United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
William T. Lawrence, Judge, United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
Carl Darcus, Jr., seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241. His petition for writ of habeas corpus
Darcus was convicted of a drug offense in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2009.
He agreed to plead guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to 292
2011, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed
Mr. Darcus's appeal because he waived his right to appeal
in his plea agreement. The Supreme Court of the United States
denied his petition for writ of certiorari later that year.
2012, Mr. Darcus filed a motion to vacate pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255 in the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of Virginia, which was denied on the
merits in 2015. He filed a motion seeking permission for a
successive § 2255 motion in 2016, and a Certificate of
Appealability was denied.
Darcus has now filed a petition for habeas relief pursuant to
§ 2241 in this court. He challenges the lawfulness of
his sentence. He argues his sentence was wrongly enhanced
under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Mr. Darcus believes the
enhanced sentence violates due process and creates a
miscarriage of justice.
proceed under § 2241, a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 must be “inadequate or ineffective to test
the legality of his detention.” 28 U.S.C. §
2255(e). Section 2255 is inadequate or ineffective if the
following three requirements are met: “(1) the
petitioner must rely on a case of statutory interpretation
(because invoking such a case cannot secure authorization for
a second § 2255 motion); (2) the new rule must be
previously unavailable and apply retroactively; and (3) the
error asserted must be grave enough to be deemed a
miscarriage of justice, such as the conviction of an innocent
defendant.” Davis v. Cross, 863 F.3d 962, 964
(7th Cir. 2017).
argued by the respondent, the savings clause of §
2255(e) does not give Mr. Darcus a further bite at the
post-conviction relief apple in this case. Mr. Darcus argues
that he is entitled to § 2241 relief due to the decision
in Webster v. Daniels, 784 F.2d 1123 (7th Cir.
2015). Mr. Darcus asserts that Webster allows his
habeas corpus petition because Mr. Darcus “has not been
given a reasonable opportunity to obtain a reliable judicial
determination of the fundamental legality of his conviction
and sentence.” Dkt. No. 12 at 3.
Darcus is mistaken. In Webster, the Seventh Circuit
held that “there is no categorical bar against resort
to section 2241 in cases where new evidence would reveal that
the Constitution categorically prohibits a certain
penalty.” 784 F.3d at 1139. Webster, however,
is inapplicable to the present case because Mr. Darcus's
§ 2241 petition does not involve a claim of new
evidence- instead, he argues that the Sentencing Guidelines
were improperly calculated resulting in an enhanced prison
sentence. The Seventh Circuit has rejected similar arguments
by petitioners explaining:
Additionally, there is nothing in Webster to suggest
that its holding applies outside the context of new evidence.
Indeed, the Webster court took great care to assure
that its holding was narrow in scope-“[i]t will be a
rare case where records that predate the trial are found much
later, despite diligence on the part of the defense, and
where those records bear directly on the constitutionality of
the death sentence.” 784 F.3d at 1140 (first emphasis
Poe v. LaRiva, 834 F.3d 770, 774 (7th Cir. 2016)
Darcus's claim does not fall under the savings clause
because Mr. Darcus does not rely on a new law available after
his first § 2255 motion. Mr. Darcus alleges that his
sentence was improperly enhanced under the Sentencing
Guidelines and fails to cite a subsequent case of statutory
interpretation. In addition, a violation of the Sentencing
Guidelines is not a statutory violation. See Brown v.
Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012). A sentence that
is illegal due to violation of a ...