United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1), filed by
petitioner Joseph Atuana (“Atuana”), a federal
inmate confined at the United States Penitentiary, Canaan,
Pennsylvania. Preliminary review of the petition has been
undertaken, see R. Governing § 2254 Cases R.4
(directing prompt examination of the petition and dismissal
if it plainly appears that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief), and, for the reasons set forth below, the
petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
about December 1, 2017, a grand jury sitting in the Southern
District of New York returned a superseding indictment
against Atuana and a codefendant. The superseding indictment
charged the following counts: (1) participating in a
conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud; (2) bank
fraud; (3) wire fraud; (4) aggravated identity theft; (5)
conspiring to commit money laundering; and, (6) making a
false statement in an application for a United States
passport. See United States v. Atuana, Civil No.
1:16-cr-672 (S.D.N.Y. 2016). On January 30, 2018, a jury
returned a guilty verdict on all counts. (Id. at
Doc. 81). Atuana was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of
132 months and ordered to pay restitution in the total amount
of $152, 683.58. (Id. at Docs. 159, 169).
instant habeas petition, Atuana challenges his arrest and
incarceration in the underlying criminal case and asserts
that he is in custody unlawfully. (Doc. 2). For relief,
Atuana requests that the court order the United States
Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York to
produce documents certifying that his arrest was lawful.
(Id. at 3).
prisoners seeking post-conviction relief from their judgment
of conviction or the sentence imposed are generally required
to bring their collateral challenges pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Section
2255(e) provides that:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a
prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion
pursuant to [§ 2255], shall not be entertained if it
appears that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by
motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such court
has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy
by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality
of his detention.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e).
end, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has observed
that “[m]otions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are
the presumptive means by which federal prisoners can
challenge their convictions or sentences that are allegedly
in violation of the Constitution.” Okereke v.
United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing
Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 343 (1974)).
Section 2255(e) specifically prohibits federal courts from
entertaining a federal prisoner's collateral challenge by
an application for habeas corpus unless the court finds that
a section 2255 motion is “inadequate or
ineffective.” Okereke, 307 F.3d at 120 (citing
In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251 (3d Cir. 1997)).
This safety valve language in section 2255(e) has been
strictly construed. See Application of Galante, 437
F.2d 1164, 1165-66 (3d Cir. 1971) (concluding that
unfavorable legal standards in circuit where sentencing court
was located do not render section 2255 remedy inadequate or
ineffective); Millan-Diaz v. Parker, 444 F.2d 95, 97
(3d Cir. 1971) (concluding that doubts about the
administration of a section 2255 motion in particular do not
make the remedy inadequate or ineffective). The burden is on
the habeas petitioner to allege or demonstrate inadequacy or
ineffectiveness. See Application of Galante, 437
F.2d 1164, 1165 (3d Cir. 1971).
§ 2255 is not “inadequate or ineffective”
merely because the sentencing court has previously denied
relief. See Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251. Nor do
legislative limitations, such as statutes of limitation or
gatekeeping provisions, placed on § 2255 proceedings
render the remedy inadequate or ineffective so as to
authorize pursuit of a habeas corpus petition in this court.
Cradle v. United States, 290 F.3d 536, 539 (3d Cir.
2002); United States v. Brooks, 230 F.3d 643, 647
(3d Cir. 2000); Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251. If a
petitioner improperly challenges a federal conviction or
sentence under § 2241, the petition must be dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction. Application of Galante,
437 F.2d at 1165.
present claims fall within the purview of § 2255. It is
clear that Atuana has not pursued a § 2255 motion in the
Southern District of New York. See United States v.
Atuana, Civil No. 1:16-cr-672 (S.D.NY. 2016). Atuana
offers no explanation or reasoning as to why a § 2255
motion is inadequate or ineffective. In fact, nothing in the
petition speaks to a claim of inadequacy or ineffectiveness,
as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The remedy afforded
under § 2241 is not an additional, alternative, or
supplemental remedy to that prescribed under § 2255.
Atuana's recourse lies with a motion pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255 in the sentencing court. Consequently, the
instant petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.