United States District Court, D. Maryland
SEBASTIAN ECCLESTON, Prisoner Identification No. 12207-051, Petitioner,
TIMOTHY STEWART, Warden, Respondent.
THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on self-represented Petitioner
Sebastian Eccleston's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. ECF No. 1. Eccleston has
also filed an Emergency Motion to Correct Sentence under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 and a Motion to Stay Proceedings. ECF Nos.
2 & 3. Eccleston, a federal prisoner confined at the
Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland,
asks this Court to vacate his 1996 conviction and sentence in
the United States District Court for the District of New
Mexico for carjacking and interference with commerce by
threat or violence. For the reasons set forth below, this
case will be transferred to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Tenth Circuit for all further proceedings.
1996, Eccleston pled guilty to carjacking in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2119(1), using and carrying a firearm during
and in relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 924(c), interference with commerce by threat or
violence against the victim in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1951(a), and carrying a sawed-off shotgun in relation to
interference with commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c). United States v. Eccleston, No.
95-CR-00014-LH-2 (D.N.M. 1996). He was sentenced to 417
months of imprisonment on November 12, 1996. Id. The
Tenth Circuit affirmed the conviction and sentence on
December 17, 1997. United States v.
Eccleston, No. 96-2272, 1997 WL 774758 at *l-3 (10th
4, 2001, Eccleston filed his first Motion to Vacate, Set
Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Mot. to Vacate, Eccleston v. United States of
America, No. 01-CV-00500-LH-WD (D.N.M. May 4, 2001). The
Motion was dismissed with prejudice as time-barred.
Eccleston v. United States of America, No.
01-CV-00500-LH-WD (D.N.M. June 15, 2001). Since then,
Eccleston has filed five petitions in the Tenth Circuit
seeking permission to file second or successive § 2255
motions. See United States v. Eccleston,
16-CV-00414-LH-WPL (D.N.M. May 20, 2016) (listing
Eccleston's Petitions to file second or successive §
9, 2016, Eccleston filed a § 2255 motion in the United
States District Court for the District of New Mexico seeking
relief under Johnson v. United States, 135
S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which held that the residual clause of the
Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. §
924(e)(2)(B), violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth
Amendment to the United States Constitution. United
States v. Eccleston, No. 16-CV-00414-LH-WPL
(D.N.M. May 9, 2016). As Eccleston had not obtained
pre-filing authorization to file a second or successive
motion to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence, as is
required under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h),  the court
dismissed the Motion without prejudice for lack of
jurisdiction and denied a Certificate of Appealability.
United States v. Eccleston, No.
16-CV-00414-LH-WPL (D.N.M. May 20, 2016). The court found
that in light of Eccleston's five prior petitions seeking
pre-filing authorization from the Tenth Circuit, the Motion
was not filed in good faith and that Eccleston "should
have realized that the forum in which he ... filed [his
second or successive claims] was improper." Id.
at 4 (quoting Small v. Millyard, 488 F.App'x
288, 291 (10th Cir. 2012)) (alteration in original). The
court therefore determined that transfer of the case to the
Tenth Circuit was not in the interests of justice.
Id. The court also informed Eccleston that he has
until June 26, 2016 (one year from the date Johnson
was decided) to file a § 2255 motion seeking relief
under Johnson and that the claim will not be
time-barred if filed anew by that date in the Tenth Circuit.
Id. at 3.
Eccleston's May 9, 2016 Petition in the District of New
Mexico, the instant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed
in the District of Maryland on May 13, 2016, also seeks
relief in light of Johnson. Eccleston asserts that
this Court has jurisdiction because the remedy provided under
28 U.S.C. § 2255 is inadequate and ineffective to test
the legality of his conviction. In addition, Eccleston moves
to stay this matter pending the outcome of his request before
the Tenth Circuit to file a second or successive § 2255
motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 is typically the exclusive remedy for
testing the validity of federal judgments and sentences. 28
U.S.C. § 2255(a); Rice v. Rivera, 617
F.3d 802, 807 (4th Cir. 2010) (observing that "it is
well established that defendants convicted in federal court
are obliged to seek habeas relief from their convictions and
sentences through § 2255"). "[A]ttacks on the
execution of a sentence are properly raised in a § 2241
petition." In re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 n.5
(4th Cir. 1997). "In contrast to a § 2255 habeas
petition, which is filed with the original sentencing court,
a § 2241 habeas petition can only be filed in the
district in which a prisoner is confined." United
States v. Poole, 531 F.3d 263, 264 (4th Cir. 2008).
prisoner "may file a habeas petition under § 2241
only if the collateral relief typically available under
§ 2255 'is inadequate or ineffective to test the
legality of his detention.'" Prousalis v.
Moore, 751 F.3d 272, 275 (4th Cir. 2014) (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e)). If a federal inmate files a §
2241 petition that does not fall within the purview of this
"savings clause, " then the "unauthorized
habeas motion must be dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction." Rice, 617F.3d at 807.
"savings clause" is not triggered merely
"because an individual is procedurally barred from
filing a Section 2255 motion." In re Vial, 115
F.3d at 1194 n.5. The petitioner bears the burden of
demonstrating that the § 2255 remedy is inadequate or
ineffective. Hood v. United States, No. 01-6151,
2001 WL 648636, at *1 (4th Cir. June 12, 2001). The United
States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that
a § 2255 motion is inadequate and ineffective to test
the legality of a conviction when: "(1) at the time of
conviction, settled law of this circuit or the Supreme Court
established the legality of the conviction; (2) subsequent to
the prisoner's direct appeal and first § 2255
motion, the substantive law changed such that the conduct of
which the prisoner was convicted is deemed not to be
criminal; and (3) the prisoner cannot satisfy the gatekeeping
provisions of § 2255 because the new rule is not one of
constitutional law." In re Jones, 226 F.3d 328,
333-34 (4th Cir. 2000).
April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court held that Johnson
announced a substantive, rather than procedural, rule because
it altered the reach of the underlying statute rather than
the judicial procedures by which the statute was applied.
Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257,
1265 (2016). Johnson thus applies retroactively to
cases on collateral review. Id. Because the Supreme
Court has announced that Johnson establishes a new
rule of constitutional law to be applied retroactively to
cases on collateral review, Eccleston cannot demonstrate that
§ 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality
of his detention. As such, this Court lacks jurisdiction to
consider this matter. Instead, Eccleston must seek relief
from the sentencing court pursuant to § 2255 or seek
authorization from the appropriate court of appeals to file a
second or successive § 2255 motion based on "a new
rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on
collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously
unavailable." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h)(2).
that the deadline for filing Johnson claims is
imminent, and because the Court has not confirmed that
Eccleston has already sought such authorization from the
Tenth Circuit, the Court shall in the interests of justice,
transfer this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631 to the