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Pallares-Trujillo v. Director Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

October 30, 2018


         SECTION P



         Before the court is a pro se petition filed by Stevenson Jair Pallares-Trujillo and other inmates, originally filed as a civil rights action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Doc. 1. That court construed the petition as one requesting habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, severed it as to individual petitioners, and transferred the cases to the districts where petitioners were incarcerated. See doc. 34. Accordingly, this matter was transferred to the Southern District of Mississippi, where the petitioner is presently in custody, and finally to this court, where the petitioner's claims of improper confinement arose at the Federal Correctional Institute at Oakdale, Louisiana (“FCIO”). Id.; doc. 45. It now comes before the undersigned for initial review under 28 U.S.C. § 636 and the standing orders of this court.



         Pallares-Trujillo filed this action with several other inmates then incarcerated at FCIO, alleging that they were being improperly detained there. Doc. 1. Since that time, however, Pallares-Trujillo was transferred to Adams County Correctional Center/Correctional Institute Adams County in Washington, Mississippi, a contract facility of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). A search of the Federal Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator reveals that he is still in BOP custody. Pallares-Trujillo declined to file a separate 2241 petitions on the forms provided in the Southern District of Mississippi. See docs. 39-41. Accordingly, the only allegations Pallares-Trujillo has provided in support of his request for habeas relief are the general allegations in the original, collective petition that the petitioners' extradition to the United States from Central America and conviction here of various federal crimes amounts to a violation of constitutional rights and international law. Doc. 1.


         Law & Analysis

         A. Screening of Habeas Corpus Petitions

         A district court may apply any and all of the rules governing habeas petitions filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 to those filed under § 2241. See Rule 1(b), Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases authorizes preliminary review of such petitions, and states that they must be summarily dismissed “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Id. at Rule 4. To avoid summary dismissal under Rule 4, the petition must contain factual allegations pointing to a “real possibility of constitutional error.” Id. at Rule 4, advisory committee note (quoting Aubut v. Maine, 431 F.2d 688, 689 (1st Cir. 1970)). Accordingly, we review the pleadings and exhibits before us to determine whether any right to relief is indicated, or whether the petition must be dismissed.

         B. Section 2241

         A § 2241 petition on behalf of a sentenced prisoner “attacks the manner in which a sentence is carried out or the prison authorities' determination of its duration.” Pack v. Yusuff, 218 F.3d 448, 451 (5th Cir. 2000). In order to prevail, a § 2241 petitioner must show that he is “in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).

         Pallares-Trujillo's petition, which appears to allege errors in his extradition proceedings and sentencing, is a collateral attack on his conviction. Such attacks are generally limited to a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.[1] Jeffers v. Chandler, 253 F.3d 827, 830 (5th Cir. 2001); Tolliver v. Dobre, 211 F.3d 876, 877 (5th Cir. 2000). A § 2241 petition is properly construed as a § 2255 motion if it seeks relief based on errors that occurred at trial or sentencing. Tolliver, 211 F.3d at 877-78. Habeas relief based on a collateral attack to a federal conviction is only appropriate under § 2241 if the petitioner can satisfy § 2255's “savings clause.”

         The 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, the petitioner must demonstrate the following to satisfy ยง 2255's savings clause: (1) that his claim is based on a retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision establishing that he may have been ...

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