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Farrior v. FCI Estill

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

October 7, 2019

Wilfred Farrior, Jr., Petitioner,
v.
Warden, FCI Estill, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The petitioner, Wilfred Farrior, Jr., a self-represented federal prisoner, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.). Having reviewed the Petition in accordance with applicable law, the court concludes that it should be summarily dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Petitioner, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Estill, South Carolina, indicates that in 2015, he pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). (Pet., ECF No. 1-1 at 2.) Petitioner pled guilty pursuant to a written plea agreement in which ten other counts in the indictment were dismissed. (ECF No. 1-1 at 2, 4.) He was sentenced to 150 months' imprisonment in 2016 with three years of supervised release. (Id. at 3.)

         Petitioner did not file a direct appeal, but he later filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging, among other things, that plea counsel was ineffective for advising Petitioner to plead guilty to the conspiracy charge when he was “actually innocent” of that offense. (Id. at 6.) The § 2255 motion was dismissed by the Eastern District of North Carolina in 2018. (Id.)

         Petitioner now brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, arguing that he is “actually innocent” of the conspiracy charge because the factual basis of the plea showed that Petitioner conspired with government informants, and legally, conspiracy with government agents will not support a conspiracy charge. (Id. at 18-24.) He argues that because he did not know that he was actually innocent at the time of his guilty plea and only recently learned of this “evidence, ” the court should find that § 2255 was inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention. (Id. at 10.)

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se petition filed in this case pursuant to the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, [1] 28 U.S.C. § 2254; the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214; 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) (en banc); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983).

         This court is required to liberally construe pro se pleadings, which are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016). Nonetheless, 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 cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for “all civil actions”).

         B. Analysis

         A petitioner cannot challenge his federal conviction and sentence through § 2241 unless he can show under the “savings clause” of § 2255(e) that a § 2255 motion is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e); see also United States v. Wheeler, 886 F.3d 415, 429 (4th Cir. 2018) (holding that the failure to meet the requirements of the savings clause is a jurisdictional defect that may not be waived).

         Initially, the court notes that Petitioner raises this issue as a claim of “actual innocence, ” see generally Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 324 (1995); but Petitioner does not base his claim on new evidence.[2] Rather, Petitioner's claim is that he is newly aware that the facts underlying his conviction are not legally sufficient to support the offense to which he pled guilty. In other words, Petitioner's claim is that his guilty plea was not entered with the full knowledge of the law. This claim was considered and rejected by the Eastern District of North Carolina in its order denying Petitioner's § 2255 motion. Farrior v. Untied States, No. 7:17-CV-5-FL (Docket Entries 59 & 62). Consequently, § 2255 is not inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of Petitioner's conviction. See In re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 n.5 (4th Cir. 1997) (“[T]he 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.”) (internal citations omitted).

         Therefore, this case should be dismissed because this court lacks jurisdiction over the Petition. ...


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