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Golson v. Stamper

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

November 21, 2017

MALCOLM EUGENE GOLSON, #53294-083, Petitioner,
v.
DENNIS W. STAMPER, WARDEN, Respondent.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Susan Russ Walker, United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is before the court on a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Malcolm Golson, a federal inmate incarcerated at the Maxwell Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Alabama. On April 3, 2001, Golson entered a guilty plea to distribution of crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(iii). On October 24, 2001, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Golson as a career offender to a term of 263 months' imprisonment.[1] Doc. 18-1.

         Golson filed notice of appeal on November 6, 2001. On June 25, 2002, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Golson's appeal on motion of the government. Golson then filed a motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on September 30, 2002, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The trial court denied the motion on June 18, 2003, and Golson filed a request for reconsideration. The trial court granted this motion and afforded Golson an opportunity to file an appeal in his criminal case. On March 26, 2004, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Golson's conviction and sentence.[2] Doc. 18-5.

         Golson filed motions to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on August 4, 2004, and again on March 25, 2005, both of which were denied by the trial court without prejudice to Golson's right to present his claims after obtaining permission from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to file a successive motion. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the trial court's decisions on Golson's successive § 2255 motions. Golson filed another motion to vacate on August 6, 2007, which the trial court denied without prejudice to his right to present his claims after obtaining permission from the Fourth Circuit to file a successive motion. On April 18, 2008, Golson filed a motion to reduce sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582. The trial court denied the motion and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision on November 21, 2008. Doc. 18-5.

         In this petition, Golson challenges application of the career offender enhancement based on consideration of an improper predicate offense. Specifically, Golson maintains that the sentencing court enhanced his sentence by relying on a prior juvenile conviction improperly classified as an adult conviction. This same argument is relied on by Golson to support his claim he is “actually innocent” of being classified as a career offender. Doc. 1.

         Respondent filed a response in opposition to Golson's habeas petition in which he argues that Golson has not met his burden of showing the remedy available to him under § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective” as required by § 2255(e), nor has he presented evidence sufficient to trigger application of § 2255's saving clause and, therefore, this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the instant 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition. Docs. 18, 19. Upon review of the petition, the response and supporting evidentiary material filed by Respondent, Golson's response, and relevant federal law, the court finds that no evidentiary hearing is required, see Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts, and concludes that the instant § 2241 habeas petition is due to be dismissed because the “petition does not fall within the text of the saving clause” of § 2255(e). McCarthan v. Dir. of Goodwill Indus.-Suncoast, Inc., 851 F.3d 1076 (11th Cir. 2017), petition for cert. filed, (U.S. July 12, 2017) (No. 17-85).

         I. DISCUSSION

         “Typically, collateral attacks on the validity of a federal sentence must be brought [in a motion to vacate] under § 2255.” Darby v. Hawk-Sawyer, 405 F.3d 942, 944 (11th Cir. 2005); McCarthan, 851 F.3d at 1081 (noting that for decades “Congress has required that a federal prisoner file a motion to vacate, 28 U.S.C. § 2255, instead of petition for writ of habeas corpus, id., § 2241, to collaterally attack the legality of his sentence.”).

A motion to vacate allows a prisoner to contest his sentence “upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). 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” at the end of that subsection:
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.
Id. § 2255(e) (emphasis added). “[S]aving[, not savings, ] is the precise word” for “a statutory provision exempting from coverage something that would otherwise be included, ” Bryan A. Garner, Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage 797 (3d ed. 2011); it has nothing to do with saving a statute from unconstitutionality, see, e.g., 28 U.S.C. § 1333(1) (“saving to suitors in all cases all other remedies to which they are otherwise entitled”).

McCarthan, 851 F.3d at 1081-82 (emphasis in original).

         The saving clause of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) permits a federal prisoner to file a habeas petition pursuant to § 2241 if he establishes that the remedy afforded by § 2255 “is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” Taylor v. Warden FCI Marianna, 557 Fed. App'x. 911, 913 (11th Cir. 2014). When a petitioner seeks to proceed on a § 2241 petition for writ of habeas corpus under the saving clause of § 2255(e) he “bears the burden of establishing that the remedy by [§ 2255] motion was ‘inadequate or ineffective to test the legation of his detention.'” McCarthan, 851 F.3d at 1081 (internal quotations and citation omitted). “[W]hether a federal prisoner pursuing a § 2241 petition meets the § 2255(e) saving[] clause, and thereby opens a portal to review of the merits of the § 2241 petition, is a threshold consideration that must be resolved ...


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