United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION
STEPHEN V. WILSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court summarily dismisses Petitioner's habeas petition
for lack of jurisdiction.
Petitioner was formerly an inmate at the federal prison
facility at Victorville, California. (Shortly after
commencing this action, he was transferred to a federal
prison in Tennessee.) He filed a habeas petition in this
Court under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 seeking review of his
sentence resulting from an armed bank robbery conviction.
1998, Petitioner was convicted of the bank robbery charge at
trial in the Eastern District of Arkansas. The district court
imposed a life sentence on Petitioner under the career
offender provision of 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(1). The court
found that Petitioner had previously been convicted of
robbery, aggravated robbery, and escape. (Docket # 8 at 4.)
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction
and sentence. United States v. Webb, 168 F.3d 496
(8th Cir. 1999).
Since then, Petitioner pursued numerous forms of
post-conviction relief in the Arkansas federal court. In its
motion to dismiss this action, the government identified
three post-appeal collateral attacks that Petitioner filed in
the Eastern District of Arkansas between 2000 and the
present. The first two were denied in the district court and
on appeal to the Eighth Circuit. The third collateral attack
- filed several weeks before Petitioner commenced this action
in the Central District of California - was also denied.
(Docket # 8 at 5-6.)
his current action in this district, Petitioner contends that
he is serving an "illegal sentence." He argues that
his prior convictions cannot serve as predicate offenses for
a career offender sentence following the Supreme Court's
decision in Descamps v. United States, ___U.S. ___,
133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013). (Docket # 1.) He seeks relief under
the "savings clause" under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
(Id. at 3.)
government moved to dismiss the action on numerous grounds.
Its key claims are that Petitioner's Section 2241 action
is actually an improper motion under Section 2255. The
government contends that this Court does not have
jurisdiction over Petitioner's claims. The government
also briefly argues that Petitioner's action fails on the
merits. (Docket #8.)
his reply submission, Petitioner appears to add several legal
theories to his claim for relief. These include references to
the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United
States, ___U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).
it "plainly appears from the face of the petition and
any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief, " the Court may summarily dismiss a
habeas petition after filing. Local Rule 72-3.2 (magistrate
judge may submit proposed order for summary dismissal to
district judge); see also Rule 4(b) of Rules
Governing Section 2255 Cases in United States District Courts
(petition may be summarily dismissed if petitioner plainly
not entitled to relief).
Court concludes that it does not have jurisdiction over
Petitioner's claims. Federal prisoners have two statutory
paths by which they may seek a writ of habeas corpus.
"As a general rule, " federal inmates may
collaterally attack their conviction only under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. Alaimalo v. United States, 645 F.3d
1042, 1046 (9th Cir. 2011). However, a federal prisoner may
also seek a writ under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. That statute
permits a prisoner to "challenge the manner, location,
or conditions of a sentence's execution" by habeas
review in the district in which the inmate is confined.
Hernandez v. Campbell, 204 F.3d 861, 864 (9th Cir.
statutes overlap in the "exceptional case" in which
a petition "qualifies for the escape hatch of [Section]
2255, and can legitimately be brought as a [Section] 2241
petition." Harrison v. Ollison, 519 F.3d 952,
958 (9th Cir. 2008). The "escape hatch" provision
under Section 2255(e) allows a federal prisoner to pursue
relief under Section 2241 where it appears that a habeas
petition in the sentencing court is "inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention."
Id. at 956. To apply the escape hatch, a district
court must first answer the "threshold jurisdictional
question" of "whether a petition is properly
brought under § 2241 or is, instead, a disguised §
2255 motion, before it can proceed to the merits of the
claim." Marrero v. Ives, 682 F.3d 1190, 1194
(9th Cir. 2012).
prisoner may qualify for the escape hatch - and bring a
Section 2241 petition in the district in which the prisoner
is incarcerated - when the petitioner "(1) makes a claim
of actual innocence, and (2) has not had an unobstructed
procedural shot at presenting that claim."
Alaimalo, 645 F.3d at 1047 (quotation omitted).
However, a "purely legal claim that has nothing to do
with factual innocence [ ] is not a cognizable claim of
'actual innocence' for the purposes of qualifying to
bring a § 2241 petition under the escape hatch."
Marrero, 682 F.3d at 1194 (actual innocence
"means factual innocence, not mere legal
insufficiency") (citation omitted).
for the "unobstructed procedural shot" component, a
prisoner must show that: (1) "the legal basis for
petitioner's claim [of actual innocence] did not arise
until after he had exhausted his direct appeal and first
§ 2255 motion"; and (2) "the law changed in
any way relevant to petitioner's claim after that first
§ 2255 motion." Harrison, 519 F.3d at 960.
An intervening court decision "must effect a material