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Jenkins v. Nicklin

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 7, 2015

ANITRA JENKINS, Petitioner,
v.
JULIE NICKLIN, Respondent.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

FRANKLIN L. NOEL, Magistrate Judge.

Petitioner Anitra Jenkins, a prisoner at the Federal Correctional Institution in Waseca, Minnesota, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In her habeas petition, Jenkins challenges the validity of a federal conviction and sentence incurred in Texas. This Court, however, lacks jurisdiction to consider Jenkins's habeas petition, as her challenge should have been brought in a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the district of conviction. Accordingly, this Court recommends that Jenkins's habeas petition be summarily dismissed without prejudice pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

Jenkins was the subject of two indictments filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in 2002 and 2003. In the first indictment, Jenkins was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. See United States v. Jenkins, No. 6:03-cr-00075-1 (S.D. Tex. filed Dec. 11, 2002). In the second indictment, Jenkins was charged with bank robbery and knowingly possessing of a firearm in furtherance of that bank robbery. See United States v. Jenkins, No. 6:03-cr-00050-1 (S.D. Tex. filed Aug. 1, 2003). Jenkins pleaded guilty to all three counts. As a result, she was sentenced to a 178-month term of imprisonment on the bank robbery charge, a concurrent 120-month term of imprisonment on the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a consecutive 84-month term of imprisonment on the charge of knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. The convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal. See United States v. Jenkins, 144 Fed.App'x 418, 418 (5th Cir. 2005) (per curiam).

Jenkins has since filed at least two motions for relief under § 2255 in the Southern District of Texas. In her first motion, Jenkins claimed (1) that her guilty plea was not voluntary, as she did not understand the nature of the charges against her; (2) that the government committed prosecutorial misconduct in several respects; (3) that her counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to raise the issue of her substantial assistance to the government at sentencing; (4) that the government failed to honor the plea agreement by not recommending a reduced sentence on account of her cooperation; and (5) that the sentencing court should not have found that the career-offender enhancement applied under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. This motion was denied on the merits. See Jenkins, No. 6:03-cr-0075-1, ECF No. 75 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 19, 2008).

Jenkins second motion under § 2255 claimed that the Supreme Court's then-recent decision in Alleyne v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), entitled her to relief. This motion too was denied, as the sentencing court found that Alleyne was not made retroactive to cases on collateral review. See Jenkins, No. 6:03-cr-0075-1, ECF No. 78 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 24, 2013).

Jenkins has now filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this District. Jenkins's petition is somewhat unfocused, raising several challenges to her convictions and sentences in a haphazard fashion. Specifically, Jenkins contends in her petition that her convictions or sentences were invalid in the following respects:

First, Jenkins renews her arguments that the sentencing court incorrectly applied the career-offender enhancement, because that court incorrectly counted state convictions and juvenile convictions towards that enhancement. See Petition at 2, 4 [ECF No. 1].

Second, Jenkins argues that her simultaneous convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence constituted "double counting" of the same offense. Id. at 3.

Third, Jenkins argues that her right to a jury trial was violated when the sentencing court found certain facts at sentencing which enhanced her recommended imprisonment range under the Sentencing Guidelines. Id. at 4.

Fourth, Jenkins denies that she ever admitted to possessing a firearm and therefore should not have been convicted of that offense. Id. at 5.

II. ANALYSIS

"A federal inmate generally must challenge a conviction or sentence through a § 2255 motion." Lopez-Lopez v. Sanders, 590 F.3d 905, 907 (8th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). Therefore, "[i]t 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). Federal district courts lack jurisdiction to hear a federal prisoner's collateral challenge to her original conviction or sentence brought in a habeas petition unless the prisoner demonstrates that the remedy provided by § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of her detention. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) ("An application for a writ of habeas corpus [on] behalf of a [federal] prisoner... shall not be entertained... unless it also appears that the remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention."); DeSimone v. Lacy, 805 F.2d 321, 323 (8th Cir. 1986) (per curiam). The "inadequate or ineffective remedy" exception is sometimes called the "savings clause, " see Abdullah v. Hedrick, 392 F.3d 957, 959 (8th Cir. 2004), because, when it applies, it can "save" a habeas petition from being dismissed under the § 2255(e) exclusive-remedy rule.

Jenkins acknowledges that she is challenging the validity of her conviction and sentence. See ECF No. 1-2 at 1. She also acknowledges that, generally speaking, such a challenge must be raised through a motion brought under § 2255. See Petition at 2-3. Nevertheless, Jenkins argues that § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective in ...


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