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Mobley v. United States

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 27, 2014

Lorendo Mobley, Petitioner,
v.
United States of America, Respondent.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

STEVEN E. RAU, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Petitioner's application for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The case has been referred to this Court for report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons discussed below, it is recommended that the petition for writ of habeas corpus be summarily dismissed pursuant to Rule 4 of The Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases In The United States District Courts.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner is an inmate at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota serving a 229-month prison sentence that was imposed by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Petitioner's sentence stems from the criminal case identified as United States v. Mobley, No. 1:02-cr-153-CG-D, [hereafter "the Alabama criminal case"]. The trial court record for the Alabama criminal case is accessible to this Court through the federal judiciary's record keeping procedure known as "Case Management/Electronic Case Filing, " or "CM/ECF."

The Alabama criminal case record shows that in 2002 a federal jury found Petitioner guilty on one count of conspiracy to possess and distribute crack cocaine, and two counts of possessing a firearm in connection with a drug-related crime. He was sentenced to 169 months in prison on the controlled substance offense, plus 60 months for the first firearm offense, to be served consecutively. Petitioner also was sentenced to 120 months in prison for the second firearm offense, but that sentence was made concurrent with the sentence imposed for the controlled substance offense. Thus, Petitioner's aggregate prison sentence was 229 months.

Petitioner's sentence also included a five-year term of supervised release for the controlled substance offense, a five-year term of supervised release for the first firearm offense, and a three-year term of supervised release for the second firearm offense. All of Petitioner's supervised release terms were concurrent, so his aggregate term of supervised release is five years.

After his conviction and sentencing, Petitioner filed a direct appeal in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, but his appeal was unsuccessful. In 2007, Petitioner filed a motion in the trial court, seeking post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 which was summarily dismissed, because it was untimely.[2] The record in the Alabama criminal case shows that Petitioner has filed several other motions in that case seeking various forms of relief, but it appears that all of those motions have been denied.

Petitioner's current habeas corpus petition challenges his Alabama criminal. He contends that his five-year term of supervised release should have been made concurrent with his prison sentence, because "[i]t's the discretion of the District Court to run supervised release sentences concurrent." (Petition, p. 7, § 13, "Ground One.") The Court finds, however, that Petitioner's current challenge to his sentence in the Alabama criminal case cannot be asserted in a § 2241 habeas corpus petition.

II. DISCUSSION

As a general rule, a federal prisoner can maintain a collateral challenge to his conviction or sentence only by filing a motion in the trial court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Abdullah v. Hedrick, 392 F.3d 957, 959 (8th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 545 U.S. 1147 (2005). Subsection 2255(e) provides that

[a]n application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to this section [i.e., § 2255], shall not be entertained if it appears that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention."

In effect, a motion brought pursuant to § 2255 is the exclusive remedy available to a federal prisoner who is asserting a collateral challenge to his conviction or sentence that motion must be made to the trial court. "It is well settled a collateral challenge to a federal conviction or sentence must generally be raised in a motion to vacate filed in the sentencing court under § 2255... and not in a habeas petition filed in the court of incarceration... under § 2241." Hill v. Morrison, 349 F.3d 1089, 1091 (8th Cir. 2003). No court has jurisdiction to hear a federal prisoner's collateral challenge to his original conviction or sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, unless the prisoner has affirmatively demonstrated that the remedy provided by § 2255 "is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of... [his] detention.'" DeSimone v. Lacy, 805 F.2d 321, 323 (8th Cir. 1986) ( per curiam ), quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See also Von Ludwitz v. Ralston, 716 F.2d 528, 529 (8th Cir. 1983) ( per curiam ) (same). The "inadequate or ineffective remedy" exception is sometimes called the "savings clause, " ( Abdullah, 392 F.3d at 959), because when it applies, it can save a § 2241 habeas petition from being dismissed under the § 2255 exclusive remedy rule.

In this case, it is apparent that Petitioner is challenging his Alabama criminal sentence. He claims that the supervised release term of his sentence should be concurrent with his prison term. Because Petitioner is challenging the propriety of his sentence, § 2255's exclusive remedy rule bars his current habeas corpus petition unless the savings clause applies here.

In some cases, a § 2241 habeas petition that is barred by the exclusive remedy rule can simply be construed to be a motion brought under § 2255. The matter can then be transferred to the trial court judge so the prisoner's claims can be addressed on the merits there. Here, however, Petitioner is precluded from seeking relief under § 2255, because he previously filed a § 2255 motion in 2007. Any new request for § 2255 relief that would have to be treated as a "second or successive" § 2255 motion, which, under the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, ("AEDPA"), the trial court could ...


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