United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
LAWRENCE M. YOUNGBERG, Petitioner,
J. E. KRUEGER Warden, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 2241 AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE
M. Youngberg, an inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary at Terre
Haute, Indiana, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241. For the reasons discussed in this Order,
his petition for writ of habeas corpus is
1991, Mr. Youngberg was a member of the United States Armed
Forces stationed in Germany. The following facts come from
the appellate decision issued by the United States Army Court
of Military Review:
The victim in this case, a promiscuous, thirty-year old
German national female, known as the “Biker Lady”
to American soldiers who frequented a local drinking
establishment in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, was brutally
murdered on 24 August 1991. Her body, completely naked except
for a pair of white athletic socks, was found at a hilltop
picnic site, impaled on a two-foot long wooden stake which
had been driven into her vagina, through her abdominal cavity
up to the level of her liver. Her mouth and throat had been
stuffed with small stones and her head partially crushed by
repeated blows from a ten-pound piece of concrete.
The appellant was arrested on 25 August 1991 by German
police. On 26 August 1991, he was arraigned in German court
and ordered into confinement by a German District Judge.
These court-martial charges were not preferred until 18
December 1991, after a sanity board had been conducted and
German autopsy, police, and laboratory reports were completed
and translated. The Article 32, UCMJ, investigating
officer's report was subsequently completed on 10 March
1992. The German authorities finally released jurisdiction to
the government on 6 May 1992, the day after they were
informed that capital punishment could be excluded as a
potential punishment at appellant's court-martial. Two
days later, on 8 May 1992, the case was referred to trial by
general court-martial, and the appellant was eventually
arraigned on 10 June 1992.
United States v. Youngberg, 38 M.J. 635, 636
(A.C.M.R. 1993), aff'd, 43 M.J. 379 (C.A.A.F.
Youngberg was tried and convicted of premeditated murder and
an indecent act in violation of Articles 118 and 134, Uniform
Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. §§ 918 and 934
(1988) (hereinafter “UCMJ”) at a general
court-martial before a panel composed of officer members.
See id. He was sentenced to a dishonorable
discharge, confinement for life, total forfeitures, and
reduction to Private E1. Id.
Youngberg challenged his conviction in the United States Army
Court of Military Review. The Court of Military Review
affirmed his conviction and sentence. Id. at 640.
Mr. Youngberg then appealed to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Armed Forces, but the Court of Appeals
affirmed the Court of Military Review's decision.
United States v. Youngberg, 43 M.J. 379, 388
Youngberg was initially a military prisoner but was
transferred to be a federal inmate at the Federal
Correctional Complex at Terre Haute, Indiana.
Youngberg now files a petition under § 2241 challenging
his conviction and requesting a military parole hearing. Dkt.
1. Specifically, Mr. Youngberg asserts that: (1) the military
court lacked jurisdiction to convict him, (2) he has been
denied due process and equal protection because he has been
denied the annual military parole board he was entitled to
after serving ten years of his sentence, and (3) his defense
counsel was ineffective for failing to assert an insanity
defense. Id. In response, the respondent asserts
that Mr. Youngberg's claims do not fit into the
“savings clause” of § 2241 and therefore he
cannot proceed with his petition. Dkt. 11 at 3-6. The
respondent further argues that Mr. Youngerberg's claims
have no merit. Id. at 6-11. Mr. Youngberg did not
file a reply, and the time to do so has passed.
Proceeding with a § 2241 Petition
respondent asserts that Mr. Youngberg cannot proceed with his
petition because his claims do not fit into the
“savings clause” of § 2241. Dkt. 11 at 3-6.
The respondent is mistaken.
case is unique because Mr. Youngberg was convicted by a
military court. Typically, federal prisoners who wish to
collaterally attack their convictions or sentences ordinarily
must do so under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Brown v.
Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012). To succeed on a
motion for relief 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). But courts-martial proceedings
“dissolve after the purpose for which they were
convened has been resolved. As a result, there is not a
sentencing court in which a military prisoner may bring a
§ 2255 motion. Witham v. United States, 355
F.3d 501, 505 (6th Cir. 2004). Thus, Section 2255 is
inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of Mr.
Supreme Court has stated that petitions for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 are a permissible
method for members of the United States Armed Forces to seek
federal civil court review of court-martial convictions.
Clinton v. Goldsmith, 526 U.S. 529, 537 n. 11 (1999)
(“And of course, once a criminal conviction has been
finally reviewed within the military system, and a service
member in custody has exhausted other avenues provided under
the UCMJ to seek relief from his conviction . . . he is
entitled to bring a habeas corpus petition, see 28
U.S.C. § 2241(c), claiming that his conviction is
affected by a fundamental defect that requires that it be set
aside.”); Burns v. Wilson, 346 U.S. 137, 139
(1953); United States v. Augenblick, 393 U.S. 348,
350 n. 3 (1969); see Tartt v. Sec'y of Army, 841
F.Supp. 236, 238 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (“Habeas corpus
relief is the well-established and appropriate ...