United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
DAVID A. LUSTER, Petitioner,
ACTING WARDEN WHITE, Respondent.
Matthew W. Brann, United States District Judge.
pro se habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 was initiated by David A. Luster, an inmate
presently confined at the Allenwood United States
Penitentiary, White Deer, Pennsylvania (USP-Allenwood) .
Named as Respondent is the USP-Lewisburg Acting Warden White.
Petitioner has paid the required filing fee.
plead guilty to eight counts of bank robbery under Title 18
U.S.C. § 2113(A) and two counts under Title 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c) of using or carrying a firearm during a crime
of violence in the United States District Court for the
Middle District of Georgia. See Luster v. Oddo, No.
5:17-cv-264, 2017 WL 3821468 *1 (M.D. Ga. Aug. 31, 2017). On
April 1, 2004, Luster was sentenced to an aggregate 535 month
term of confinement.
a direct appeal, Petitioner's conviction and sentence
were affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the
Eleventh Circuit on January 10, 2005. See Id. at
*2. Petitioner also previously filed at least five
unsuccessful motions with the sentencing court pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255. See Id. In addition, he has
filed multiple motions with the Eleventh Circuit seeking
leave to file a second or successive § 2255 action.
pending action, Luster vaguely claims entitlement to federal
habeas corpus because “Counts 2 and 4 are invalidated
bs § 16" being a legal nullity. Doc. 1, ¶ 13.
It appears that Petitioner is raising a claim based upon the
definition of a crime of violence set forth in Title 18
U.S.C. § 16. Luster's argument relies upon two
decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States,
Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) and
Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S.Ct. 1204 (2018) .
Petitioner generally adds that he should be granted immediate
release because he has served three more years than is
Standard of Review
corpus petitions are subject to summary dismissal pursuant to
Rule 4 (“Preliminary Review”) of the Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District
Courts, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 (2004). See, e.g.,
Mutope v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole,
2007 WL 846559 *2 (M.D. Pa. March 19, 2007)(Kosik, J.). The
provisions of Rule 4 are applicable to § 2241 petitions
under Rule 1(b)). See, e.g., Patton v. Fenton, 491
F.Supp. 156, 158-59 (M.D. Pa. 1979).
provides in pertinent part: “If 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, Civ. No. 4:05-cv-956, 2005 WL 1138479
*1 (M.D. Pa. May 13, 2005)(McClure, J.)(quoting Allen v.
Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970).
as I can discern, Luster is apparently arguing that he may
bring his present claims of an unconstitutional guilty plea
and sentence via a § 2241 petition. A federal prisoner
may challenge the execution of his sentence by initiating an
action pursuant to § 2241. See Woodall v. Federal
Bureau of Prisons, 432 F.3d 235, 241 (3d Cir. 2005). It
would also appear that it is Luster's contention that
this Court has jurisdiction over his § 2241 action by
virtue of his ongoing detention at USP-Allenwood.
challenging the validity of a federal sentence and not its
execution, a federal prisoner is generally limited to seeking
relief by way of a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 249 (3d Cir. 1997);
Russell v. Martinez, 325 Fed.Appx. 45, 47 (3d Cir.
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 sentence”). A
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, 325 Fed.Appx. at 47 (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, 324 Fed.Appx. 149, 151 (3d Cir.
2009). Here, Petitioner is clearly challenging the validity
of his guilty plea and sentence which were entered in the
Middle District ...