United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
GLEN E. CONRAD, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Victor Gonzalez, a federal inmate proceeding pro se,
filed this action as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Gonzalez asserts that on the
ground of double jeopardy, his convictions and sentences
should be vacated, including the special assessments totaling
$150. Upon review of the record, the court concludes that
Gonzalez's § 2241 petition must be summarily
petition and court records online indicate that in 1996, in
the United States District Court for the District of New
Jersey, Gonzalez was convicted of conspiracy to engage in a
pattern of racketeering activity and two related offenses.
See United States v. Gonzalez, No. 1:96CR00114. On
March 18, 1997, that court sentenced him to three concurrent
terms of life in prison and imposed a special assessment of
$50 for each conviction. On appeal, the judgment was
affirmed. Gonzalez later filed in the trial court a motion to
vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255, Gonzalez v. United States, No.
2:99CV01183. The motion was denied as without merit on August
30, 2005, and Gonzalez's appeal was
filed his § 2241 petition in November of 2018 in the
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Because Gonzalez was confined at that time at the United
States Penitentiary in Lee County (“USP Lee”),
Virginia, the District of New Jersey transferred the petition
to this court. See Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S.
426, 434-35 (2004) (holding that proper respondent to §
2241 petition is petitioner's current custodian).
Liberally construed, Gonzalez's allegations contend that:
(1) his three terms of life in prison and the three special
assessments constitute double punishment for the same
offenses, in violation of double jeopardy; (2) a defect in
the general verdict form used at trial subjected him to
multiple convictions for the same conduct; and (3) the
multiple convictions and sentences, although having no
practical effect on the length of his confinement, have
adverse consequences, nevertheless. Therefore, Gonzales
contends that he is “entitled to have his conviction on
Counts 1, 2, and 3 vacated, including the $150 special
assessment imposed on the counts.” Pet. 7, ECF No. 1.
challenging the legality of federal convictions as imposed
must normally be raised on appeal or in a § 2255 motion
in the sentencing court. In re Jones, 226 F.3d 328,
332 (4th Cir. 2000). Thus, a § 2241 petition raising
such claims is barred unless it meets the stringent standard
mandated under the Jones decision. Id. at
333-34 (finding that challenge to federal conviction is
barred from review under § 2241 absent a showing that
under post-conviction change in law, petitioner's offense
conduct is no longer criminal). Gonzales offers no indication
that his offense conduct, conspiracy and racketeering
activities, are no longer criminal in light of
post-conviction changes to the law. Thus, he fails to meet
the In re Jones standard and cannot challenge his
convictions in a § 2241 petition.
more stringent standard applies to § 2241 challenges to
the legality of an inmate's sentence as imposed. See
United States v. Wheeler. 886 F.3d 415 (4th Cir.
2018). To pursue such claims under § 2241, the prisoner
must show that:
(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.
Id. at 429. Gonzalez fails to show that his
sentences as imposed "present[ ] an error sufficiently
grave to be deemed a fundamental defect" in light of any
post-§ 2255, retroactive changes in substantive law.
no grounds on which Gonzalez is entitled to habeas
relief under § 2241, the court will summarily dismiss
his petition. An appropriate order will enter herewith. The
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and accompanying order to petitioner.
 See Rules 1(b) & 4, Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases (authorizing dismissal of
habeas petition where it plainly appears from face
of petition that petitioner is not entitled to
 Court records also indicate that
Gonzalez filed another § 2255 motion in July of 2017
that is still pending in the United States District Court for