United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Joseph Louis Young, III (“Petitioner”) filed this
pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
(“Petition”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
and 28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging that he should not have
been charged as a “career offender.” (ECF No. 1.)
Respondent Warden Thomas (“Respondent”) was not
required to file a return. (ECF No. 10 at 5.)
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule
73.02(B)(2)(g) (D.S.C.), the matter was referred to United
States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett for pre-trial
handling. On July 31, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued a
Report and Recommendation (“Report, ” ECF No. 10)
recommending the court deny the Petition (ECF No. 1). This
review considers Petitioner's Objections to the Report
(“Objections”) filed June 19, 2015. (ECF No. 42.) For
the reasons set forth herein, the court ACCEPTS the
Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 10), and DISMISSES the
Petition (ECF No. 1) with prejudice.
RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
court concludes, upon its own careful review of the record,
that the Magistrate Judge's factual synopsis is accurate
and incorporates it by reference. This court will thus focus
on the facts pertinent to the analysis of Petitioner's
Objections. The relevant facts, viewed in a light most
favorable to Petitioner, are as follows.
August 31, 2007, Petitioner pleaded guilty to three counts of
various drug and firearm offenses. See United States v.
Young, C/A No. 6:07-cr-00113-GRA, ECF No. 23 (D.S.C.
Feb. 13, 2007). On December 30, 2008, Petitioner was
sentenced to 262 months' imprisonment. Id. at
ECF No. 56. On January 14, 2010, the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (“Fourth Circuit”)
affirmed the conviction and sentence. Id. at ECF No.
80. On June 17, 2010, Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate
under § 2255, Id. at ECF No. 83, which the
court denied on October 14, 2010. Id. at ECF No. 96.
Petition for Habeas Corpus, Petitioner alleges that he
“is actually innocent of being a Career
Offender.” (ECF No. 1 at 3.) Petitioner, citing to
Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013),
and United States v. Hemingway, 734 F.3d 323 (4th
Cir. 2013), claims that a former conviction for pointing and
presenting a firearm no longer qualifies as a predicate
offense necessary to be considered a career
offender. The Magistrate Judge's Report
recommended the Petition be summarily dismissed because
Petitioner could not satisfy the § 2255 savings clause.
(ECF No. 10 at 3.)
Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 73.02 for the District
of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge's Report is only
a recommendation to this court, and has no presumptive
weight-the responsibility to make a final determination
remains with this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423
U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making a
de novo determination of those portions of the
Report to which specific objections are made. Id.
The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part,
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation or recommit the
matter with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. §
pro se filed documents should be “liberally
construed, ” held to a less stringent legal standard
than those complaints or proceedings drafted by lawyers.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
However, even liberally construed, objections to a Report
must specifically identify portions of the Report and the
basis for those objections. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2).
Furthermore, while pro se documents may be entitled
to “special judicial solicitude, ” federal courts
are not required to recognize “obscure or extravagant
claims.” Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs.,
901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990) (quoting Beaudett v.
City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985)).
filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation on June 19, 2015. (ECF No. 42.) In his
Objections, Petitioner takes issue with the Report's
assertion that he may not resort to § 2255(e)'s
savings clause (id. at 2-3), and further asserts
that Descamps and Hemingway are applicable.
(Id. at 4.) However, though Petitioner outlines his
objections in detail, reiterating his claims that
Descamps and Hemingway apply retroactively
(Id. at 4-5), the court concludes that the
information brought up in Petitioner's Objections is not
sufficient to abrogate the Report's recommendation of
order for Petitioner to challenge his sentence under §
2241, Petitioner must satisfy the § 2255 savings clause.
§ 2255(e). “[D]efendants convicted in federal
court are obliged to seek habeas relief from their
convictions and sentences through § 2255.”
Rice v. Rivera, 617 F.3d 802, 807 (4th Cir. 2010)
(citing In re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 (4th Cir.
1997)). Because Petitioner has already been denied relief
under § 2255 once before, see Young, C/A No.
6:07-cr-00113-GRA at ECF No. 83, in order for the §
2255(e) to be applicable, Petitioner must show that the
“remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test
the legality of his detention.” § 2255(e). In
order to satisfy the “inadequate or ineffective”
element of the savings clause, Petitioner must show three
elements laid out by the Fourth Circuit in In re
Jones. Petitioner takes issue with the
Report's finding that he failed to show “the
conduct for which [he] was convicted has been deemed
non-criminal by any substantive law change” (the second
element of the In re Jones test). (ECF No. 42 at 3.)
Petitioner seems to be trying to support his argument by
asserting that Descamps and Hemingway
should be applied retroactively to the present action.
(Id. at 4.)
acknowledges that the application of Descamps is
critical to the success of his Petition. (Id.) In
support of his retroactivity claims, Petitioner cites to
multiple cases. (Id. at 2-7; see Chaidez v.
United States, 133 S.Ct. 1103, 1107 (2013); Begay v.
United States, 553 U.S. 137 (2008); Schriro v.
Summerlin, 542 U.S. 348 (2004); Bryant v.
Coleman, 738 F.3d 1253 (11th Cir. 2013); Parker v.
Walton, No. 13-cv-01110-DRH, 2013 WL 6169153 (S.D. Ill.
Nov. 29, 2013).) Despite Petitioner's assertions, the
court is not convinced that Descamps (or for that
matter Hemingway) applies retroactively.
Petitioner himself notes (see ECF No. 42 at 4),
Chaidez held that when the Court “announce[s]
a ‘new rule, ' a person whose conviction is already
final may not benefit from the decision in a habeas or
similar proceeding.” Chaidez, 133 S.Ct. at
1107. Petitioner tries to counter Chaidez by citing
to Schriro, which said that “[n]ew
substantive rules generally apply
retroactively.” Schriro, 542 U.S. at 351.
However, Schriro also noted that “the [new]
rule applies only in limited circumstances, ”
Schriro, 542 U.S. at 351, and “[n]ew rules of
procedure … generally do not apply
retroactively.” Id. at 352. Regardless, the
court does not have to decide if Descamps
establishes a procedural or substantive rule. As the Report
notes, case law indicates that Descamps in not
retroactive on collateral review. (ECF No. 10 at 4, citing
Baker v. Zych, C/A ...