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Peltier v. United States

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 17, 2015

Stacy Lee Peltier, Petitioner,
United States of America, Respondent.

Stacy Lee Peltier, Federal Correctional Institution-Sandstone, Unit F, Sandstone, MN, pro se.

Benjamin F. Langer, United States Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN, for Respondent.


HILDY BOWBEER, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Stacy Lee Peltier's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [Doc. No. 1] and Motion for Bond Pending Court's Decision [Doc. No. 11]. Peltier is presently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone, Minnesota. He claims that his sentence should be vacated by reason of the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013); Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013); and Begay v. United States, 553 U.S. 137 (2008). The case was referred for report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that the petition be denied and the case be dismissed without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.

I. Background

Peltier burglarized numerous commercial buildings in 1992 and 1993. United States v. Peltier, 276 F.3d 1003, 1005 (8th Cir. 2002). He pleaded guilty to eighteen counts of burglary and was sentenced to concurrent five-year terms of imprisonment in North Dakota state court. Id. Not long after his release from state prison, Peltier committed several federal crimes. On October 11, 2000, he was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota of being a felon in possession of a firearm and for possessing a firearm while under indictment. (Resp't's Resp. Ex. 1 (Order at 1, Peltier v. United States, Case No. 1:13-cv-88 (D.N.D. Sept. 3, 2013) [Doc. No. 3-1].) On October 16, 2000, Peltier pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. ( Id. )

At a consolidated sentencing hearing on December 21, 2000, the court determined in the methamphetamine-possession case that Peltier was a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, because he was at least eighteen years old and had two earlier convictions for crimes of violence. Peltier, 276 F.3d at 1005; (Resp't's Resp. Ex. 1 at 1). In the firearm-possession case, the court determined that Peltier was an Armed Career Criminal under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), because he had at least three prior convictions for violent felonies. Peltier, 276 F.3d at 1005; (Resp't's Resp. Ex. 1 at 1). Finding Peltier's criminal history overstated, however, the court granted a downward departure to a Guidelines range of 292 to 365 months. Peltier, 276 F.3d at 1005. Peltier was sentenced to concurrent sentences of 292 months on the firearm conviction and 210 months on the methamphetamine conviction. (Resp't's Resp. Ex. 1 at 1.) Peltier appealed, and the convictions and sentences were affirmed. Peltier, 276 F.3d at 1005.

In 2003, Peltier filed a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 with the sentencing court. (Resp't's Resp. Ex. 1 at 1.) The motion was denied on January 27, 2004, and Peltier did not appeal. ( Id. at 1-2.)

On August 5, 2013, Peltier filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition with the sentencing court, challenging the legality of his sentence under Descamps, Alleyne, and Begay. (Resp't's Resp. Ex. 1 at 2; see Resp't's Resp. Ex. 2 (Resp't's Resp. to Application at 2, Peltier v. United States, No. 13-3343 (8th Cir. Nov. 7, 2013)) [Doc. No. 3-2].) The court denied the petition for lack of jurisdiction because Peltier was not incarcerated in North Dakota. (Resp't's Resp. Ex. 1 at 3.) The court refrained from commenting on the merits, but noted that, as a procedural matter, the issues should have been raised in a § 2255 motion instead of a § 2241 petition. ( Id. at 3.) Given that the petition was not filed in the proper district, the court found that § 2255(e)'s savings clause could not apply, and that the savings clause would not apply in any event because Peltier had not shown § 2255 to be inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his incarceration. ( Id. at 4.) Finally, the court remarked that even if the § 2241 petition were construed as a § 2255 motion, the Eighth Circuit had not authorized Peltier to file a second § 2255 motion. ( Id. )

Peltier next petitioned the Eighth Circuit for permission to file a successive § 2255 motion, on the grounds of Descamps, Alleyne, and Begay. (Def.'s Mot. Requesting Permission File Second Pet., Peltier v. United States, Case No. 13-3343 (8th Cir. Oct. 25, 2013). He argued that Descamps and Begay applied retroactively to his case, and that he could not have raised Begay in his first § 2255 motion because Begay had not been decided at that time. ( Id. at 2, 3.) Peltier also argued that, under Alleyne, the sentencing court could not have sentenced him as a career criminal without specific factual findings made by a jury. ( Id. at 5.) In a one-sentence order issued on March 17, 2014, the Eighth Circuit denied the petition. (Resp't's Resp. Ex. 2 (J., Peltier v. United States, No. 13-3343 (8th Cir. Mar. 17, 2014)) [Doc. No. 3-2 at 1].)

Peltier filed his § 2241 petition [Doc. No. 1] in this Court approximately two months later, on May 5, 2014. Respondent timely responded to the petition [Doc. No. 3], and Peltier timely filed a reply [Doc. No. 4]. Although the Court ordered that no further submissions would be permitted absent express authorization, Respondent nonetheless filed a surreply [Doc. No. 5], to which Peltier both objected and responded in a surreply of his own [Doc. No. 6]. Peltier later filed a motion for release on bond pending a resolution of his habeas petition [Doc. No. 11]. Even though the surreplies and motion for release were not authorized by the Court, no party will be prejudiced and justice will be served best by consideration of the full record. Therefore, the Court will consider all submissions filed by either party to date.

II. Discussion

Title 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and § 2255 provide federal prisoners with distinct forms of collateral relief. A prisoner "may attack the execution of his sentence through § 2241 in the district where he is incarcerated; a challenge to the validity of the sentence itself must be brought under § 2255 in the district of the sentencing court." Matheny v. Morrison, 307 F.3d 709, 711 (8th Cir. 2002). Generally, § 2255 provides the "exclusive remedy" for a collateral attack on the validity of a sentence. Rojas v. Apker, 470 F.App'x 522, 523 (8th Cir. 2012).

Here, Peltier is challenging the validity of his sentence. Thus, he must bring his claims in a § 2255 motion filed in the district where he was sentenced, see id., unless he can establish that § 2255 is "inadequate or ineffective to ...

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