United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Michael Eugene Farmer, Petitioner, Pro Se.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAYMANI D. WEST, Magistrate Judge.
a federal prison inmate appearing pro se, filed a Petition
for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. Â§ 2241. Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. Â§ 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c)
(D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is authorized to review all
pretrial matters in such pro se cases and to submit findings
and recommendations to the district court. See 28
U.S.C. Â§Â§ 1915(e), 1915A (as soon as possible after
docketing, district courts should review prisoner cases to
determine whether they are subject to summary dismissal).
Eugene Farmer ("Petitioner") was convicted in 2002
of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with
intent to distribute at least 50 grams of cocaine base
(crack) in the Eastern District of North Carolina ("the
sentencing court"). United States v. Farmer,
No. 5:02cr-00131-BO-1 (E.D. N.C. ) (the "Criminal
Case"). Following conviction Petitioner was sentenced
under the United States Sentencing Guidelines
("USSG") career-offender provisions to 262 months
in prison. Id., Crim. Case ECF No. 16. Petitioner
filed a Â§ 2255 motion in his Criminal Case, claiming that his
career-offender classification was incorrect in light of
United States v. Simmons, 649 F.3d 237 (4th Cir.
2011). In his Â§ 2255 motion, Petitioner argued that one of
the predicate convictions used to support his career-offender
classification should not have been considered as it did not
carry a penalty exceeding one year. Petitioner noted he had
been sentenced to 10-12 months custody for that conviction.
The sentencing court denied the Â§ 2255 motion as untimely.
Crim. Case ECF Nos. 48, 83. Petitioner also submitted an
unsuccessful Â§ 2241 petition raising the same issue in the
sentencing court. Crim. Case ECF Nos. 91, 101. In filing the
Petitioner now under review, Petitioner acknowledges that he
did not request authorization from the Fourth Circuit Court
of Appeals ("Fourth Circuit") for a successive Â§
2255 motion before filing this case. Pet. 4, ECF No. 1.
instant Â§ 2241 Petition, Petitioner again challenges the
validity of his enhanced sentence, claiming as he did in the
sentencing court that his career-offender classification was
incorrect in light of Simmons. He asserts that the Â§
2255 remedy is inadequate/ineffective because
Simmons represents new law handed down after both
his direct appeal and his Â§ 2255 motion and because he cannot
satisfy Â§ 2255's gatekeeping provision as
Simmons did not create a new rule of constitutional
law. Pet. 5. Petitioner asks this court to resentence him
without the USSG career-offender enhancement. Id. at
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review was made of the pro se Petition filed in this
case. The review was conducted pursuant to the procedural
provisions of 28 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 1915, 1915A, and the
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and
in light of the following precedents: Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Md.
House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995); Todd v.
Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); Boyce v.
Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979).
court is required to construe pro se petitions liberally.
Such pro se petitions are held to a less stringent standard
than those drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke,
574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district
court is charged with liberally construing a petition filed
by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a
potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). When a federal court is evaluating a
pro se petition the petitioner's allegations are assumed
to be true. De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630,
630 n.1 (4th Cir. 2003). The requirement of liberal
construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a
claim currently cognizable in a federal district court.
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387,
391 (4th Cir. 1990).
this court is charged with screening Petitioner's lawsuit
to determine if "it plainly appears from the petition
and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled
to relief in the district court." Rule 4 of Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District
Courts; see Rule 1(b) of Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (a district
court may apply these rules to a habeas corpus petition not
filed pursuant to Â§ 2254). Following the required initial
review, it is recommended that the Petition submitted in this
case be summarily dismissed.
Petition in this case should be dismissed because
Petitioner's allegations do not fall within this
court's Â§ 2241 subject-matter jurisdiction, nor do
Petitioner's allegations fall within the Â§ 2255 savings
clause. "[I]t is well established that defendants
convicted in federal court are obliged to seek habeas relief
from their convictions and sentences through Â§ 2255."
Rice v. Rivera, 617 F.3d 802, 807 (4th Cir. 2010)
(citing In re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 (4th Cir.
1997)). In contrast, a motion filed under Â§ 2241 is typically
used to challenge the manner in which a sentence is executed.
See In re Vial, 115 F.3d at 1194 n.5. A
petitioner cannot challenge his federal conviction and
sentence under Â§ 2241 unless he can satisfy Â§ 2255's
so-called savings clause, which states:
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. Â§ 2255(e); see alsoRice, 617
F.3d at 807 (If a federal prisoner brings a Â§ 2241 petition
that does not fall within the scope of the savings clause,
the district court must dismiss the "unauthorized habeas