
of cocaine, in the form of cocaine base, in violation of Title 21, United
States Code, Section 841(a)(1)."*fn1 The indictment did not charge a
specific amount of cocaine base attributable to Brown's
narcotic-trafficking activities. Following a jury verdict of guilty on
the indictment, Brown was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment.
According to Brown, this sentence was based upon the sentencing court's
determination that Brown was responsible for the distribution of at least
50 grams of cocaine base.*fn2
Brown's conviction and sentence were affirmed on his direct appeal in
an unpublished opinion. United States v. Brown, 100 F.3d 970 (11th Cir.
1996). The Supreme Court denied Brown's petition for a writ of certiorari
on February 18, 1997. 519 U.S. 1140 (1997).
On November 26, 1996, Brown moved for a modification of his sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. That motion was denied.
On September 18, 1997, Brown filed a motion to "correct sentence
pursuant to recent decision rendered by the Eleventh Circuit." On July
20, 1998, he moved to correct his sentence pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2).*fn3 The motions were considered collectively
by the trial court as a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and
denied by Order dated May 30, 2000.
Brown then filed an application with the Eleventh Circuit, requesting
leave to file a second or successive § 2255 motion to raise the
(1) The government's failure to prove drug amount to
the jury beyond a reasonable doubt violated due
process; (2) the district court was without
jurisdiction to sentence Brown pursuant to
21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) due to deficiencies in
the indictment; (3) Brown's prior state drug
convictions were used improperly by the sentencing
court to enhance his sentence; and (4) the
government's failure to allege drug amount in the
indictment and prove that amount to the jury beyond a
reasonable doubt violated Brown's equal protection
Brown's claims were based upon Apprendi. By Order filed on March 26,
2001, the Eleventh Circuit denied the application for leave to file a
second or successive § 2255 motion, finding that Brown had failed to
make the requisite showing that Apprendi established "`a new rule of
constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the
On April 30, 2001, Brown turned to this Court for relief by filing a
petition under § 2241. Brown's § 2241 petition asserts the
identical claims presented to the Eleventh Circuit in his application for
leave to file a successive § 2255 motion. By Order entered May 31,
2001, the respondent was directed to answer the habeas corpus petition.
The respondent timely answered the petition on June 20, 2001, and Brown
filed a traverse on July 5, 2001. This matter is ripe for disposition.
Indeed, "the usual avenue for federal prisoners seeking to challenge
the legality of their confinement" is a § 2255 motion in the
sentencing court.*fn6 In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249 (3d Cir.
1997). As a general rule, a § 2255 motion "supersedes habeas corpus
and provides the exclusive remedy" to one in custody pursuant to a
federal court conviction. Strollo v. Alldredge, 463 F.2d 1194, 1195 (3d
Cir.), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1046 (1972). "Section 2241 `is not an
additional, alternative or supplemental remedy to 28 U.S.C. § ...