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Tidwell v. Krueger

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

November 2, 2016

SAMUEL K. TIDWELL, Petitioner,
v.
J.E. KRUEGER, Respondent.

          ORDER & OPINION

          Joe B. McDade, United States Senior District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Samuel K. Tidwell's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1). For the reasons stated below, the Petition is dismissed.

         Background and Procedural History

         Petitioner was convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 846, distributing crack cocaine, in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and using and carrying firearms during the conspiracy, in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 924(c). (Doc. 1 at 11). At the sentencing hearing, the court found Petitioner responsible for 14.5 kilograms of powder cocaine and 9.5 kilograms of cocaine base. United States v. Tidwell, No. 13-2736, at 2 (7th Cir. Feb. 6, 2014). This resulted in a base offense level of 40, to which the district court added four levels for Petitioner's leadership role in the offense, for a total offense level of 44. Id. The court originally sentenced Petitioner to life imprisonment for the conspiracy count. Id. Additionally, the court sentenced Petitioner to a concurrent forty-year term of imprisonment on the distribution counts and a consecutive five-year term of imprisonment on the firearm count. Id. Petitioner appealed his conviction and sentence, which were subsequently affirmed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. United States v. Evans, 92 F.3d 540 (7th Cir. 1996). Petitioner filed for a Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court which was denied. Tidwell v. United States, 519 U.S. 972 (1996).

         The remainder of Petitioner's procedural history is extensive. By the time Petitioner filed this motion, Petitioner had already filed at least four § 2255 motions, [1]three applications for permission to file a second or successive § 2255 motion, [2] and one other motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.[3]

         Pertinent to the present Petition are the following motions. According to Petitioner, he filed his first § 2255 motion in the summer of 1996. (Doc 1 at 4). Then, on June 30, 2016, Petitioner filed a motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) for a sentence reduction because of Amendment 782's two-step reduction of the sentencing guidelines. On June 30, 2016, Judge Reinhard granted Petitioner's motion and reduced his sentence from life imprisonment to 420 months imprisonment.

         On October 27, 2016, Petitioner filed this present Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He alleges four grounds: 1) that “Amendment 782 [to the Sentencing Guidelines] gravely alters the drug amounts as calculated at Movant's sentencing;” 2) inaccurate drug amounts; 3) improper application of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); and 4) “clerical error in judgment.” (Doc. 1 at 6-8).

         Legal Standards

         The Court, in its discretion, applies the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts to this case. See Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, R 1(b).[4] This includes Rule 4, which requires that the Court “promptly examine” the Petition, and dismiss it if it “plainly appears . . . that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, the Court has examined the Petition and concludes that Petitioner's § 2241 claim is not cognizable and must be dismissed.

         Petitioner is challenging the validity of the sentence imposed by the district court, and therefore would ordinarily be required to bring his claim as a § 2255 motion rather than a § 2241 petition. See Hill v. Werlinger, 695 F.3d 644, 645 (7th Cir. 2012) (“28 U.S.C. § 2241 and 28 U.S.C. § 2255 provide federal prisoners with distinct forms of collateral relief. Section 2255 applies to challenges to the validity of convictions and sentences, whereas § 2241 applies to challenges to the fact or duration of confinement.”); Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012). He may only petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 if the remedy provided under § 2255 “is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) (which is often referred to as “the Savings Clause”).

         In In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 1998), the Seventh Circuit held that collateral relief is available to a federal prisoner under § 2241 “only if he had no reasonable opportunity to obtain earlier judicial correction of a fundamental defect in his conviction or sentence because the law changed after his first 2255 motion.” Id. at 611. A federal prisoner must meet three criteria in order to invoke the Savings Clause and obtain collateral relief pursuant to § 2241. First, a prisoner “must show that he relies on a [new] statutory-interpretation case rather than a constitutional case;” second, he “must show that he relies on a retroactive decision that he could not have invoked in his first § 2255 motion;” and third, “[the] sentence enhancement [must] have been a grave enough error to be deemed a miscarriage of justice corrigible therefore in a habeas corpus proceeding.” Brown v. Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted).[5]

         Discussion

         Petitioner's Writ for Habeas Corpus fails to meet the Davenport requirements to sustain a challenge of his sentence under § 2241 and therefore must be dismissed. Petitioner's first claim is denied because Petitioner has already received a sentence reduction pursuant to Amendment 782 and because a § 2241 motion is not the proper vehicle for sentencing reductions resulting from changes to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Petitioner's second, third, and fourth claims are denied because they fail to satisfy the Davenport requirements for seeking sentencing relief through a § 2241 motion. Because Petitioner's claims fail to satisfy the Davenport requirements, he has failed to demonstrate that § 2255 is an inadequate or ineffective remedy or that he should otherwise be allowed to proceed under § 2241. Therefore, the Court must dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction.

         The Court denies Petitioner's first claim under Amendment 782 because Petitioner has already received a sentence reduction pursuant to Amendment 782 and because a § 2241 motion is not the proper vehicle for sentence reductions under Amendment 782. On July 18, 2016, Judge Reinhard granted Petitioner's motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) and lowered Petitioner's sentence from life imprisonment to 420 months. Because Petitioner already received a reduction in sentence, he does not have a claim via § 2241. Furthermore, Amendment 782 and the Sentencing Guidelines state that 18 U.S.C. §3582(c) is the required method for receiving the sentence reduction. United States Sentencing Guidelines § 1B1.10(b)(1). See Bruno v. Stone, No. CV-315-002, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49671, at *4 (S.D. Ga. Apr. 15, 2015) (finding that Amendment 782 does not provide a basis of relief under § 2241); Almav. Andrews, No. 5:15-HC-02015-D, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS ...


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