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Adeyemi v. Meeks

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

February 4, 2014

SAMSON OLUMWSEUN ADEYEMI, Petitioner,
v.
BOBBY L. MEEKS, Respondent.

OPINION

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Before this Court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by federal prisoner Samson Olumwseun Adeyemi pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons that follow, the petition is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

II. Discussion

A. Relevant Background

In October of 2006, Petitioner was tried before a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for several crimes related to the robberies of two fast food restaurants located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In relevant part, at Counts 3 and 5 he was charged with using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). The jury found Petitioner guilty of both charges.

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(l)(A)(ii), the mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence is not less than 7 years "if the firearm is brandished[.]" Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(l)(C), in the case of a "second or subsequent conviction, " the mandatory minimum sentence is not less than 25 years.

On January 8, 2007, the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania sentenced Petitioner to the mandatory minimum term of 7 years' imprisonment on Count 3, and to a consecutive term of 25 years' imprisonment on Count Five.[1] At the time, the judge could decide, with respect to Petitioner's first conviction under § 924(c) (Count 3), whether Petitioner's conduct met the requirements to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years for "brandishing" a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(l)(A)(ii). Harris v. United States , 536 U.S. 545 (2002). The U.S. Supreme Court recently overruled its decision in Harris in Alleyne v. United States, ___ U.S. ___ , 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013). In Alleyne, which was decided on direct appeal, the Supreme Court extended its holding in Apprendi v. New Jersey , 530 U.S. 466 (2000), and held that, under the Sixth Amendment, any fact that increases the mandatory minimum is an "element" that must be submitted to the jury and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Alleyne , 133 S.Ct. at 2155-58.

Soon after Alleyne was decided, Petitioner, who is incarcerated within the territorial boundaries of the Western District of Pennsylvania, filed with this Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He alleges that the decision in Alleyne renders him actually innocent of the sentences imposed upon him at Counts 3 and 5. [ECF No. 4 at 6-7].[2] Respondent has filed his Answer [ECF No. 13], to which Petitioner has filed a Reply [ECF No. 14].

B. Discussion

"Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only that power authorized by Constitution and statute[.]" Cardona v. Bledsoe , 681 F.3d 533, 535 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am. , 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). "Two federal statutes, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 & 2255, confer federal jurisdiction over habeas petitions filed by federal inmates." Id . "The core' habeas corpus action is a prisoner challenging the authority of the entity detaining him to do so, usually on the ground that his predicate sentence or conviction is improper or invalid." McGee v. Martinez , 627 F.3d 933, 935 (3d Cir. 2010). That type of action is brought in the district court that tried and sentenced the prisoner by way of a motion filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which permits a federal prisoner to challenge his conviction or sentence "upon the ground that [it] was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack[.]" In contrast, § 2241 "confers habeas jurisdiction to hear the petition of a federal prisoner who is challenging not the validity but the execution of his sentence, " McGee , 627 F.3d at 935, such as, for example, the way in which the Bureau of Prisons is computing his sentence. See, e.g., Barden v. Keohane , 921 F.2d 476, 478-79 (3d Cir. 1990). A habeas corpus action pursuant to § 2241 must be brought in the custodial court - the federal district court in the district the prisoner is incarcerated - not the district court where the prisoner was tried and sentenced.

Importantly, § 2255 prohibits district courts from entertaining a § 2241 habeas corpus petition filed by a federal prisoner who is raising the types of claims that must be raised in a § 2255 motion unless it "appears that the remedy by [§ 2255 motion] is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). This provision of § 2255 is commonly referred to as the "savings clause, " "safety valve, " or "safety hatch."

Petitioner, who is imprisoned within the territorial boundaries of this Court, contends that the sentenced imposed upon him by Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania is unconstitutional. His claims are precisely the type that must be brought in a § 2255 motion before the district court that tried and sentenced him. Of course, this Court is aware that since Petitioner has already filed one § 2255 motion in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania, he cannot at the present time file a second one. That is because the 1996 amendments that the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") made to § 2255 bar a federal prisoner from filing a second or successive § 2255 motion unless the appropriate court of appeals certifies the filing contains, in relevant part, a claim based on "a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h)(2). See also 28 U.S.C. § 2244(a). Since the Supreme Court has not held that Alleyne is retroactive to cases on collateral review, the courts of appeals cannot authorize a federal prisoner to file a second or successive § 2255 motion based upon that decision. In re Payne , 733 F.3d 1027, 1029 (10th Cir. 2013) (holding that Alleyne is "a new rule of constitutional law, " but declining to authorize the petitioner to file a second or successive § 2255 motion because the Supreme Court has not made it retroactive to cases on collateral review); Simpson v. United States , 721 F.3d 875, 876 (7th Cir. 2013) (same); United States v. Redd , 735 F.3d 88, 91 (2nd Cir. 2013) (even if Alleyne did announce "a new rule of constitutional law, " the Supreme Court did not hold that it was retroactive to cases on collateral review).[3]

Thus, the question before this Court is whether the fact that Petitioner cannot raise his Alleyne claims in another § 2255 motion with the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania makes the § 2255 remedy "inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention[, ]" 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e), thereby allowing him to utilize § 2241. It is Petitioner's burden to establish that the remedy under § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective. See, e.g., Charles v. ...


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