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White v. Warden

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

July 3, 2018

RANDALL WHITE, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner Randall White (“White”), an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup, Georgia (“FCI Jesup”), filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1.) I have conducted a preliminary review of White's claims, as required by Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.[1] For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS White's Petition and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal. I also RECOMMEND the Court DENY White in forma pauperis status on appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         In his Petition, White states that he is currently detained at FCI Jesup as a result of his conviction obtained in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. (Doc. 1, p. 2.) According to White, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld his conviction was upheld on appeal. (Id. at pp. 2-3.) He also avers that he previously moved to set aside his conviction and sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and the District of South Carolina dismissed that motion with prejudice on August 5, 2002. (Id. at p. 3.) In his Section 2241 Motion and supporting brief, White again attacks his conviction and sentence on a number of grounds. His asserted grounds range from alleged alterations to his arrest warrant to his trial counsel having operated under a conflict of interest. (Id. at pp. 4-6.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard of Review

         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.

         Under Rule 2(c), “[h]abeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements.” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (citing Rule 2(c) of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases). While Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires complaints in a civil case to contain only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” petitions for habeas corpus must “specify all the grounds for relief available to the petitioner” and “state the facts supporting each ground.” Rule 2 of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. In other words, habeas petitions must contain “‘fact pleading' as opposed to ‘notice pleading.'” Hittson v. GDCP Warden, 759 F.3d 1210, 1265 (11th Cir. 2014) (internal quotations and citations omitted). “To properly fact plead, ‘a petitioner must state specific, particularized facts which entitle him or her to habeas corpus relief for each ground specified. These facts must consist of sufficient detail to enable the court to determine, from the face of the petition alone, whether the petition merits further habeas corpus review.'” Arrington v. Warden, GDCP, No. CV 117-022, 2017 WL 4079405, at *2 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 14, 2017) (quoting Adams v. Armontrout, 897 F.2d 332, 334 (8th Cir. 1990)). Therefore, a habeas petitioner cannot merely levy conclusory allegations but must support his claims with specific factual detail. Id. (citing James v. Borg, 24 F.3d 20, 26 (9th Cir. 1994)).

         II. Whether it Plainly Appears That White is not Entitled to Relief

         Through his Petition, White asks this Court to set aside his convictions obtained in the District of South Carolina. He is currently incarcerated as a result of that judgment, and he is asking this Court to release him from that custody. White cannot obtain the relief he seeks in this Court through a Section 2241 petition.

         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 Fed.Appx. 891, 896 (11th Cir. 2015) (per curiam) (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) (citation omitted). 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 Fed.Appx. 911, 913 (11th Cir. 2014) (per curiam); 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.”).[2]

         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 ...

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