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Ingram v. Wilson

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia

August 4, 2017

ERIC C. WILSON, Respondent.



         Herman Lee Ingram, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, submitted this Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (hereinafter, "§ 2241 Petition, " ECF No. 1.) In his § 2241 Petition, Ingram asserts that, in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), his enhanced sentence under the United States Sentencing Guidelines as a career offender is unconstitutional.[1] However, as explained below, Ingram's § 2241 Petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

         A. Procedural History

         On January 4, 2006, Ingram pled guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. See United States v. Ingram, No. 3:05CR361 (E.D. Va. Jan. 4, 2006). On April 7, 2006, Ingram was sentenced to 169 months imprisonment. Id. at ECF No. 25 (E.D. Va. Apr. 7, 2006). On appeal, Ingram's counsel submitted an Anders brief "stating that there [were] no meritorious issues for appeal, but suggesting that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to accurately determine and advise Ingram regarding the sentencing consequences of his guilty plea." United States v. Ingram, 213 F.App'x 229, 229 (4th Cir. 2007). The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed Ingram's conviction and sentence, finding that Ingram's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was not cognizable on direct review. Id. at 230.

         On March 30, 2009, this Court denied a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Motion (hereinafter, "§ 2255 Motion") filed by Ingram. See Ingram, No. 3:05CR361, ECF No. 51 (E.D. Va. Mar. 30, 2009). Ingram appealed, and the Fourth Circuit dismissed his appeal pursuant to Local Rule 45. Id. at ECF No. 53 (E.D. Va. June 29, 2009).

         On April 15, 2010, Ingram filed a motion seeking a reduction of his sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582 (hereinafter, "§ 3582 Motion"). Id. at ECF No. 56 (E.D. Va. Apr. 15, 2010). The Court denied his § 3582 Motion on December 21, 2010. Id. at ECF No. 63 (E.D. Va. Dec. 21, 2010). On August 21, 2010, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the judgment of this Court. United States v. Ingram, 475 F.App'x 928 (4th Cir. 2012).

         On June 24, 2016, the Court received an Order from the Fourth Circuit authorizing Ingram to file a second or successive § 2255 Motion in the District Court. See Ingram No. 3:05CR361, ECF No. 85 (E.D. Va. June 24, 2016). By Memorandum Opinion and Order entered June 30, 2017, the Court denied the § 2255 Motion. Id. at Nos. 93, 94 (E.D.Va. June 30, 2017). Ingram's current § 2241 Petition is his latest attempt to challenge his conviction and sentence.

         B. 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 such motion must be filed with the sentencing court. See Pack v. Yusujf, 218 F.3d 448, 451 (5th Cir. 2000)(quoting Cox v. Warden, Fed. Del. Or., 911 F.2d 1111, 1113 (5th Cir. 1990)). A federal inmate may not proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 unless he 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).[2] "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." In re Vial, 115 F.3d at 1194 n.5 (citations omitted).[3]

         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).

         C. Analysis of Ingrain's 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Petition

         Ingram's § 2241 Petition will be dismissed because Ingram cannot show that his § 2255 Motion was "inadequate or ...

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