United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
CORBETT O'MEARA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Andre Williams'
pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Williams, who is presently
incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Facility in Milan,
Michigan, challenges his classification as a career offender
under United States Sentencing Guideline § 4B1.2.
Respondent, through the United States Attorneys' office,
has filed an answer in opposition arguing that the petition
is not properly filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. The Court
finds no basis for granting relief under § 2241.
was convicted of racketeering, drug conspiracy, and firearms
offenses in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois. United States v. Williams, No.
97-3683. In April 1998, he was sentenced to a total of 480
months' imprisonment. Petitioner was sentenced as a
career offender based upon two prior convictions for
controlled substance offenses. U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a).
However, before sentencing, it was argued that only one of
the two prior offenses used to establish Williams as a career
offender met the definition of “controlled substance
offense” in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(b). Ultimately, the
court and parties determined that even if this was indeed an
error, correction of the error would not impact Williams'
sentence. See 4/10/98 Tr. at 4-7; ECF No. 6-2, Pg.
ID 125-128. The parties and the court agreed that the
interests of justice were best served by proceeding with
sentencing without delay. Id. Williams'
convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal.
United States v. Patterson, 215 F.3d 776 (7th Cir.
2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1033 (2000) (as to A.
Williams, granted as to several co-defendants).
years after his direct appeal concluded, Williams filed a
motion to vacate void judgment in the sentencing court. The
motion challenged Williams' designation as a career
offender. The district court denied the motion without
prejudice. See 8/8/13 Order, ECF No. 6-5. In May
2014, Williams filed a motion to correct record under Federal
Rule of Criminal Procedure 36, arguing that the record
incorrectly indicated that he had a state court conviction
for possession with intent to deliver and that he was,
therefore, not a career offender. The district court
acknowledged that Williams was incorrectly labeled a career
offender but held that it lacked jurisdiction to decide the
motion. See 11/12/14 Order, ECF No. 6-7. The Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's
decision, finding that Williams knowingly waived this claim
by electing to proceed with sentencing. United States v.
Williams, 777 F.3d 909 (7th Cir. 2015).
October 4, 2016, Williams filed the pending § 2241
seeks a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He
challenges his classification as a career offender under
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a). Williams argues that he should not
have been classified as a career offender because he does not
have two qualifying predicate offenses and because
Descamps v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct.
2276 (2013), is a retroactive change in the law making his
sentence unlawful. Respondent argues that this claim is not
properly filed under § 2241 because Petitioner has not
shown that 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is “inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e).
federally convicted person may challenge his conviction and
sentence by bringing a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2255 in the sentencing court. See 28 U.S.C. §
2255; Capaldi v. Pontesso, 135 F.3d 1122, 1123 (6th
Cir. 1998). A prisoner is generally limited to only one
challenge of his conviction and sentence under § 2255. A
federal prisoner may bring a claim challenging his conviction
or the imposition of sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2241
only if it appears that the remedy afforded under § 2255
“is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of
his detention.” 28 U.S.C. 2255(e); Charles v.
Chandler, 180 F.3d 753, 756 (6th Cir. 1999). The §
2255 remedy is not considered inadequate or ineffective
simply because the petitioner has already been denied relief
under § 2255, because the petitioner is procedurally
barred from pursuing relief under § 2255, or because the
petitioner has been denied permission to file a second or
successive motion to vacate. Charles, 180 F.3d at
756. The“savings clause” to applies only where a
petitioner demonstrates “actual innocence.”
Wooten v. Cauley, 677 F.3d 303, 307 (6th Cir. 2012).
does not argue that he is innocent of the crime of
conviction. Instead, he argues that he is innocent of the
career offender enhancement. The Sixth Circuit has held that
claims alleging actual innocence of a sentencing enhancement
generally cannot be raised under § 2241. Jones v.
Castillo, 489 F.App'x 864, 866 (6th Cir. 2012). In
2016, the Sixth Circuit held that a petitioner may claim
actual innocence of a sentence enhancement under § 2241
in limited circumstances where the petitioner can show:
“(1) a case of statutory interpretation, (2) that is
retroactive and could not have been invoked in the initial
§ 2255 motion, and (3) that the misapplied sentence
presents an error sufficiently grave to be deemed a
miscarriage of justice or a fundamental defect.”
Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2016).
Petitioner attempts to satisfy the second element by relying
on Descamps v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 133
S.Ct. 2276 (2013), which concerned the process for
determining whether a prior conviction qualified as a
“violent felony” for sentencing under the Armed
Career Criminal Act. A petitioner may only pursue a claim of
actual innocence under § 2241 when that claim is
“based upon a new rule of law made retroactive by a
Supreme Court case.” Townsend v. Davis, 83
F.App'x 728, 729 (6th Cir. 2003). The Descamps
decision had no effect on the status of Williams' prior
conviction for drug conviction. As such, Williams cannot rely
on Descamps to establish a retroactive change of
has not shown that § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective
to test the legality of his detention and, therefore, he may
not seek relief under § 2241.
Court concludes that the petition is not properly filed under
§ 2241. Accordingly, the Court DENIES the petition for a
writ of habeas corpus.
Motion to Appoint Counsel (ECF No. 5) and Motion to Conduct
Prompt and Mandatory ...