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Goins v. Flournoy

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division

March 30, 2017

MICHAEL DERRICK GOINS, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN J.V. FLOURNOY, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner Michael Goins (“Goins”), who is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution-Satellite Low in Jesup, Georgia, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1.) Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss, (doc. 7), to which Goins did not respond. For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court GRANT Respondent's Motion, DISMISS Goins' Section 2241 Petition, and CLOSE this case. I also RECOMMEND the Court DENY Goins in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         Goins was convicted in this Court, after entry of a guilty plea, of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine hydrochloride, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C), and 846. The Honorable Dudley H. Bowen, Jr., sentenced Goins to 151 months' imprisonment. J., United States v. Goins, 3:14-cr-2 (S.D. Ga. May 25, 2015), ECF No. 345, pp. 1-2. Goins did not file a direct appeal.

         Goins filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In that motion, Goins contended this Court abused its discretion in determining the drug quantity for which he was held accountable and his applicable offense level and by not awarding Goins a one-point reduction for having entered a plea. Mot., United States v. Goins, 3:14-cr-2 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 23, 2016), ECF No. 399, pp. 1-10. Goins alleged his counsel was ineffective for failing to obtain necessary records to show he did not obstruct justice willfully. (Id. at pp. 10- 11.) This Court dismissed Goins' motion as untimely filed. R. & R., Order, United States v. Goins, 3:14-cr-2 (S.D. Ga. Nov. 15, 2016 and Jan. 18, 2017), ECF Nos. 408, 418.

         DISCUSSION

         In his current Petition, Goins contends his sentence was enhanced illegally because the Government failed to file a proper notice that it would seek a sentence enhancement. Goins asserts his counsel was ineffective, which renders his guilty plea invalid. (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 4.) Goins alleges a fundamental miscarriage of justice occurred in his criminal proceedings, he is actually innocent of the crime to which he pled guilty, and this Court lacked jurisdiction over his criminal prosecution. (Id. at p. 4.) Goins also alleges he was denied due process. (Id. at p. 5.)

         Respondent contends that Goins cannot satisfy his burden of establishing entitlement to relief pursuant to Section 2255's savings clause, and his Petition should be dismissed as a result. In fact, Respondent asserts Goins does not cite to any new, retroactively applicable decision of the United States Supreme Court, nor does he claim Eleventh Circuit precedent foreclosed his contentions on an earlier occasion. Instead, Respondent states Goins' claims are nothing more than “a litany of legal nonsense.” (Doc. 7, p. 5.)

         I. Whether Goins can Proceed Pursuant to Section 2241

         Section 2241 habeas corpus petitions “‘are generally reserved for challenges to the execution of a sentence or the nature of confinement, not the validity of the sentence itself or the fact of confinement.'” Vieux v. Warden, 616 F. App'x 891, 896 (11th Cir. 2015) (quoting Bryant v. Warden, FCC Coleman-Medium, 738 F.3d 1253, 1288 (11th Cir. 2013) (emphasis omitted)). Ordinarily, an action in which an individual seeks to collaterally attack “the validity of a federal sentence must be brought under § 2255, ” in the district of conviction. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a); Turner v. Warden Coleman FCI (Medium), 709 F.3d 1328, 1333 (11th Cir. 2013). To utilize Section 2241 to attack the validity of a federal sentence or conviction, a petitioner must show that the remedy afforded under Section 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective” to challenge the validity of a conviction and/or sentence. Taylor v. Warden, FCI Marianna, 557 F. App'x 911, 913 (11th Cir. 2014).

         Under Section 2255(e)'s “savings clause, ” a prisoner may file a Section 2241 petition if an otherwise available remedy under Section 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention. Specifically, Section 2255(e) provides:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to this section, shall not be entertained if it appears that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) (emphasis added). The above-emphasized portion of Section 2255(e) is referred to as the “savings clause.”

         In Bryant, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals articulated the requirements a petitioner must meet in order to proceed under the savings clause with a Section 2241 petition that raises sentencing claims. 738 F.3d 1253. The petitioner must establish that: (1) binding circuit precedent squarely foreclosed the claim “throughout his sentence, direct appeal, and first § 2255 proceeding”; (2) “subsequent to his first 2255 proceeding, ” a Supreme Court decision overturned that circuit precedent; (3) the rule announced in that Supreme Court decision applies retroactively on collateral review; (4) as a result of the new rule, the petitioner's current sentence exceeds the statutory maximum penalty authorized by Congress; and (5) the savings clause reaches the petitioner's claim. Bryant, 738 F.3d at 1274 (synthesizing the savings clause tests discussed in Wofford v. Scott, 177 F.3d 1236 (11th Cir. 1999); Gilbert v. United States, 640 F.3d 1293 (11th Cir. 2011); and Williams v. Warden, Federal Bureau of Prisons, 7 ...


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