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Hughes v. Wilson

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia

October 3, 2014

KENNETH BRONSON HUGHES, Petitioner,
v.
ERIC WILSON, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROBERT E. PAYNE, Senior District Judge.

Kenneth Bronson Hughes, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, submitted a 28 U.S.C. § 2241[1] petition ("§ 2241 Petition").[2] In his § 2241 Petition, Hughes contends that his sentence is unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Alleyne v. United States , 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013).[3] For reasons set forth below, the § 2241 Petition will be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

I. Motions Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Compared To Petitions Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241

A motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 provides the primary means of collateral attack on the imposition of a federal conviction and sentence and must be filed with the sentencing court. See Pack v. Yusuff , 218 F.3d 448, 451 (5th Cir. 2000) (quoting Cox v. Warden, Fed. Pet. Ctr. , 911 F.2d 1111, 1113 (5th Cir. 1990)). A federal inmate may not proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 unless he or she demonstrates that the remedy afforded by 28 U.S.C. § 2255 "is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e).[4] For example, "attacks on the execution of a sentence are properly raised in a § 2241 petition." In re Vial , 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 n.5 (4th Cir. 1997) (citing Bradshaw v. Story , 86 F.3d 164, 166 (10th Cir. 1996); Hanahan v. Luther , 693 F.2d 629, 632 n.l (7th Cir. 1982)). Nevertheless, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has emphasized that "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." Id . (citations omitted).

The Fourth Circuit has stressed that an inmate may proceed under § 2241 to challenge his conviction "in only very limited circumstances." United States v. Poole , 531 F.3d 263, 269 (4th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). The "controlling test, " id., in the Fourth Circuit is as follows:

[Section] 2255 is inadequate and ineffective to test the legality of a conviction when: (1) at the time of conviction, settled law of this circuit or the Supreme Court established the legality of the conviction; (2) subsequent to the prisoner's direct appeal and first § 2255 motion, the substantive law changed such that the conduct of which the prisoner was convicted is deemed not to be criminal; and (3) the prisoner cannot satisfy the gatekeeping provisions of § 2255 because the new rule is not one of constitutional law.

In re Jones , 226 F.3d 328, 333-34 (4th Cir. 2000) (emphasis added). The Fourth Circuit formulated this test to provide a remedy for the "fundamental defect presented by a situation in which an individual is incarcerated for conduct that is not criminal but, through no fault of his [or her] own, [he or she] has no source of redress." Id. at 333 n.3 (emphasis added).

II. Analysis Of Hughes's 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Petition

Hughes fails to satisfy the second prong of In re Jones. See In re Jones , 226 F.3d 328, 334 (4th Cir. 2000). Specifically, Hughes fails to demonstrate that "subsequent to [his] direct appeal and [his] first § 2255 motion, the substantive law changed such that the conduct of which [he] was convicted is deemed not to be criminal." Id . (emphasis added). The conduct of which Hughes stands convicted, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base, remains a crime. See Mabry v. Wilson, No. ___ F.App'x ___, 14-6430, 2014 WL 3766729, at *1 (4th Cir. Aug. 1, 2014) (concluding the decision in Alleyne fails to provide basis for seeking relief under § 2241); Alsop v. Chandler, 551 F.App'x 217, 218 (5th Cir. -) (concluding the decision in Alleyne fails to provide a basis for filing § 2241 petition challenging convictions for distribution of cocaine base and conspiracy to distribute cocaine base). Moreover, "Fourth Circuit precedent has... not extended the reach of the savings clause to those petitioners challenging only their sentence." Poole , 531 F.3d at 267 n.7 (citing In re Jones , 226 F.3d at 333-34). Accordingly, the Court will dismiss Hughes's 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Petition for want of jurisdiction.

The Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Memorandum Opinion to Hughes.


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