United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
Jones, Jr., has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas
corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Jones claims that, in
light of the holding in Johnson v. United States,
__U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015), declaring
the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)
unconstitutionally vague, his sentencing enhancements under
the ACCA must be vacated. (ECF No. 1, Pet.).
Petition is before the court for preliminary review.
See Rules 1(b) and 4 of the rules governing cases
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Because Jones cannot meet the
threshold required for relief under the savings clause of 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e), he may not proceed under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. His Petition will be dismissed for lack of
petition filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is reserved for
challenges to actions taken by prison officials that affect
the manner in which the prisoner's sentence is being
carried out, such as computing sentence credits or
determining parole eligibility and is filed in the federal
court of the judicial district where the prisoner is
incarcerated. Woodall v. Federal Bureau of Prisons,
432 F.3d 235, 241 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Coady v.
Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001)). “A
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”).
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);
Gardner v. Warden Lewisburg USP, 845 F.3d 99 (2017);
In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249-51 (1997). The
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has held
that a § 2255 motion is inadequate or ineffective
“only where the petitioner demonstrates that some
limitation of scope or procedure would prevent a § 2255
proceeding from affording him a full hearing and adjudication
on his wrongful detention claim.” Cradle v. United
States, 290 F.3d 536, 538 (3d Cir. 2002). “Section
2255 is not inadequate or ineffective merely because the
sentencing court does not grant relief, the one-year statute
of limitations has expired, or the petitioner is unable to
meet the stringent gatekeeping requirements of the amended
§ 2255.” Id. at 539.
Third Circuit has only applied this “safety
valve” in the rare situations where a prisoner has had
no prior opportunity to challenge his conviction for actions
deemed to be non-criminal by an intervening change in law.
Okereke, 307 F.3d at 120 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing
In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251). A § 2255
motion is inadequate “when a petitioner asserts a claim
of ‘actual innocence' on the theory that ‘he
is being detained for conduct that has subsequently been
rendered non-criminal by an intervening Supreme Court
decision'. . . but is otherwise barred from challenging
the legality of the conviction under § 2255.”
United States v. Tyler, 732 F.3d 241, 246 (3d Cir.
2013) (quoting Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 252); see
also Gardner, 845 F.3d at 103.
December 13, 2007, a grand jury in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Georgia returned a
twenty-one-count indictment against Jones and five
co-defendants. See United States v. Jones, No.
07-CR-0167 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 13, 2007).Jones pled guilty to Counts
Nine and Thirteen. Count Nine charged that on February 7,
2007, Petitioner used, carried, and discharged a firearm
during a drug-trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c)(1)(A)(iii). Count Thirteen charged that on
April 18, 2007, Petitioner used, carried, and brandished a
firearm during a crime of violence, hijacking a motor
vehicle, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii).
(Id., ECF No. 61, Indictment).
17, 2008, Jones was sentenced to a total term of 360
months' imprisonment. (Id., ECF No. 187,
Judgment), 120 months on Count 9, and 240 months on Count 13,
to be served consecutively. (Id., p. 2.) Jones did
not file an appeal. (ECF No. 1, Pet.)
September 21, 2016, Jones filed a motion in the sentencing
court, docketed on October 12, 2016, to vacate his conviction
and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (No.
07-CR-0167, ECF No. 325). In his motion to vacate, Jones claims
that his convictions under § 924(c) are invalid
following the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson,
supra. (Id.) His § 2255 motion (his first) is
currently pending, with the magistrate judge having filed a
report recommending to the sentencing court that the motion
be denied on the merits. (Id., ECF No. 333).
filed the instant § 2241 petition on September 27, 2016.
(ECF No. 1, Pet.). He alleges that he “is actually and
factually innocent of his conviction in regards to”
Counts Nine and ...