United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY McDADE, United States Senior District Judge
matter is before the Court on a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by Christopher Paul
Ellis. (Doc. 1). For the reasons stated below, the petition
is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction.
23, 2016, Petitioner pleaded guilty to felon in possession of
a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).
United States v. Christopher Paul Ellis, 15-cr-00022
(S.D. Iowa 2016) (Doc. 53). Ellis was sentenced to 117 months
of incarceration to be served consecutively with a revocation
sentence imposed in another case. Id. On November 4,
2016, Ellis filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct
Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 arguing that in light of
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), and
Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), the
sentencing court improperly labeled Ellis a career criminal
under the Sentencing Guidelines and enhanced his sentence for
prior residential burglary convictions in Iowa.
Christopher Paul Ellis v. United States, 16-cv-00582
(S.D. Iowa 2017) (Doc. 1).
Iowa District Court dismissed Ellis's § 2255 motion
on the merits. It explained that, before sentencing, Ellis
and the Government were aware that amendments to the
guidelines would go into effect on August 1, 2016, and that
Mathis was under advisement at the Supreme
Court-both of which could significantly affect Ellis's
sentence. Id. at 2. In light of those circumstances
and the uncertainty surrounding Mathis, Ellis and
the Government agreed to a sentence of 117 months'
incarceration, which was an equivalent sentence to what Ellis
would have received if Mathis had already been
decided and the guideline amendments had already been
implemented. Id. at 4. Ellis therefore suffered no
prejudice, and the Court found his guilty plea to have been
entered knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily.
Id. at 3-4. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
denied a certificate of appealability and dismissed
Ellis's appeal. Id. (Doc. 9).
now attempts to get a second bite at the apple by filing a
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2241 with this Court, raising the same
Mathis/Johnson arguments he raised in his
§ 2255 motion. (Doc. 1). As the Court will explain
below, Ellis's petition is nothing more than an attempt
to circumvent section 2255's prohibition on second or
successive motions and the petition must be dismissed for
lack of jurisdiction.
Seventh Circuit has clearly laid out the relationship between
28 U.S.C. § 2255 and 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Typically,
“federal prisoners who wish to attack the validity of
their convictions or sentences are required to proceed under
§ 2255.” Garza v. Lappin, 253 F.3d 918,
921 (7th Cir. 2001). When federal prisoners like Ellis have
already filed an unsuccessful § 2255 motion, the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”) establishes a “stringent set of
procedures” that the prisoner must follow if he wishes
to file a second or successive habeas corpus application.
See Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147, 152 (2007).
“A petitioner is required to seek authorization from
the court of appeals to file a ‘second or
successive' section 2255 motion.” Kramer v.
United States, 797 F.3d 493, 498 (7th Cir. 2015). A
prisoner will be barred from filing a second or successive
§ 2255 motion “except in two narrow circumstances:
(1) when newly discovered evidence would establish by clear
and convincing evidence that the prisoner is not guilty of
the offense for which he was convicted, or (2) when the
petition presents a new rule of constitutional law, made
retroactive by the Supreme Court to cases on collateral
review, that was unavailable to petitioner at the time of his
first petition.” Garza, 253 F.3d at 921.
§ 2255 motions usually challenge the validity of
convictions or sentences, habeas corpus petitions under
§ 2241 typically challenge the manner in which sentences
are being executed. Valona v. United States, 138
F.3d 693, 694 (7th Cir. 1998). “[I]n the overwhelming
majority of cases § 2255 specifically prohibits
prisoners from circumventing § 2255 and challenging
their convictions or sentences through a habeas petition
under § 2241.” United States v. Prevatte,
300 F.3d 792, 799 (7th Cir. 2002). A prisoner can bring a
§ 2241 petition only if he can show that the § 2255
remedy is inadequate or effective to test the legality of the
prisoner's detention. Garza, 253 F.3d at 921.
In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 1998), sets
out precisely when secton 2255 is inadequate or ineffective.
First, a prisoner “must show that he relies on a
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).
fails the second requirement under Davenport. In his
first § 2255 motion, Ellis invoked
Johnson/Mathis and made the same arguments
he attempts to assert now. Section 2255, then, was evidently
not an inadequate or ineffective remedy, and § 2241 is
therefore not available to Ellis. The Court construes
Ellis's petition as an unauthorized effort to file a
successive motion under section 2255. Ellis has not received
permission from the Seventh Circuit to file a second or
successive § 2255 motion, nor can the Court perceive a
basis that the Court of Appeals would grant such permission.
Ellis has not presented “newly discovered evidence,
” and he has not raised a new rule of constitutional
law made retroactive by the Supreme Court that was previously
unavailable. The mere fact that Ellis's petition would be
barred as a successive petition under section 2255 is not
enough to show that section 2255 is inadequate or
ineffective; “otherwise, the careful structure Congress
has created to avoid repetitive filings would mean little or
nothing.” Garza, 253 F.3d at 921.
THEREFORE ORDERED that Petitioner's instant Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §