United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
LOUIS JAMES REG. # 14248-026
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KATHELEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the court is the pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus
filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 by Louis James. James
is an inmate in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons and is
currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institute
at Oakdale, Louisiana.
matter has been referred to the undersigned for review,
report, and recommendation in accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636 and the standing orders of this court. For the
reasons stated below, IT IS RECOMMENDED that
the action be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
for lack of jurisdiction.
a jury trial, James was convicted in the United States
District Court for the Central District of Illinois of (1)
possession with intent to distribute narcotics, a violation
of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a); (2) possession of a firearm in
furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, a violation 18
U.S.C. § 924(c); and (3) unlawful possession of a
firearm by a convicted felon, a violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g). United States v. James, No. 04-cr-20025,
doc. 41 (C.D. Ill. Feb. 14, 2005). He was sentenced to terms
of imprisonment totaling 360 months: 300 months on Count 1,
60 months on Count 2, and 120 months on Count 3, with the
terms imposed for Counts 1 and 3 to run concurrently to each
other and the term imposed for Count 2 to run consecutively
to those sentences. Id. at doc. 54; see
unnumbered Docket Entry at February 9, 2005. James filed a
Notice of Appeal to the United States Seventh Circuit Court
of Appeal, and that court affirmed his conviction and
sentence on September 22, 2006. Id. at docs. 55, 69.
James filed a pro se “Motion Urging Remand, ”
which the Seventh Circuit construed as a petition for
rehearing and denied. United States v. James, 555
F.3d 563 (7th Cir. 2009). The United States Supreme Court
denied his petition for writ of certiorari on April 20, 2009.
James v. United States, 129 S.Ct. 2035 (2009).
time James also began seeking relief in Central District of
Illinois under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He filed a motion to
vacate on December 26, 2007, claiming ineffective assistance
of counsel. James v. United States, No.
2:07-cv-2247, docs. 1, 3 (C.D. Ill. Aug. 18, 2008). The court
found no merit to this claim and denied the motion.
Id. at docs. 13, 14. James filed a “Motion to
Vacate Unconstitutional Conviction” on or about
November 12, 2009, but withdrew the motion shortly
thereafter, once the court announced that it would be
construed under § 2255. James v. United States,
No. 2:09-cv-2272 (C.D. Ill.Dec. 10, 2009). Finally, James
filed a third motion to vacate on or about November 21, 2011.
James v. United States, No. 2:11-cv-2279 (C.D. Ill.
Nov. 21, 2011). That motion was denied for lack of
jurisdiction by judgment entered the following day, based on
James's failure to obtain authorization from the Seventh
Circuit for the filing of a successive § 2255 motion.
Id. at docs. 3, 4. James sought post-judgment relief
in 2013, and the court likewise denied the post-judgment
motion for lack of jurisdiction. Id. at docs. 5, 9.
now brings the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He claims that he is actually
innocent of the drug possession conviction, based on the
Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), as made retroactively
applicable in Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257
(2016). Doc. 1, att. 1.
corpus petitions filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
are generally used to challenge the manner in which a
sentence is executed. See Warren v. Miles, 230 F.3d
688, 694 (5th Cir. 2000). A motion to vacate sentence filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 allows federal inmates to
collaterally attack the legality of their convictions or
sentences. Cox v. Warden, Fed. Det. Ctr., 911 F.2d
1111, 1113 (5th Cir. 1990). Here James collaterally attacks
his conviction, arguing that he has been convicted of a
nonexistent offense or that the evidence was insufficient to
support his conviction. Therefore, his claim should be
advanced in a motion to vacate.
savings clause of 28 U.S.C § 2255 permits a petitioner
to seek habeas relief under § 2241 when the
remedy provided under § 2255 is “inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e). “A § 2241 petition is not,
however, a substitute for a motion under § 2255, and the
burden of coming forward with evidence to show the inadequacy
or ineffectiveness of a motion under § 2255 rests
squarely on the petitioner.” Jeffers v.
Chandler, 253 F.3d 827, 830 (5th Cir. 2001). The fact
that a prior motion was unsuccessful, or that the petitioner
is unable to meet the statute's second or successive
requirement, does not make § 2255 inadequate or
ineffective. Id. Instead, James must demonstrate the
following to satisfy § 2255's savings clause: (1)
that his claim is based on a retroactively applicable Supreme
Court decision establishing that he may have been convicted
of a nonexistent offense, and (2) that his
claim was foreclosed by circuit law at the time when it
should have been raised in his trial, appeal, or first §
2255 motion. Reyes-Requena v. United States, 243
F.3d 893, 903-04 (5th Cir. 2001).
was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). If an offender
convicted under that statute has three or more prior
convictions for a serious drug offense or a violent felony,
then, under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”), he is subject to a mandatory minimum
sentence of 15 years. 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). This same
mandatory minimum applied at the time of James's
sentencing. In Johnson, supra, the Supreme Court
invalidated the residual clause of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e),
through which courts determined whether a prior conviction
was a violent felony, as unconstitutionally vague.
Johnson was not decided until after James's
first § 2255 motion was denied, and he invokes it here
as a basis for relief. James's claims, however, relate to
his narcotics conviction rather than his firearm possession
conviction, and to the elements ...