from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas
JOLLY, SMITH, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.
E. SMITH, Circuit Judge
Santillana filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under
28 U.S.C. § 2241, claiming that she is entitled to
relief under Burrage v. United States, 134 S.Ct. 881
(2014). The district court dismissed the petition for lack of
jurisdiction, finding that Santillana had not satisfied the
"savings clause" of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e)
because Burrage is not retroactively applicable on
collateral review. Because Burrage applies
retroactively, we reverse and remand.
was convicted in 2009 of distributing a schedule II
controlled substance (methadone) that resulted in the death
of Brandon Moore, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)
and (b)(1)(C). We described the facts in detail in our
opinion from Santillana's direct appeal, United
States v. Santillana, 604 F.3d 192, 193-95 (5th Cir.
appeal, Santillana contended, inter alia, that there
was insufficient evidence to show that Moore's death
"result[ed]" from methadone within the meaning of
§ 841(b)(1)(C). Santillana conceded that all three
medical witnesses, including her own expert, concluded that
methadone was at least a contributing cause of death. She
maintained, however, that the plain meaning of
"results" implies "a stronger degree of
causation than mere contribution." She did not explain
what that "stronger degree of causation" might be.
We affirmed, explaining that even if Santillana were correct,
"there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to
conclude that Moore's death resulted from his use of
methadone under a heightened standard of causation."
Santillana, 604 F.3d at 196-97.
in Burrage, the Court "h[eld] that, at least
where use of the drug distributed by the defendant is not an
independently sufficient cause of the victim's death or
serious bodily injury, a defendant cannot be liable under the
penalty enhancement provision of 21 U.S.C. §
841(b)(1)(C) unless such use is a but-for cause of the death
or injury." Burrage, 134 S.Ct. at 892.
Santillana filed a habeas petition under § 2241,
alleging that, under Burrage's interprettation
of "results, " she is actually innocent of her
§ 841(b)(1)(C) conviction. The district court dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction because it concluded that, absent an
explicit holding from the Supreme Court, it lacked the
authority to determine whether Burrage was
to attack a conviction collaterally, a federal prisoner can
seek relief only by a § 2255 petition. Kenemore v.
Roy, 690 F.3d 639, 640 (5th Cir. 2012). But under the
"savings clause" of § 2255(e), he may file a
§ 2241 habeas petition if § 2255 is
"inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his
detention." Section 2255 is "inadequate or
(1) the [§ 2241] petition raises a claim "that is
based on a retroactively applicable Supreme Court
decision"; (2) the claim was previously "foreclosed
by circuit law at the time when [it] should have been raised
in petitioner's trial, appeal or first § 2255
motion"; and (3) that retroactively applicable decision
establishes that "the petitioner may have been convicted
of a nonexistent offense."
Garland v. Roy, 615 F.3d 391, 394 (5th Cir. 2010)
(quoting Reyes-Requena v. United States,
243 F.3d 893, 895 (5th Cir. 2001)) (first alteration added).
"The petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating that
the section 2255 remedy is inadequate or ineffective."
Pack v. Yusuff, 218 F.3d 448, 452 (5th Cir. 2000).
Although we have not yet considered whether Burrage
is applicable retroactively,  our caselaw "establishes
that new [Supreme Court] decisions interpreting federal
statutes that substantively define criminal offenses
automatically apply retroactively." Such
interpretative decisions "decid[e] for the entire
country how courts should have read the statute since it was
enacted." Kenemore, 690 F.3d at 641. They apply
retroactively because they "necessarily carry a
significant risk that a defendant stands convicted of an act
that the law does not make criminal . . . ."
Schriro, 542 U.S. at 352 ...