United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. Yandle, United States District Judge.
Clinton Williams, an inmate of the United States Bureau of
Prisons (“BOP”) currently incarcerated at United
States Penitentiary Marion (“USP”), brings this
habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to
challenge the constitutionality of his conviction under 18
U.S.C. § 924(c). (Doc. 1); United States v.
Williams, No. 06-CR-20032 (C.D. Ill.) (“Criminal
Case”). This matter is now before the Court for review
of the Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts, which
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) gives the Court the authority to
apply the Rules to other habeas corpus cases.
was tried in the Central District of Illinois in 2006 for his
participation in a series of armed robberies. He was found
guilty of one Count of conspiracy to commit robbery, two
Counts of bank robbery, and two counts of violating 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(c), use of a firearm in the commission of a
felony. (Criminal Case, Doc. 187, p. 2). He was sentenced to
552 months, with mandatory consecutive terms of 84 months and
300 months for the § 924(c) convictions. (Id.
at p. 3). Williams appealed his conviction and the Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals vacated his sentence and remanded
the case for resentencing as the district court failed to
consider Williams' mental disability as a mitigating
factor. United States v. Williams, 553 F.3d 1073,
1084-85 (7th Cir. 2010). On remand, the court sentenced
Williams to a term of 444 months of imprisonment, with the
mandatory 384 months of imprisonment for the § 924(c)
convictions. (Criminal Case, Doc. 281, p. 3).
filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Petition in the Central
District of Illinois in 2012. Williams v. United
States, No. 12-cv-2051-MPM-DGB (C.D. Ill.)
(“§ 2255 Petition”). He argued that he was
denied ineffective assistance of counsel on six grounds: (1)
counsel did not get a second opinion from a psychiatric
examiner to show that Williams was not competent to stand
trial and lacked the necessary mens rea for the
crimes, (2) counsel did not move for severance from the other
defendants, (3) counsel did not conduct an adequate
investigation, (4) counsel failed to cross-examine witnesses,
(5) counsel failed to object to prejudicial hearsay
testimony, and (6) counsel failed to request certain jury
instructions and object to the instructions given by the
Court. (§ 2255 Petition, Doc. 13, p. 7). With respect to
the issue regarding jury instructions, Williams specifically
argued that counsel was ineffective because no instruction
was given regarding the credibility of accomplice witnesses
and the court failed to instruct the jury on the elements of
the offenses charged and his right to testify. (Id.
at p. 15). The court found Williams' arguments frivolous
as instructions were given on the elements and his right not
to testify, and the instructions cautioned the jury regarding
cooperating witnesses' testimony. (Id. at p.
16). Williams appealed the decision and his appeal was
denied. (§ 2255 Petition, Doc. 27).
filed the instant § 2241 Petition on March 28, 2019,
asserting that his § 924(c) convictions are invalid
pursuant to Rosemond v. United States, 134 S.Ct.
1240 (2014) and requesting that this Court vacate his
conviction as to those Counts. Williams argues the trial
court's jury instruction regarding § 924(c) failed
to require proof that Williams knew in advance that his
accomplices were armed and would brandish the firearms during
their crimes of violence. (Doc. 1, p. 4). He further argues
that the savings clause applies to permit him to use §
2241 to raise this claim. (Id. at p. 3-4).
prisoner who has been convicted in federal court is generally
limited to challenging his conviction and sentence by
bringing a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the
court which sentenced him. See, Kramer v. Olson, 347
F.3d 214, 217 (7th Cir. 2003). Under very limited
circumstances, a prisoner may employ 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to
challenge his conviction and sentence. Section 2255(e)
contains a “savings clause” which authorizes a
federal prisoner to file a § 2241 petition where the
remedy under § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective
to test the legality of his detention.” “A
procedure for postconviction 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.” In re
Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 611 (7th Cir. 1998). In order
to trigger the savings clause, a petitioner must meet three
conditions: (1) he must show that he relies on a new
statutory interpretation case rather than a constitutional
case; (2) he must show that he relies on a decision that he
could not have invoked in his first § 2255 motion
and that applies retroactively; and (3) he must
demonstrate that there has been a “fundamental
defect” in his conviction or sentence that is grave
enough to be deemed a miscarriage of justice. Brown v.
Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013); see also
Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012).
Seventh Circuit has found that Rosemond is a
retroactive case of statutory construction. Montana v.
Cross, 829 F.3d 775, 783 (7th Cir. 2016). However,
Rosemond only triggers the savings clause if a
petitioner was completely foreclosed from making an actual
knowledge argument at the time of his § 2255 petition.
In other words, a petitioner must show that “it would
have been futile to raise a claim in the petitioner's
original section 2255 motion, as the law was squarely against
him.” Id. (citing Webster v. Daniels,
784 F.3d 1123, 1136 (7th Cir. 2015) (internal quotations
omitted). In Montana, the Seventh Circuit found that
petitioner could have raised his arguments regarding the
knowledge requirement of § 924(c) in his initial
petition as the law of the Seventh Circuit never established
that constructive knowledge was enough and it was, thus, open
to petitioner to argue that the offense required actual
knowledge. Id. at 784-85 (citing United States
v. Woods, 148 F.3d 843 (7th Cir. 1998); United
States v. Taylor, 225 F.3d 593 (7th Cir. 2000)). Thus,
the Seventh Circuit found that petitioner could have argued
in his original § 2255 petition “that the
Government had to prove actual knowledge of the presence of
the firearm to sustain his conviction” under §
924(c). Id. at 785.
argues that in denying his § 2255 petition, the Central
District specifically noted that § 924(c) was not a
specific intent crime which suggests that it would have been
futile to raise an argument regarding the actual knowledge
requirement in his petition. (Doc. 1, p. 8). But Williams,
like the petitioner in Montana, was convicted in the
Seventh Circuit. Thus, the law at the time allowed for
Williams to make an argument in his original § 2255
petition that the Government had to prove actual rather than
constructive knowledge regarding the carrying of a firearm
during the crime of violence. See also Chaney v.
Cross, No. 15-cv-211-DRH-CJP, 2017 WL 5483630, at * 6
(S.D.Ill. 2017) (“Seventh Circuit case law prior to
Rosemond did not prevent Petitioner from asserting
the Government was required to prove actual, advance
knowledge of the firearm in his initial § 2255
motion.”); Ruiz v. Williams, No.
15-cv-372-JDP, 2018 WL 443347, at * 6 (W.D. Wis. 2018).
Because Williams could have raised his arguments regarding
the jury instructions as it relates to his § 924(c)
conviction in his original petition, he has failed to meet
the requirements of the § 2255's savings clause.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) is
DISMISSED with prejudice.
Petitioner wishes to appeal this dismissal, he may file a
notice of appeal with this Court within the time allotted in
Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(B). A motion for leave to appeal
in forma pauperis should set forth the issues
Petitioner plans to present on appeal. See Fed. R.
App. P. 24(a)(1)(C). If Petitioner does choose to appeal and
is allowed to proceed IFP, he will be required to pay a
portion of the $505.00 appellate filing fee in order to
pursue his appeal (the amount to be determined based on his
prison trust fund account records for the past six months)
irrespective of the outcome of the appeal. See Fed.
R. App. P. 3(e); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); Ammons v.
Gerlinger, 547 F.3d 724, 725-26 (7th Cir. 2008);
Sloan v. Lesza, 181 F.3d 857, 858-59 (7th Cir.
1999); Lucienv. Jockisch, 133 F.3d 464,
467 (7th Cir. 1998). A timely motion filed pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil ...