United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
WILLIAM A. WHITE, Petitioner,
WILLIAM TRUE Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
currently incarcerated in U.S. Penitentiary Marion, brings
this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
to challenge his conviction. Petitioner is serving a
384-month sentence after being convicted in four separate
actions. (Doc. 1, p. 1). At issue in this litigation is his
conviction in United States v. White, No. 13-cr-013
(W.D. Va. 2014). Petitioner requests that the Court grant the
writ of habeas corpus, vacate his conviction, and remand the
case back to the Western District of Virginia. Id.
of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in United States
District Courts provides that upon preliminary consideration
by the district court judge, “[i]f it plainly appears
from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court,
the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to
notify the petitioner.” 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.
was charged with sending threatening emails to his wife,
demanding that she pay him $400 in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 875(b). (Doc. 1, p. 2). Petitioner was sentenced to 92
months' imprisonment on May 1, 2014. Id.
Petitioner filed a direct appeal, which was denied on January
7, 2016. Id. Petitioner filed a § 2255 motion
on April 1, 2016. Id. He filed an Amended §
2255 motion on October 3, 2016. Id. During the
course of the proceedings, Petitioner moved to unseal certain
discovery in the underlying criminal matter. Id. The
court granted that motion the same day it denied the §
2255 motion, on May 31, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 2-3). Petitioner
concedes that he actually received the search warrant
affidavits at issue here sometime between May 1, 2017, and
May 26, 2017, but argues that he could not have raised them
before the ruling on his first § 2255 motion on May 31,
2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). Petitioner alleges that the search
warrants relied on in his criminal case are materially false,
and that therefore, all of the evidence presented at trial
was inadmissible, justifying his release. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-5).
filed a second § 2255 motion in the Western District of
Virginia on March 1, 2018. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). In that
proceeding, Petitioner argued that he was unable to secure
the search warrant affidavits in his original § 2255
proceedings, despite his reasonable diligence and that they
constituted newly discovered evidence showing his innocence.
(Doc. 1, p. 6). Despite Petitioner's arguments to the
contrary, his second § 2255 motion was denied as second
or successive because it was based on factual issues that
existed at the time of the first petition. Id.
argues that he has new evidence, not previously available to
him during his first § 2255 proceeding, that justifies
relief under § 2241. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Petitioner further
alleges that he has triggered the savings clause in §
2255(e). (Doc. 1, pp. 7-9).
a prisoner may challenge his federal conviction or sentence
only by means of a § 2255 motion brought before the
sentencing court, and this remedy typically supersedes the
writ of habeas corpus. Brown v. Caraway, 719 F.3d
583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Brown v. Rios, 696
F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012)). In this case, Petitioner is
clearly attacking his conviction. However, Petitioner argues
that § 2255 is not available to him because he has newly
discovered evidence and relief under § 2255 has been
foreclosed by the Virginia courts. Petitioner relies on the
Seventh Circuit's decision in Webster v.
Daniels, 784 F.3d 1123 (7th Cir. 2015). Specifically, he
argues that he must show 1) that he was unable to raise
issues related to the material falsity of the search warrant
affidavits in his first § 2255 proceeding; and 2) that
this was not the result of mistake on his part. (Doc. 1, p.
“savings clause” under § 2255(e) allows a
federal prisoner to file a petition under § 2241, if the
remedy provided by § 2255 is “inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” See
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). In considering what it means to be
“inadequate or ineffective, ” the Seventh Circuit
has held that a federal prisoner should be permitted to seek
relief 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.” In re
Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 611 (7th Cir. 1998). A federal
prisoner must meet 3 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).
to the Seventh Circuit's decision in Webster,
the Savings Clause was understood to apply only to changes in
the law, not to new facts. Garza v. Lappin, 253 F.3d
918 (7th Cir. 2001); In re Davenport, 147 F.3d at
605. Webster carved out an exception, holding that
there is no categorical bar against use of the Savings Clause
to permit hearing a petition for habeas relief in cases where
new evidence would show that a specific punishment was
constitutionally prohibited. Webster, 784 F.3d at
1138-39. However, Petitioner's case is not analogous to
Webster, despite his arguments to the contrary.
needed to resort to § 2241 because the sentencing court
found that he could not raise his new evidence because §
2255(h) only permits a second or successive petition when
newly discovered evidence would be sufficient to establish
that the petitioner was not guilty of the offense. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(h) (“A second or successive motion must be
certified . . . to contain . . . newly discovered evidence
that . . . would be sufficient to establish by clear and
convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have
found the movant guilty of the offense;”). Webster was
not arguing that he was innocent; instead he was arguing that
his death sentence violated the Constitution.
Webster, 784 F.3d at 1124. That is what the Seventh
Circuit found to trigger the savings clause-Webster's
inability to argue in a § 2255 proceeding that his death
sentence was unconstitutional due to newly discovered
evidence. Id. at 139.
Petitioner also relies on newly discovered evidence, the
similarities end there. Petitioner is not arguing that new
evidence shows that his sentence is
unconstitutional; he is arguing that his conviction
is unconstitutional. Section 2255 already permits Petitioner
to raise this argument based on newly discovered evidence in
a second or successive petition, which he has done. His
arguments have been rejected by the trial court. The savings
clause does not exist to provide another bite at the apple.
Id. at 1136 (“In other words, something more
than a lack of success with a section 2255 motion must exist
before the savings clause is satisfied.”).
was careful to note that the holding was narrow, and applied
only to cases where the death penalty had been imposed on
minors or the intellectually disabled. Id. at 1140
(“But this rule cannot apply to all newly discovered
evidence, or else there would never be any finality to
capital cases involving either the intellectually disabled or
minors.”). Petitioner has not alleged that he was a
minor or intellectually disabled at the time of his crime,
and even if he had, this is not a capital case. Moreover, the
majority suggested that the appropriate test would be 1) the
evidence the petitioner seeks to introduce must have existed
at the time of the original proceedings; 2) the evidence must
have been unavailable at the time of trial despite reasonable
diligence to obtain it; and 3) the evidence must show that
the petitioner is constitutionally ineligible for the penalty
he received. Id. at ...