United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
L. REITZ UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
ROBERT WOOD UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
ORDER DENYING WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 2241 AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, SENIOR JUDGE
Ricky Lee Rodriguez, a federal inmate currently housed at the
U.S. Penitentiary - Terre Haute, located in Terre Haute,
Indiana, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. He argues that he is entitled to relief because:
(1) he is innocent based upon newly discovered evidence and
the government failed to prove the essential elements
necessary to convict him under 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(8);
and (2) based upon a new United States Supreme Court
decision, his two prior convictions do not support his
conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 117. For the reasons
explained below, his petition is denied.
Section 2241 Standard
motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is the presumptive
means by which a federal prisoner can challenge his
conviction or sentence. See Shepherd v. Krueger, 911
F.3d 861, 862 (7th Cir. 2018); Webster v. Daniels,
784 F.3d 1123, 1124 (7th Cir. 2015) (en banc). Under very
limited circumstances, however, a prisoner may employ section
2241 to challenge his federal conviction or sentence.
Webster, 784 F.3d at 1124. This is because
“[§] 2241 authorizes federal courts to issue writs
of habeas corpus, but § 2255(e) makes § 2241
unavailable to a federal prisoner unless it ‘appears
that the remedy by motion [under § 2255] is inadequate
or ineffective to test the legality of [the]
detention.'” Roundtree v. Krueger, 910
F.3d 312, 313 (7th Cir. 2018). Section 2255(e) is known as
the “savings clause.” The Seventh Circuit has
held that § 2255 is “‘inadequate or
ineffective' when it cannot be used to address novel
developments in either statutory or constitutional law,
whether those developments concern the conviction or the
sentence.” Roundtree, 910 F.3d at 313
(citing e.g., In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605 (7th
Cir. 1998); Brown v. Caraway, 719 F.3d 583 (7th Cir.
2013); Webster, 784 F.3d at 1123). Whether §
2255 is inadequate or ineffective “focus[es] on
procedures rather than outcomes.” Taylor v.
Gilkey, 314 F.3d 832, 835 (7th Cir. 2002).
Seventh Circuit construed the savings clause in In re
A procedure for postconviction relief can be fairly termed
inadequate when it is so configured as to deny a convicted
defendant any opportunity for judicial rectification of so
fundamental a defect in his conviction as having been
imprisoned for a nonexistent offense.
In re Davenport, 147 F.3d at 611. “[S]omething
more than a lack of success with a section 2255 motion must
exist before the savings clause is satisfied.”
Webster, 784 F.3d at 1136. Specifically, to fit within
the savings clause following Davenport, a petitioner
must meet three conditions: “(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); Brown v.
Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir.
Factual and Procedural Background
April 30, 3014, Rodriguez was charged in a two-count
Information with assaulting his intimate and dating partner
by strangulation or attempted strangulation within Indian
country, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(8), 1151 and
1152 (count one); and domestic assault by a habitual
offender, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 117 and 1151
(count two) in the Eastern District of Michigan. United
States v. Rodriguez, No. 1:14-cr-20260-TLL-PTM-1 (E.D.
Mich) (hereinafter “Crim. Dkt.”).
8, 2014, the United States and Rodriguez entered into a plea
agreement pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11,
wherein Rodriguez waived indictment by a grand jury and
pleaded guilty to counts one and two of the Information. Dkt.
17-1 at ¶ 1A. The parties agreed that there were no
sentencing guideline disputes, and the defendant's
sentencing guideline range was a term of 70 to 87 months'
imprisonment. Id. at ¶ 2B. On May 28, 2014, the
district court accepted Rodriguez's guilty plea and took
the parties' plea agreement under advisement. Crim. Dkt.
September 23, 2014, Rodriguez was sentenced to a term of 82
months' imprisonment on count one and 60 months on count
two, to run concurrently. Crim. Dkt. 25. Rodriguez did not
appeal his conviction and sentence, nor did he seek relief
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
August 14, 2018, Rodriguez filed this petition for writ of
habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, and a ...