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Wright v. Director, Lexington County Detention Center

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

April 19, 2018

Alfred Domenick Wright #308331, Petitioner,
Director, Lexington County Detention Center, U.S. Probation, Respondents.


          Thomas E. Rogers, III United States Magistrate Judge.

         Petitioner is a federal detainee in custody both as a federal detainee and as a former federal prisoner on supervised release. Petitioner was sentenced by this court. He is seeking habeas relief under § 2241 and proceeding in this action pro se. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c), D.S.C., the undersigned is authorized to review such petitions for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court.


         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se pleadings pursuant to the procedural provisions of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The review has been conducted 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, Maryland House of Correction, 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995)(en banc); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291 (4th Cir. 1978); and Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). The Petitioner is a pro se litigant, and thus his pleadings are accorded liberal construction. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)(per curiam); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972). Even under this less stringent standard, the petition is subject to summary dismissal.

         Furthermore, 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. Following the required initial review, it is recommended that the Petition submitted in this case should be dismissed.


         In this court, Petitioner entered a guilty plea on November 27, 2007, on counts one and four of the indictment, Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1), and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Grams or More of Cocaine Base and a Quantity of Cocaine Base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 841(b)(1)(C). U.S. v. Wright, No. 3:07-cr-1012-MGL (ECF No. 42). Petitioner was sentenced on April 17, 2008 to 130 months total, with a term of four years of supervised release. Id. The judgement was amended in February 2012 and still contained four years of supervised release. Id. at ECF No. 67. The judgment was amended again in October 2014. Id. at ECF No. 83. Supervised release began on November 4, 2014. Id. at ECF No. 85. On December 7, 2017, Petitioner was arrested for a supervised release violation. Id. at ECF No. 90.

         Petitioner's plea agreement included a waiver of direct appeal or other post-conviction actions, including proceedings under § 2255, but the waiver did not apply to claims of ineffective assistance of counsel or prosecutorial misconduct. Id. at ECF No. 33. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal or a § 2255 Motion.

         Petitioner argues his attorney was deficient and the arresting officer did an illegal search and tampered with evidence. Petitioner alleges since his release he has learned new facts that his attorney had been disbarred and the officer involved had been arrested on criminal charges. Petitioner asserts that he was incarcerated for nine years and did not have knowledge of other's wrongdoing or how to file and asks that his 2008 conviction be expunged and vacated.

         The instant Petition, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, is subject to summary dismissal because “it is well established that defendants 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)). Petitioner cannot challenge his federal conviction and sentence under § 2241, unless he can satisfy the § 2255 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. § 2255(e); see also Reyes-Requena v. United States, 243 F.3d 893, 901 (5th Cir. 2001).

         Petitioner did not attempt to seek relief under § 2255. However, “the remedy afforded by § 2255 is not rendered inadequate or ineffective merely because an individual has been unable to obtain relief under that provision, or because an individual is procedurally barred from filing a § 2255 motion.” See In re Vial, 115 F.3d at 1194 n.5 (citations omitted). The fact that Petitioner did not avail himself of the opportunity to file a motion for relief under § 2255 within the one-year period of limitation established by § 2255(f) and may now be time-barred[1] from doing so does not mean that the potential relief of § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective; it simply means that Petitioner is not entitled to it. See In re Jones, 226 F.3d at 333 (“It is beyond question that § 2255 is not inadequate or ineffective merely because an individual is unable to obtain relief under that provision.”).

         To trigger the savings clause of § 2255(e) and proceed under § 2241, Petitioner would have to show that something more should be considered by this Court than that authorized by § 2255, such as a retroactive change in the law as contemplated in I ...

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