United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD P. CONABOY JUDGE.
Curtis Reynolds, an inmate presently confined at the Hazleton
Federal Correctional Institution, Bruceton Mills, West
Virginia (FCI-Hazleton), filed this pro se motion
seeking relief pursuant to Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v.
Hartford-Empire Co., 322 U.S. 238 (1944). Reynolds'
submission is accompanied by an in forma pauperis
application. Named as Respondent is the United states of
a decision regarding a civil case, recognized that a court
may set aside its own judgment when the judgment was obtained
by fraudulent means. See Mumma v. High Spec, Inc.,
2010 WL 4386718 (3d Cir. Nov. 5, 2010). Based upon a review
of Reynold's allegations that his federal criminal
conviction was fraudulently obtained, his request for release
from custody, and recognizing that liberal treatment must be
afforded to pro se litigants, Reynolds' motion
will be construed as a petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons outlined
below, Petitioner will be granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis for the sole purpose of the filing of
this matter, however, his petition will be dismissed without
was convicted of federal criminal charges following a July,
2007 jury trial before the Honorable Edwin M. Kosik of this
district court. See United States v. Reynolds, No.
3:05-CR-493. Reynolds was found guilty of multiple terrorism
related criminal offenses. He was sentenced to a term of
imprisonment on November 6, 2007. By decision dated March 18,
2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit affirmed Petitioner's conviction.
thereafter sought collateral relief via a petition pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. His petition was dismissed on the
merits by decision dated August 15, 2012. Reynolds next filed
actions in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California which were construed as seeking §
2255 relief and transferred to this district. Those actions
were subsequently dismissed by decision dated November 28,
2012, because Petitioner failed to obtain authorization to
file a second or successive § 2225 action from the Third
Circuit Court of Appeals. A February 25, 2014 decision by the
Third Circuit Court of Appeals likewise observed that
Petitioner has filed unauthorized second or successive §
2255 petitions. See United States v. Reynolds, C.A.
No. 13-4195, slip op. at 2 (3d Cir. Feb. 12, 2014).
also previously filed multiple unsuccessful § 2241
petitions with this Court challenging the legality of his
federal prosecution. See Reynolds v. Bledsoe, Civil
No. 4:CV-08-909 and Reynolds v. Kosik, Civil No.
4:CV-08-293; Reynolds v. Martinez, Civil No.
pending habeas corpus petition again challenges the legality
of his federal criminal conviction. Petitioner has submitted
a 36 page narrative which asserts multiple claims including
allegations that: (1) it was physically impossible for him to
have committed an e mail crime within the confines of this
district; (2) a prosecution witness was coerced; (3) false
statements and testimony by an FBI agent was used to obtain
his conviction; and (4) illegally seized evidence was used
2241 petitions are subject to judicial screening pursuant to
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts, 28 U.S.C. foil. § 2254
(1977). See Patton V. Fenton, 491 F.Supp. 156,
158-59 (M.D. Pa. 1979) (the Rules Governing Section 2254
Cases in the United States District Courts are applicable to
§ 2241 petitions under Rule 1(b) of the Section 2254
Rules.); Mutope v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and
Parole, Civil No. 3:CV-07-472, 2007 WL 846559, at
*2 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 19, 2007) (Kosik, J.). Rule 4
states in relevant part that "[i]f it plainly appears
from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court,
the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to
notify the petitioner." A petition may be dismissed
without review of an answer "when the petition is
frivolous, or obviously lacking in merit, or where. . . the
necessary facts can be determined from the petition itself. .
. ." Gorko v. Holt, 2005 WL 1138479 *1(M.D. Pa.
May 13, 2005)(McClure, J.)(quoting Allen v. Perini.
424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970).
challenging the validity of a federal conviction and
sentence, and not the execution of his sentence, a federal
prisoner is generally limited to seeking relief by way of a
motion pursuant to § 2255. In re Dorsainvil,
119 F.3d 245, 249 (3d Cir. 1997); Russell V.
Martinez, No. 08-3898, 2009 WL 1154194, at *2
(3d Cir. Apr. 30, 2009)("a section 2255 motion filed in
the sentencing court is the presumptive means for a federal
prisoner to challenge the validity of a conviction or
challenge can only be brought under § 2241 if "it .
. . appears that the remedy by [a § 2255] motion is
inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his
detention." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). This language in
§ 2255, known as the safety-valve clause, must be
strictly construed. Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251;
Russell, 2009 WL 1154194, at *2 (the safety valve
"is extremely narrow and has been held to apply in
unusual situations, such as those in which a prisoner has had
no prior opportunity to challenge his conviction for a crime
later deemed to be non-criminal by an intervening change in
is the inefficacy of the remedy, not the personal inability
to use it, that is determinative." 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. See also,
Alexander v. Williamson, 2009 WL 1020218, at *2 (3d
Cir. Apr. 16, 2009) .
Petitioner's assertion of actual innocence does not
authorize this Court to consider his habeas corpus petition.
Reynolds' claim is not based upon the contention that his
conduct is no longer criminal as a result of some change in
the law. Nor has he shown that he is unable to present his
claims in a § 2255 proceeding. As recognized by the Hon.
Kim R. Gibson in Pollard v. Yost, No. 07-235, 2008
WL 4933599, at *6 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 18, 2008), for a challenge
to a federal conviction to be presented by a federal inmate
by way of a § 2241 petition, there must not only be
"a claim of actual innocence but a claim of actual
innocence coupled with the inability to have brought the
claim before because of a change in the construction of the