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Nuriddin v. Flourney

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

September 5, 2017




         Petitioner Muhammad Nuriddin (“Nuriddin”), who is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution 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 Nuriddin filed a Response, (doc. 9). For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court GRANT Respondent's Motion, DISMISS Nuriddin's Section 2241 Petition, and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case. I also RECOMMEND the Court DENY Nuriddin in forma pauperis status on appeal.


         Nuriddin pled guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee of distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). On November 5, 2007, the Honorable Harry S. Mattice, Jr., sentenced Nuriddin to 210 months' imprisonment. J., United States v. Nuriddin, 1:07-cr-31 (E.D. Tenn. Nov. 19, 2007), ECF No. 30. Consistent with the terms of his plea agreement, Nuriddin did not file an appeal.

         Nuriddin filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on June 15, 2016. Mot., United States v. Nuriddin, 1:07-cr-31 (E.D. Tenn. June 15, 2016), ECF No. 33. However, after the United States Supreme Court decided Beckles v. United States, __ U.S.__, 137 S.Ct. 886 (Mar. 6, 2017), Nuriddin filed a Motion for Voluntary Dismissal. Mot., United States v. Nuriddin, 1:07-cr-31 (E.D. Tenn. Mar. 27, 2017), ECF No. 39. Judge Mattice denied Nuriddin's Motion for Voluntary Dismissal and denied Nuriddin's Section 2255 Motion with prejudice. Mem. Op., Nuriddin v. United States, 1:07-cv-31 (E.D. Tenn. May 5, 2017), ECF No. 41. Nuriddin did not apply for a Certificate of Appealability with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

         Nuriddin subsequently filed the instant Section 2241 Petition, contending that his 210 month sentence is excessive and violates the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-8.) Respondent asserts that this Court should dismiss Nuriddin's Petition because he does not satisfy the requirements of the 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) “saving clause.” (Doc. 7.)


          I. Whether Nuriddin 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) (internal punctuation and citation 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”. Taylor v. Warden, FCI Marianna, 557 F. App'x 911, 913 (11th Cir. 2014); Turner, 709 F.3d at 1333 (noting the petitioner bears the burden of establishing that the remedy under Section 2255 was inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention). A motion to vacate covers only challenges to the validity of a sentence, but the saving clause and a petition for a writ of habeas corpus cover challenges to the execution of a sentence. Cf. Antonelli v. Warden, U.S.P. Atlanta, 542 F.3d 1348, 1351 n.1 (11th Cir. 2008) (“It is well-settled that a § 2255 motion to vacate is a separate and distinct remedy from habeas corpus proper. . . . A prisoner in custody pursuant to a federal court judgment may proceed under § 2241 only when he raises claims outside the scope of § 2255(a), that is, claims concerning execution of his sentence.”) (internal citations omitted)); United States v. Flores, 616 F.2d 840, 842 (5th Cir. 1980) (“[The prisoner's] appropriate remedy is under § 2255, not 28 U.S.C. § 2241, since the alleged errors occurred at or prior to sentencing.”).

         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 “saving clause.” “Section 2255(e) makes clear that a motion to vacate is the exclusive mechanism for a federal prisoner to seek collateral relief unless he can satisfy” the saving clause. McCarthan v. Dir. of Goodwill Indus.-Suncoast, Inc., 851 F.3d 1076, 1081 (11th Cir. 2017).

         For years, lower courts were to utilize a test[1] to determine whether a petitioner seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to Section 2241 met the saving clause and could proceed with a Section 2241 petition. However, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has determined its “precedents have ignored the text” of Section 2255. McCarthan, 851 F.3d at 1080. The McCarthan court took “the rare step of overruling [Eleventh Circuit] precedents for three reasons. First, they are wholly divorced from the text. Second, reliance interests are minimal. And third, our precedents have proved unworkable. Continuing to follow these erroneous precedents would do more harm than good.” Id. at 1096.[2]

         Accordingly, after McCarthan, to determine whether a prisoner satisfies the saving clause, a court need only analyze “whether the motion to vacate is an adequate procedure to test the prisoner's claim.” Id. at 1086. To answer this question, a court should “ask whether the prisoner would have been permitted to bring that claim in a motion to vacate. In other words, a prisoner has a meaningful opportunity to test his claim whenever section 2255 can provide him a remedy.” Id. at 1086-87. In short, when reviewing a Section 2241 petition, courts should look to whether the petitioner's claim is of a kind that is “cognizable” under Section 2255. If so, the petitioner cannot meet the “saving clause” and cannot proceed under Section 2241. To be sure, “[t]he remedy [afforded] by [a Section 2255] motion is not ineffective unless the procedure it provides is incapable of adjudicating the claim.” Id. at 1088. Whether the petitioner could ...

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