United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
DAVID WEBB, Reg. No. 15813-104, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Respondents.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Webb (“Webb”), a federal inmate at the Maxwell
Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Alabama, filed a pro
se petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 on September 27, 2018. Doc. # 1. Pursuant to
orders entered by this court, Webb filed an amended §
2241 petition on October 12, 2018. Doc. # 7. This action is
before the court on the claims in that amended petition.
challenges the validity of his 2018 conviction and sentence
imposed by the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia for inducement of another to travel in
interstate commerce in the execution of a scheme and artifice
to defraud that person of property, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2314. Webb claims his conviction and sentence are void
and that he is entitled to immediate release because (1) the
federal district courts, including the court in which he was
convicted and sentenced, are not lawfully established by
Congress; (2) the United States suffered no “injury in
fact” from his alleged crimes; and (3) his guilty plea
was entered under duress in violation of his due process
rights. Doc. # 7 at 1-3. For the reasons that follow, the
undersigned concludes this action should be transferred to
the Eastern District of Virginia.
courts have “an obligation to look behind the label of
a motion filed by a pro se inmate and determine
whether the motion is, in effect, cognizable under a
different remedial statutory framework.” United
States v. Jordan, 915 F.2d 622, 624-25 (11th Cir. 1990).
Although brought as a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
this court must consider whether this action is more
appropriately considered as a motion to vacate under 28
U.S.C. § 2255.
2241 provides an avenue for challenges to matters such as the
administration of parole, prison disciplinary actions, prison
transfers, and certain types of detention. See, e.g.,
Antonelli v. Warden, U.S.P. Atlanta, 542 F.3d 1348,
1351-52 (11th Cir. 2008) (petition challenging decision of
federal Parole Commission is properly brought under §
2241); Bishop v. Reno, 210 F.3d 1295, 1304 n.14
(11th Cir. 2000) (petition challenging Bureau of Prisons'
administration of service credits, including calculation,
awarding, and withholding, involves execution rather than
imposition of sentence, and thus is a matter for habeas
corpus). For purposes of venue, petitions filed under §
2241 must be brought in the district in which the petitioner
is incarcerated. Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426,
contrast, 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a) states:
A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established
by an Act of Congress claiming the right to be released 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, may move the
court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or
correct the sentence.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a) (emphasis added). For actions
properly considered under § 2255, venue and jurisdiction
lie only in the district of conviction. 28 U.S.C. §
self-described § 2241 petition challenges the legality
of his conviction and sentence. Generally, a federal prisoner
must bring any collateral attack on the legality of his
conviction or sentence through a motion to vacate under
§ 2255 rather than a petition for writ of habeas corpus
under § 2241. See McCarthan v. Dir. of Goodwill
Indus.-Suncoast, Inc., 851 F.3d 1076, 1081 (11th Cir.
2017); Venta v. Warden, FCC Coleman-Low, 2017 WL
4280936, at *1 (11th Cir. 2017). A petitioner challenging the
legality of his federal detention may do so under § 2241
only if he shows that § 2255 would be an
“inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his
detention.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) (the
so called “saving clause”); see also Johnson
v. Warden, 737 Fed.Appx. 989, 990-91 (11th Cir. 2018).
Webb does not attempt to show that § 2255 would be an
inadequate vehicle to present his claims. Indeed he cannot,
because his claims challenging the validity of his conviction
and sentence fall squarely within the realm of injuries
§ 2255 addresses.
federal prisoner brings “a traditional claim attacking
his [conviction or] sentence that he could have brought in a
[§ 2255] motion to vacate, the remedy by [such] motion
is adequate and effective to test the legality of his
detention. . . . Allowing a prisoner with a claim that is
cognizable in a [§ 2255] motion to vacate to access
[§ 2241] nullifies the procedural hurdles of section
2255 and undermines the venue provisions.”
McCarthan, 851 F.3d at 1090. Here, regardless of the
label Webb places on his pleadings, his petition challenging
his conviction and sentence must be considered as a motion
under § 2255, rather than § 2241. Section 2255
remains Webb's exclusive remedy to bring his challenge to
his conviction and sentence. Because he challenges a judgment
entered in the Eastern District of Virginia, jurisdiction to
consider the § 2255 motion lies only in the Eastern
District of Virginia as the district of conviction.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).
28 U.S.C. § 1631, a court that finds it lacks
jurisdiction to entertain a civil action may, if it is in the
interest of justice, transfer such action to any other court
in which the action could have been brought when it was
filed. Because Webb is proceeding pro se, in the
interest of justice this action should be transferred to the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that this
case be TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for