United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
June 2, 2005.
HARRY LEE NAPPER, Plaintiff,
RANDY DAVIS, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM STIEHL, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Petitioner, an inmate in the United States Penitentiary in
Marion, Illinois, brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging his conviction and sentence. He also
seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2).
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United
States District Courts provides that upon preliminary
consideration by the district court judge, "[i]f it plainly
appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to
it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district
court, the judge shall make an order for its summary dismissal
and cause the petitioner to be notified." Rule 1(b) of those
Rules gives this Court the authority to apply the rules to other
habeas corpus cases. After carefully reviewing the petition in
the present case, the Court concludes that Petitioner is not
entitled to relief, and the petition must be dismissed.
Normally a person in federal custody may challenge his
conviction only by means of a motion brought before the
sentencing court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In certain cases,
a prisoner may use the general habeas statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
to obtain relief, but this method is generally limited to challenges to the execution of the sentence.
Valona v. United States, 138 F.3d 693, 694 (7th Cir. 1998);
Atehortua v. Kindt, 951 F.2d 126, 129 (7th Cir. 1991).
Section 2241 may not be used as a substitute for Section 2255
where a Petitioner has already sought but been denied relief
under Section 2255, or where Petitioner no longer has an
opportunity to seek relief under Section 2255 because of the
Section's one-year period of limitation. See e.g. Cooper v.
United States, 199 F.3d 898, 901 (7th Cir. 1999). Petitioner
indicates that he was sentenced and convicted in the Eastern
District of New York in 1998 and that the Court of Appeals for
the Second Circuit affirmed his conviction in 1999. Petitioner
does not indicate whether he moved the sentencing court to
vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255. Regardless, based on the information given in the
petition, Petitioner would be barred from bringing an action in
the sentencing court under Section 2255 by the one-year period of
A petition challenging the conviction may be brought pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 where the remedy provided by 28 U.S.C. § 2255
is inadequate or ineffective. However, the fact that Petitioner
may be barred from bringing a Section 2255 petition is not, in
itself, sufficient to render it an inadequate remedy. In re
Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 609-10 (7th Cir. 1998) (§ 2255
limitation on filing successive motions does not render it an
inadequate remedy for a prisoner who had filed a prior Section
2255 motion). Further, "[f]ailure to comply with the requirements
of the § 2255 statute of limitations is not what Congress meant
when it spoke of the remedies being `inadequate or ineffective to
test the legality of his detention.'" Montenegro v. U.S.,
248 F.3d 585 (7th Cir. 2001), overruled on other grounds, Ashley
v. United States, 266 F.3d 671 (7th Cir. 2001).*fn1
See also Pack v. Yusuff, 218 F.3d 448, 452 (5th Cir. 2000) ("Neither
will a claim of procedural bar suffice to demonstrate that
Section 2255 relief is inadequate or ineffective."); United
States v. Barrett, 178 F.3d 34, 49-50 (1st Cir. 1999),
cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1176 (2000); Triestman v. United
States, 124 F.3d 361, 376 (2d Cir. 1997) (noting that
Section 2255's substantive and procedural barriers by themselves
do not establish that Section 2255 is inadequate or ineffective);
In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251 (3d Cir. 1997).
Instead, a petitioner under Section 2241 must demonstrate the
inability of a Section 2255 motion to cure the defect in the
In Davenport, the Seventh Circuit considered the meaning of
"inadequacy" for purposes of § 2255. The Circuit stated that "[a]
procedure for post-conviction relief can fairly be 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." Davenport, 147 F.3d at 611
Every court that has addressed the matter has held
that § 2255 is "inadequate or ineffective" only when
a structural problem in § 2255 forecloses even one
round of effective collateral review and then only
when as in Davenport the claim being foreclosed is
one of actual innocence. See, e.g., Cradle v. United
States ex rel. Miner, 290 F.3d 536, 538-39 (3d
Cir. 2002); In re Jones, 226 F.3d 328, 333-34
(4th Cir. 2000); Reyes-Requena v. United
States, 243 F.3d 893, 902-03 (5th Cir. 2001);
United States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 462
(6th Cir. 2001); Wofford v. Scott,
177 F.3d 1236, 1244 (11th Cir. 1999).
Taylor v. Gilkey, 314 F.3d 832
,835-36 (7th Cir. 2002).
When, then, may a petitioner successfully argue that he is
"actually innocent" under Davenport? The Seventh Circuit
recently clarified this standard, stating that "actual innocence"
is established when a petitioner can "admit everything charged in
[the] indictment, but the conduct no longer amount[s] to a crime
under the statutes (as correctly understood)." Kramer v. Olson,
347 F.3d 214, 218 (7th Cir. 2003). Such is not the case here. Petitioner does not suggest that the
charged conduct is no longer a crime. Accordingly, Petitioner
cannot obtain the relief he desires through § 2241.
Therefore, this action is summarily DISMISSED with prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.