United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
Antonio Baldwin, an inmate at the United States Penitentiary
in Canaan, Pennsylvania, has filed a pro se petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The
petition challenges his 2000 conviction and sentence in the
United States District Court for the Western District of
Michigan. Baldwin argues, in part, that his sentence was
improperly enhanced under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(ACCA), relying on the United States Supreme Court decision
in Johnson v. United States, __ U.S.__, 135 S.Ct.
2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015), which was made retroactive to
cases on collateral review by Welch v. United
States, __U.S.__, 136 S.Ct. 1257, 194 L.Ed.2d 387
(2016). He also seeks appointment of counsel. (ECF No. 3,
Mot. for Counsel).
the Government filed its response (ECF No. 13), Baldwin filed
a motion (ECF No. 14) to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2255, to be considered as an amendment to his 2241 petition.
He acknowledges he previously filed a 2255 motion in the
sentencing court, but “because other courts have
demonstrated prejudice and bias against him” he asks us
to adjudicate the 2255 motion. (Id., p. 3, ¶
reasons that follow, the petition and the 2255 motion must be
construed as a motion under § 2255 and therefore may
only be considered by the sentencing court. However, as
Baldwin already filed a 2255 motion in that court, we cannot
transfer this matter to the sentencing court because it would
be barred as a second or successive 2255 motion. Nonetheless,
given the United States Supreme Court's grant of
certiorari in Beckles v. United States,
__U.S.__, 136 S.Ct. 2510, 195 L.Ed.2d 838 (2016), we will
transfer the petition and motion to the Sixth Circuit so that
they can be considered by that Court as an application to
file a second or successive § 2255 motion in light of
the forthcoming decision in Beckles.
Petitioner's motion for counsel will be denied as moot.
Background and Procedural History
August 1999, Baldwin was indicted on four federal charges,
including one count of armed bank robbery in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d) (Count One) and one count of
brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) (Count Four). (ECF No.
1, p. 21-22). In December 1999, Baldwin entered a guilty plea
to counts one and four. In May 2000, he was sentenced to 188
months (fifteen years eight months) of imprisonment on Count
1, and the mandatory minimum of eighty-four months seven
years) on Count Four. (Id., pp. 13-14). In
accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(D)(ii), the terms
were ordered to be served consecutively. (Id., p.
14). Baldwin appealed, but the Sixth Circuit affirmed the
March 14, 2005, Baldwin filed in the sentencing court a
§ 2255 motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence.
It challenged the enhancement of his offense level for being
an armed career criminal. On April 7, 2005, the court denied
the motion as being time-barred and without merit. Baldwin
did not appeal that decision. Baldwin v. United
States, 1:05-cv-190 (W.D. Mich.)(slip op.) (ECF No. 3,
filed Apr. 7, 2005).
28, 2010, Baldwin filed a pro se motion for modification of
sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). On May 2,
2011, Baldwin filed a second pro se motion to reduce his
sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). Neither
motion was successful.
present § 2241 petition, Baldwin argues his plea and
appellate counsel rendered ineffective assistance for
allowing him to be sentenced under the ACCA. (ECF No. 1, p.
9). He also argues that the United States Supreme Court's
decision in Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S.___,
___, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2553, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015), which
struck down the residual clause of the ACCA on vagueness
grounds, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), undermines the validity of
his 2000 sentence for armed bank robbery (18 U.S.C. §
2113(a) and (d)) and brandishing a firearm during and in
relation to a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A)(ii)). (Id., p. 6).
motion to vacate sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255
is the means to collaterally challenge a federal conviction
or sentence, ” Massey v. United States, 581
F.3d 172, 174 (3d Cir. 2009), and must be presented to the
court that imposed the sentence. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(a)(providing that a defendant “may move the
court which imposed the sentence”). When challenging
the validity rather than the execution of a federal sentence,
a federal prisoner must do so through a § 2255 motion.
See In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245 (3d Cir.1997).
The statute provides that federal prisoners like Petitioner,
who have already filed a § 2255 motion, may file a
“second or successive motion” provided that
“a panel of the appropriate court of appeals” has
certified that the motion contains “newly discovered
evidence that, if proven and viewed in light of the evidence
as a whole, would be sufficient to establish by clear and
convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have
found the movant guilty of the offense” or “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); 28 U.S.C.
limited exception, § 2255 does not permit prisoners to
challenge the validity of their conviction or sentence
through a § 2241 habeas petition. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(e). Where a federal prisoner improperly
challenges their federal conviction or sentence under §
2241, the district court must typically dismiss the petition
for lack of jurisdiction. Cradle v. United States ex rel.
Miner, 290 F.3d 536, 539 (3d Cir. 2002).
highly exceptional circumstances, the “safety
valve” or “savings clause” found in 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e) will permit a prisoner to challenge the
validity of his conviction in a habeas corpus proceeding
under § 2241, but only where the remedy afforded by
§ 2255(a) “is inadequate or ineffective” to
test the legality of his detention. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e);
Abed v. Bledsoe, 473 F. App'x 106, 107-108 (3d
Cir. 2012)(nonprecedential); Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at
249-51. For a § 2241 petition to be appropriate, the
inadequacy or ineffectiveness of a § 2255 motion must be
“a limitation of scope or procedure [that] would
prevent a § 2255 proceeding from affording [the
petitioner] a full hearing and adjudication of his wrongful
detention claim.” Okereke v. United States,
307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing Cradle, 290
F.3d at 538). “It is the inefficacy of the remedy, not
the personal inability to use it, that is
determinative.” Cradle 290 F.3d at 538-39. A
§ 2255 motion is not “inadequate or
ineffective” merely because the prisoner's time to
file a § 2255 motion has ...