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Williams v. Byson

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

June 2, 2017

RONNIE EUGENE WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
HOMER BYSON, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Ronnie Eugene Williams (“Williams”), filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Williams also filed a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 2.) The Court DENIES Williams' in Forma Pauperis Motion. For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS Williams' Petition. I also RECOMMEND the Court DENY Williams in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         Williams, an inmate at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia, has filed an action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In his Petition, Williams claims that he has fully served his twenty-year sentence for a burglary conviction obtained in the Chatham County, Georgia, Superior Court. Accordingly, Williams requests that the Court order the Georgia Department of Corrections to release him from prison.[1]

         Williams has unsuccessfully presented his claims to this Court on at least twelve (12) prior occasions. See Williams v. Allen, No. 4:17-cv-36 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 22, 2017) (Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending dismissal of his twelfth Section 2254 attempt); see also Williams v. Allen, No. 4:16-cv-324 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 15, 2016) (imposing $500 sanction after petitioner filed an eleventh petition for habeas relief, despite prior warnings); Williams v. Owens, No. 4:12-cv-19 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 28, 2012); Williams v. State Board of Pardon & Paroles, No. 4:08-cv-105 (S.D. Ga. Nov. 19, 2008); Williams v. Barrow, No. 4:05-cv-167 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 24, 2005); Williams v. Johnson, No. 4:03-cv-69 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 16, 2003); Williams v. Johnson, No. 4:02-cv-44 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 14, 2002); Williams v. Smith, No. 495CV176 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 4, 1995). The Court has warned Williams that he may not file additional habeas petitions challenging his sentence obtained in the Chatham County, Georgia, Superior Court absent permission from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to file a second or successive habeas petition. In addition, Williams has recently been warned on at least two occasions that he will be sanctioned if he continues to file habeas petitions in contravention of the Court's Order that he do so only with permission from the Eleventh Circuit. Williams v. Allen, No. 4:16-cv-324 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 10, 2017), ECF No. 8, p. 2 (“Williams is now WARNED that any more habeas (or similar) petitions he files without Eleventh Circuit authorization . . . are extremely likely to be considered vexatious and [met] with sanctions.”); Williams v. Allen, No. 4:17-cv-36 (S.D. Ga. Apr. 19, 2017), ECF No. 7, p. 2 (“Petitioner is warned . . . that any future unauthorized and meritless petitions are likely to be met with sanctions.”). The Eleventh Circuit recently denied Williams' Application for Leave to File a Second or Successive Habeas Corpus Petition, which Williams attaches to his Petition. (Doc. 1, pp. 11-15.) Despite the Eleventh Circuit's denial of his Application, Williams has filed yet another habeas petition in this Court contesting his twenty-year burglary sentence.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Dismissal as Unauthorized Second or Successive Petition

         Pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules governing petitions brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2254:

The clerk must promptly forward the petition to a judge . . ., and the judge must promptly examine [the petition]. If it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner.[2]

         Before a second or successive application is filed in a district court, the applicant “shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A) (emphasis supplied); see also Rule 9, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. A district court lacks jurisdiction to consider a “second or successive” habeas corpus petition that was not previously authorized by an appellate court. Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147 (2007) (holding that district court lacked jurisdiction to entertain second habeas petition since prisoner did not obtain order authorizing him to file the petition); Fugate v. Dep't of Corr., 301 F.3d 1287, 1288 (11th Cir. 2002) (same).

         This “gatekeeping” requirement transfers a second or successive application from the district court to the court of appeals, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1631, as a motion for authorization to proceed in district court. See Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, 664 (1996). “If applicable, section 1631 authorizes a transfer that is in the interest of justice.” Guenther v. Holt, 173 F.3d 1328, 1330-31 (11th Cir. 1999). However, a transfer may not be authorized in certain instances, as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). This Section provides:

(1) A claim presented in a second or successive habeas corpus application under section 2254 that was presented in a prior application shall be dismissed.
(2) A claim presented in a second or successive habeas corpus application under section 2254 that was not presented in a prior application shall be dismissed, unless:
(A) the applicant shows that the claim relies on a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, ...

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