IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
April 17, 2006
CHARLES R. ROBINSON, INMATE #11087-026, PETITIONER,
SARA REVEL, RESPONDENT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Petitioner, an inmate in the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois, brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In his petition, Petitioner indicates that he was convicted in 1997 of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine base, and possession of cocaine base in the Central District of Illinois and was sentenced, after enhancements under the federal Sentencing Guidelines, to 100 years imprisonment . His conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1999, but the case was remanded for resentencing because the Court of Appeals determined that the evidence of drug quantity was unreliable. See United States v. Robinson, 164 F.3d 1068 (7th Cir. 1999). On remand, after a new sentencing hearing, the district court reimposed the 100-year sentence. See United States v. Robinson, 76 F.Supp.2d 941 (C.D. Ill. 1999). On May 16, 2000, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in an unpublished order. The Supreme Court granted certiorari and summarily vacated the judgment and remanded to the Seventh Circuit for reconsideration in accordance with Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). See Robinson v. United States, 531 U.S. 1005 (2000). On remand, the Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence. See United States v. Robinson, 250 F.3d 527 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 895 (2001). Petitioner sought and was denied habeas corpus relief in the sentencing court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in March 2003. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit granted a certificate of appealability and affirmed the district court's denial of relief. See Robinson v. United States, 416 F.3d 645 (7th Cir.2005), cert. denied, 126 S.Ct. 1343 (Feb. 21, 2006). Petitioner now brings this action pursuant to Section 2241 seeking release from federal custody.
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).
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 conviction.
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 (emphasis added).
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. Instead, he argues that his sentence was invalidated by United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). In this circuit, this ruling does not apply retroactively to convictions that were final prior to the Booker decision. McReynolds v. United States, 397 F.3d 479, 481 (7th Cir. 2005). Petitioner also makes other arguments that his trial was unfair because of a racially unbalanced jury. Again, these arguments do 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.
MICHAEL J. REAGAN United States District Judge