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Martin v. Ebbert

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

October 27, 2014

ADAM E. MARTIN, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN EBBERT, Respondent.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

KAROLINE MEHALCHICK, Magistrate Judge.

On June 30, 2014, the Court received and filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus submitted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, signed and dated by the Petitioner on June 25, 2014. (Doc. 1). At the time of filing, the Petitioner was incarcerated at USP Canaan, located in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

The Petitioner challenges his November 15, 2004, conviction and sentence in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas for multiple counts of bank robbery. United States v. Martin, Case No. 1:03-cr-00250 (W.D. Tex.). The petition alleges that the prosecution unconstitutionally failed to disclose certain exculpatory evidence, including DNA and fingerprint evidence, that might have exonerated him at trial. The Petitioner previously challenged his conviction and sentence in a January 31, 2006, motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which was denied by the sentencing court on May 24, 2006. Id.

Under § 2241, a federal prisoner may challenge the execution of his sentence - such as a claim concerning the denial or revocation of parole, or the loss of good-time credits - in the district court for the federal judicial district where the prisoner is in custody. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a); Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 443-44 (2004); Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001). To challenge the validity of his sentence, however, a federal prisoner must instead file a § 2255 motion in the sentencing court, "a court already familiar with the facts of the case." See Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 774-75 (2008); see also Swain v. Pressley, 430 U.S. 372, 378 (1977) ("[Section] 2255 created a new postconviction remedy in the sentencing court and provided that a habeas corpus petition may not be entertained elsewhere."); Brown v. Mendez, 167 F.Supp.2d 723, 726 (M.D. Pa. 2001) ("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.") (quoting Strollo v. Alldredge, 463 F.2d 1194, 1195 (3d Cir. 1972) (per curiam)). "Only if it is shown that a § 2255 motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of... detention, ' may a federal inmate resort to § 2241 to challenge the validity of the conviction or sentence." Brown, 167 F.Supp.2d at 726; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e); Litterio v. Parker, 369 F.2d 395, 395 (3d Cir. 1966) (per curiam) ("It is firmly established that the remedy available to a federal prisoner under 2255 is exclusive in the absence of a showing that such remedy is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of (the prisoner's) detention.'").

In the instant petition, the Petitioner challenges the imposition of his sentence, not its execution. To proceed under § 2241, he must demonstrate that a § 2255 motion "is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). He cannot meet this burden by showing that a prior § 2255 motion was denied by the sentencing court. Litterio, 369 F.2d at 395; Brown, 167 F.Supp.2d at 726. Nor is a § 2255 motion "inadequate or ineffective" merely because he is unable to meet the requirements of § 2244 and § 2255(h), which require the Petitioner to obtain pre-authorization from the appropriate United States Court of Appeals before filing a second or subsequent § 2255 motion in the sentencing court. See Brown, 167 F.Supp.2d at 726-27. The Petitioner cannot avoid the statutory limitations imposed on successive § 2255 motions merely by styling his claims as a § 2241 petition instead. Brown, 167 F.Supp.2d at 727 (citing Moore v. Reno, 185 F.3d 1054, 1055 (9th Cir. 1999)).

Based on the foregoing, it is recommended that the petition (Doc. 1) be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to the Petitioner's right to file a § 2255 motion in the sentencing court, subject to the pre-authorization requirements of 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244 and 2255(h), as they may apply.


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