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Williams v. Johnson

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

September 10, 2019

DAVID WILLIAMS, Petitioner
v.
WARDEN CALVIN JOHNSON, Respondent

          DRELL JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOSEPH H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDG

         Before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) filed by pro se Petitioner David Williams (“Williams”) (#70659-054). Williams is an inmate in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana. Williams challenges the legality of his conviction.

         Because Williams has not demonstrated that he is entitled to proceed under the savings clause of 28 U.S.C. § 2255, his Petition (Doc. 1) should be DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction (Doc. 1).

         I. Background

         Williams was convicted of planning and attempting to carry out domestic terrorism offenses, including a plot to launch missiles at a military base and bomb two synagogues. See United States v. Cromitie, 727 F.3d 194 (2d Cir. 2013). Williams's conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. Id.

         Williams filed a habeas petition under § 2255, which was denied. Williams v. United States, 09-CR-558, 2017 WL 4174927 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 12, 2017). Williams's appeal from the denial of his § 2255 motion is pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. (No. 18-3182, 2d Cir.).

         In his § 2241 Petition, Williams alleges that he is actually innocent of some of the charges against him. (Doc. 1).

         II. Law and Analysis

         A § 2241 petition that seeks to challenge the validity of a federal sentence by attacking errors that occurred at trial or sentencing must either be dismissed or construed as a § 2255 motion. See Pack v. Yusuff, 218 F.3d 448, 452 (5th Cir. 2000). However, if a petitioner establishes that the remedy provided under § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his or her detention, a § 2241 petition that attacks custody resulting from a federally imposed sentence may be entertained under the “savings clause” of § 2255. Padilla v. United States, 416 F.3d 424, 426 (5th Cir. 2005).

         The savings clause provides:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to this section, 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.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). “[T]he 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).

         In order to meet the requirements of the savings clause, a petitioner must demonstrate that: (1) his claim is based on a retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision; (2) the Supreme Court decision establishes that he was “actually innocent” of the charges against him because the decision decriminalized the conduct for which he was convicted; and (3) his claim would have been foreclosed by existing circuit precedent had he raised it at trial, on direct appeal, or in his prior § 2255 petition. See ...


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