United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
Charles Walker, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se, has
filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241. See ECF No. 1. The matter is
before the Court for review of Petitioner's objections to
the Report and Recommendation (“R & R”) of
United States Magistrate Judge Kaymani D. West, who
recommends summarily dismissing Petitioner's § 2241
petition without prejudice. See ECF Nos. 31 &
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court.
The Magistrate Judge's recommendation has no presumptive
weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination
remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S.
261, 270-71 (1976). The Court must conduct a de novo review
of those portions of the R & R to which specific
objections are made, and it may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).
Court must engage in a de novo review of every portion of the
Magistrate Judge's report to which objections have been
filed. Id. However, the Court need not conduct a de
novo review when a party makes only “general and
conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a
specific error in the [M]agistrate [Judge]'s proposed
findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of specific objections to the R & R, the Court reviews
only for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc.
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and the
Court need not give any explanation for adopting the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation. Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).
2008, Petitioner pleaded guilty in this District to one count
of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack
cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1),
(b)(1)(B), & 846, and was sentenced to 188 months'
imprisonment. See United States v. Walker, No.
6:08-cr-00467-TMC-8, (D.S.C.). He is currently incarcerated
in this District and has now filed a § 2241 petition
challenging his sentence,  claiming his career-offender
designation is erroneous in light of Mathis v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), and the Fourth
Circuit's application of Mathis in United
States v. Hall, 684 Fed.Appx. 333 (4th Cir. 2017).
See ECF No. 1.
has filed objections to the R & R. See ECF No.
39. The Magistrate Judge recommends summarily dismissing
Petitioner's § 2241 petition because he fails to
satisfy the second prong of the test set forth in United
States v. Wheeler, wherein the Fourth Circuit held:
[Section] 2255 is inadequate and ineffective to test the
legality of a sentence when: (1) at the time of sentencing,
settled law of this circuit or the Supreme Court established
the legality of the sentence; (2) subsequent to the
prisoner's direct appeal and first § 2255 motion,
the aforementioned settled substantive law changed and was
deemed to apply retroactively on collateral review; (3) the
prisoner is unable to meet the gatekeeping provisions of
§ 2255(h)(2) for second or successive motions; and (4)
due to this retroactive change, the sentence now presents an
error sufficiently grave to be deemed a fundamental defect.
886 F.3d 415, 429 (4th Cir. 2018) (“the
Wheeler test”). As explained in the R & R,
Petitioner cannot satisfy the second element of the
Wheeler test because there has been no change in the
settled substantive law deemed to apply retroactively on
collateral review. See Davis v. Andrews, 727
Fed.Appx. 782, 783 (4th Cir. 2018) (rejecting a similar
challenge to a career-offender designation, applying the
Wheeler test, explaining “Mathis did
not announce a substantive change to the law, ” and
holding “Davis, therefore, cannot bring this challenge
in a § 2241 petition”). Thus, Petitioner fails to
satisfy the savings clause in 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e), and
the Court must dismiss his § 2241 petition for lack of
jurisdiction. See Wheeler, 886 F.3d at 426 (noting
“the savings clause requirements are
certificate of appealability will not issue absent “a
substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional
right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). When the district
court denies relief on the merits, a prisoner satisfies this
standard by demonstrating reasonable jurists would find the
court's assessment of the constitutional claims is
debatable or wrong. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473,
484 (2000); see Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322,
336-38 (2003). When the district court denies relief on
procedural grounds, the prisoner must demonstrate both that
the dispositive procedural ruling is debatable and that the
petition states a debatable claim of the denial of a
constitutional right. Slack, 529 U.S. at 484-85.
case, the Court concludes Petitioner has not made the
requisite showing of “the denial of a constitutional