United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISMISSING ACTION AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
William T. Lawrence, United States District Court
on the pleadings and the expanded record, the petition of
Lawrence Stevens for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his
conviction and enhanced sentenced imposed by the United
States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
must be denied. This conclusion rests on the following facts
May 3, 2002, Stevens was charged by indictment with
possession of five or more grams of cocaine base
(“crack”) with the intent to distribute it in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B)(iii)
(Count I), possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Count II), and possession of a
firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count III). Following a
jury trial, Stevens was found guilty on all three counts. On
January 3, 2004, Stevens was sentenced to life imprisonment
on Count III. The court further sentenced Stevens to a term
of 327 months on each of Counts I and II to be served
concurrently with the life term on Count III. Stevens
appealed and the Seventh Circuit affirmed. See United
States v. Stevens, 380 F.3d 1021 (7th Cir. 2004).
Stevens now challenges his conviction and sentence, invoking
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
3. A 28
U.S.C. § 2255 motion is the presumptive means by which a
federal prisoner can challenge his conviction or sentence,
see Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 343
(1974), although 28 U.S.C. § 2241 also supplies a basis
for collateral relief under limited circumstances. “A
federal prisoner may use a § 2241 petition for a writ of
habeas corpus to attack his conviction or sentence only if
§ 2255 is ‘inadequate or ineffective.'”
Hill v. Werlinger, 695 F.3d 644, 645 (7th Cir. 2012)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e)). The requirements of 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e) are that a habeas petitioner (1) must
rely on a new, retroactive case not available when he moved
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 that (2) interprets a statute in
a way that (3) decriminalizes the crime of conviction.
See Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir.
Stevens filed a motion for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 in the trial court following the completion of
his direct appeal. (In his habeas petition, Stevens denies
having filed a § 2255 motion, but admits in his reply to
having done so.) That § 2255 motion, which had been
docketed as No. 05-2184, was denied on the merits in a
written decision issued on February 15, 2007. His bid to file
a second or successive motion for relief pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255 was denied.
There are two claims in Stevens' habeas petition. One is
that there was an error in his sentence. He relies in support
of this claim on Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct.
2151, 2163-64 (2013), in which the Supreme Court held that
“facts that increase mandatory minimum sentences must
be submitted to the jury” because when a finding by a
sentencing judge “increase[s] the penalty to which the
defendant [is] subjected, ” that fact must be
“found by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt” to
comply with the Sixth Amendment. “This right, in
conjunction with the Due Process Clause, requires that each
element of a crime be proved to the jury beyond a reasonable
doubt.” Id. at 2156 (plurality opinion). His
reliance on Alleyne is misplaced, however, because
the Seventh Circuit has concluded that Alleyne does
not apply retroactively. Poe v. LaRiva, 834 F.3d
770, 773 (7th Cir. 2016).
Stevens' second claim is that a witness for the
government at trial has recanted his testimony. In light of
all the circumstances, this claim is exceedingly weak. The
merits cannot properly be reached here, however, because the
requirements for resort to the Savings Clause of §
2255(e) have not been satisfied. The § 2255 action
Stevens filed in the trial court provided him with all the
opportunity the law contemplates. His motion was denied.
Despite his dissatisfaction with the outcome, he is not
entitled to use § 2241 for another bite at the
post-conviction apple. Garza v. Lappin, 253 F.3d
918, 922 (7th Cir. 2001)(“The mere fact that
Garza's petition would be barred as a successive petition
under § 2255, however, is not enough to bring the
petition under § 2255's savings clause; otherwise,
the careful structure Congress has created to avoid
repetitive filings would mean little or nothing.”). As
one district judge has explained:
The rule against successive § 2255 motions, and the
one-year statute of limitations, would be rendered
meaningless if a prisoner who is procedurally barred from
bringing a § 2255 motion could simply argue that the
remedy provided by that statute has become “inadequate
or ineffective, ” and that he should therefore be
allowed to bring his claims in a § 2241 habeas corpus
Irwin v. Fisher, 2009 WL 1954451, *3 (D.Minn. July
6, 2009); see also Buford v. Superintendent, 2008 WL
2783257, *4 (S.D.Ind. July 16, 2008)(“The above
circumstances show that Buford's § 2241 habeas claim
was presented and rejected in an action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255 . . . that Buford has not advanced a
legal theory which establishes his actual innocence. . . .
[and] that Buford has not carried his burden of showing that
his § 2241 habeas claim can be considered here because
§ 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality
of his detention.”).
action is also completely aligned with the analysis of Judge
Caputo of the Middle District of Pennsylvania:
The allegations of Mr. Santos' habeas petition do not
suggest he is entitled to resort to seeking habeas relief
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on the grounds that a petition
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 would be ineffective or
inadequate. Clearly this is not a situation where Mr. Santos
did not have a prior opportunity to raise the claims
presented in his petition. Petitioner filed a motion pursuant
to § 2255, raising many of the same claims. He may not
file a § 2241 petition simply because he is dissatisfied
with the results of his previous § 2255 petition. The
remedy afforded under § 2241 is not intended as an
additional, alternative, or supplemental remedy to that
prescribed under § 2255. Thus, upon careful review, the
representations of Felix Santos' present petition are
simply insufficient to persuade the Court that 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 would be either ineffective or inadequate to test
the legality of his detention.
Santos v. United States, 2010 WL 181744, at *2
(M.D.Pa. Jan. 13, 2010). These are not new insights.
“Something more than mere disagreement [with the
previous habeas court] must be shown to justify a successive
habeas petition.” Williams v. Lockhart, 862
F.2d 155, 158 (8th Cir. 1988)(quoting Walker v.
Lockhart,726 F.2d 1238, 1250 (8th Cir.)(en
banc)(Arnold, J., concurring), cert. dismissed, 468
U.S. 1222 (1984)); Farrugia v. ...