United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BRISBOIS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Antwoyn Spencer was convicted in this District on
cocaine-distribution and money-laundering offenses; he was
sentenced to a total of 324 months imprisonment,
See, United States v. Spencer, No.
07-CR-0174 (JRT/JJG), and his conviction and sentence were
affirmed on appeal. See, United States v.
Spencer, 592 F.3d 866 (8th Cir. 2010). After his
conviction became final, Petitioner filed a bevy of motions
attacking the validity of his conviction, including motions
brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Each of these
challenges was rejected given the repeat filings, and indeed,
restrictions were imposed upon him in his criminal
proceedings. Spencer, No. 07-CR-0174, ECF No. 408 at
2. (D. Minn. Aug. 17, 2012).
while Petitioner was serving his sentence at the Federal
Correctional Institution at Greenville, Illinois, he again
repeatedly sought habeas corpus relief on the grounds that
his conviction was invalid. Each time, his petitions were
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; Spencer could proceed on
his claims, if at all, only pursuant to § 2255, not
through a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 as he was doing. See, Spencer
v. Cross, No. 13-CV-1133 (DRH), 2013 WL 6196555 (S.D.
Ill. Nov. 26, 2013); Spencer v. Cross, No.
14-CV-0056 (DRH), 2014 WL 509522 (S.D. Ill. Feb. 10, 2014);
Spencer v. United States, No. 14-CV-0756 (DRH), 2014
WL 3635304 (S.D. Ill. July 23, 2014); Spencer v.
Cross, No. 14-CV-0893 (DRH), 2014 WL 4457301 (S.D. Ill.
Sept. 10, 2014); Spencer v. Cross, No. 14-CV-935
(DRH), 2014 4637004 (S.D. Ill. Sept. 17, 2014). Eventually,
the Petitioner's repeated filing led to the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Illinois imposing
a $500.00 fine and prohibiting him from initiating new civil
litigation (including habeas corpus litigation) until that
fine was paid. See, Spencer v. Cross, No.
14-CV-0983 (DRH), 2014 WL 4979856, at *2-3 (S.D. Ill. Oct. 6,
officials then transferred Petitioner to the Federal
Correctional Institution at Pekin, Illinois, a facility
located within the Central District of Illinois. Here the
process of repeated filings began anew, with Petitioner
filing three more petitions for a writ of habeas corpus.
See, Spencer v. Krueger, No. 1:15-CV-1320
(JES) (C.D. Ill. filed Aug. 5, 2015); Spencer v.
Krueger, No. 1:16-CV-1043 (JBM) (C.D. Ill. filed Feb. 3,
2016); Spencer v. Krueger, No. 1:16-CV-1113 (MMM)
(C.D. Ill. filed Apr. 13, 2016). Again, all three petitions
were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
has now returned to Minnesota, where he is incarcerated at
the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone. On April
27, 2017, he filed yet another petition for a writ of habeas
corpus, this time arguing that the crimes for which he was
convicted had not been adequately presented to the grand
jury. See, Spencer v. Watson, No.
17-CV-1381 (WMW/DTS) (D. Minn. filed Apr. 27, 2017). This
petition, like all the others, was dismissed for lack of
As Spencer surely knows by this time, “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) (citing DeSimone v. Lacy, 805 F.2d 321, 323
(8th Cir. 1986). If a federal prisoner brings his claim in
the court of incarceration under § 2241, the Court
cannot entertain the petition unless the prisoner first shows
“that § 2255 would be inadequate or
ineffective.” Abdullah v. Hedrick, 392 F.3d
957, 959 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing Hill); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) (a habeas petition from a
federal prisoner “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”). The court of incarceration
“has subject matter jurisdiction only if the remedies
in the sentencing district are inadequate or
ineffective.” Hill, 349 F.3d at 1090. The
“inadequate or ineffective” language in 2255(e)
is sometimes called the “savings clause, ”
Abdullah, 392 F.3d at 959, because it can save a
§ 2241 habeas petition from being dismissed. The
prisoner has the burden of establishing that § 2255 is
inadequate or ineffective. Hill, 349 F.3d at 1091.
For a prisoner to establish that § 2255 is inadequate or
ineffective in a particular case, “there must be more
than a procedural barrier to bringing a § 2255
petition.” Abdullah, 392 F.3d at 959 (citing
Hill). Section 2255 will not be viewed as inadequate
or ineffective merely because “§ 2255 relief has
already been denied, . . . or because petitioner has been
denied permission to file a second or successive § 2255
motion . . . or because a second or successive § 2255
motion has been dismissed, . . . or because petitioner has
allowed the one year statute of limitations and/or grace
period to expire.” United States v. Lurie, 207
F.3d 1075, 1077 (8th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted); see
also Abdullah, 392 F.3d at 959. Notably for purposes of
this case, “[a] prisoner cannot raise, in a § 2241
motion filed in the district of incarceration, an issue which
could have been or actually was raised in the § 2255
motion filed in the sentencing district.”
Hill, 349 F.3d at 1092 (8th Cir. 2003) (citing
Lurie, 207 F.3d at 1077-78).
After filing multiple § 2241 petitions in the Southern
District of Illinois, Spencer has now filed a § 2241
petition here where he was sentenced and is currently
incarcerated. . . . [T]he Eighth Circuit has established that
inmates may not bypass the authorization requirement of 28
U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3) for filing a second or successive
§ 2254 or § 2255 action by purporting to invoke
some other procedure. Despite his burden, Spencer has made no
effort to show that the savings clause is applicable in his
case and the Court finds no basis after careful review of the
petition. Because the savings clause is not applicable,
Spencer's current § 2241 habeas corpus petition is
barred by the exclusive remedy provision of § 2255(e),
and this action must be summarily dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction. See DeSimone, 805 F.2d at 323-24
(§ 2241 habeas petition challenging prior criminal
conviction was properly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,
where petitioner had not demonstrated that § 2255 motion
was an inadequate or ineffective remedy); Abdullah,
392 F.3d at 964 (“[b]ecause Abdullah did not show that
§ 2255 was inadequate or ineffective, the district court
correctly concluded that it had no jurisdiction to consider
his claim in a § 2241 petition”).
Spencer, No. 17-CV-1381 (WMW/DTS), Docket No. 4 at
3-5 (D. Minn. entered June 12, 2017) (some citations and
two weeks of the dismissal of that April 2017, habeas
petition, Petitioner filed the present Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus currently before the Court. This most recent
Petition raises claims identical to those raised in his
is nothing more to say that has not already been said during
the numerous prior habeas proceedings initiated by
Petitioner. A habeas corpus petition is not an appropriate
vehicle for challenging the validity of a conviction or
sentence unless § 2255 is inadequate to the task. That
Spencer must now seek authorization from the Eighth Circuit
before pursuing relief under § 2255 does not render that
provision inadequate or ineffective. This Court cannot
consider the merits of the present habeas corpus petition. It
must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction like the rest.
final warning is warranted. As recognized by previous Courts,
Petitioner has persisted in frivolous litigation time and
again, here and elsewhere. Courts twice have been compelled
to levy fines, impose restrictions on filing, or both in an
attempt to stave off the repetitive, meritless motions or
petitions. Although prisoners, like all litigants, have a
right of access to the courts, that right does not extend to
the filing of frivolous, malicious, or duplicative documents.
See, In re Tyler, 839 F.2d 1290 (8th Cir.
1988). Should Petitioner persist in filing petitions raising
the very same claims as were rejected previously, he may very
well once again find himself subject to further filing
restrictions, fines, or both.
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and