United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. Bredar United States District Judge
September 2, 2016, Awal Mohammed filed a motion under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct a
sentence by a person in federal custody attacking his 2013
conviction, claiming that his due process rights were
violated as he was deprived of the “opportunity to seek
a minor role adjustment because the factors that the court
should consider…[were] not available to Mr. Mohammed
at the time of sentencing.” United States v.
Mohammed, Criminal No. JKB-12-005 (D. Md.) at ECF No.
234. For reasons to follow, the motion shall be dismissed
was convicted of one count of possession with intent to
distribute heroin and conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841
& 846. On June 18, 2013, the Court sentenced Mohammed to
concurrent 136-month terms in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons,
imposed concurrent five-year terms of supervised release, and
ordered Mohammed to pay a special assessment of $200.00.
Judgment was entered on June 20, 2013.Id. at
ECF No. 154. On May 22, 2014, the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the criminal
judgment. See United States v. Mohammed, 572 F.
App'x 203 (4th Cir. 2014).
October 24, 2014, a self-represented motion to vacate was
filed by Mohammed, raising ineffective assistance of counsel
grounds. United States v. Mohammed, Criminal No.
JKB-12-005 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 192. After briefing, the court
reviewed all issues and denied the motion to vacate on July
28, 2015. A certificate of appealability was subsequently
denied. Id. at ECF Nos. 210, 211, & 223. On
April 6, 2016, the Fourth Circuit denied a certificate of
appealability and dismissed the appeal. See United States
v. Mohammed, 643 F. App'x 308 (4th Cir. 2016).
is well-settled that the district court lacks jurisdiction to
consider a second or successive motion filed under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 unless the motion has been certified in advance
by a panel of the appropriate circuit court of appeals and
found to contain newly discovered evidence bearing on the
innocence of the movant, or “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); see
also United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d 200,
205 (4th Cir. 2003). In this case, Mohammed filed a prior
§ 2255 motion, which related to the same judgment and
sentence that he presently challenges.
neither states nor does the record show that he has obtained
prior authorization from the Fourth Circuit to bring this 28
U.S.C. § 2255 action. In fact, Mohammed states that his
motion for authorization under 28 U.S.C. § 2244 remains
pending before the Fourth Circuit. Thus, being without
authorization, this Court is unable to hear Mohammed's
claim. Winestock, 340 F.3d at 205. The motion must
be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. See Evans v.
Smith, 220 F.3d 306, 325 (4th Cir. 2000).
inmate who files a motion to vacate has no absolute
entitlement to appeal a district court's denial of his
motion. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c) (1). “A
certificate of appealability may issue ... only if the
applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right.” Id. at §
2253(c)(2). The defendant “must demonstrate that
reasonable jurists would find the district court's
assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong,
” Tennard v. Dretke, 542 U.S. 274, 282 (2004)
(quoting Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484
(2000)), or that “the issues presented were
‘adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further,
'” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322,
335-36 (2003) (quoting Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S.
880, 893 n.4 (1983)).
district court dismisses a motion to vacate solely on
procedural grounds, a certificate of appealability will not
issue unless the petitioner can demonstrate both “(1)
‘that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether
the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right' and (2) ‘that jurists of
reason would find it debatable whether the district court was
correct in its procedural ruling.'” Rose v.
Lee, 252 F.3d 676, 684 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Slack, 529 U.S. at 484). The court declines to issue
a certificate of appealability. The motion to vacate will be
dismissed without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction. A
separate Order shall be entered reflecting the opinion set
 An amended judgment was entered on
June 2, 2013. United States v. Mohammed, Criminal
No. JKB-12-005 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 161.
 Mohammed argues that this motion does
not qualify as successive under James v. Walsh 308
F.3d 162 (2d Cir. 2002), because he does not raise a
challenge to the lawfulness of his conviction, but is
challenging his sentence under Amendment 794 to the United
States Sentencing Guidelines (“USSG”). ECF No.
234-1, pp. 2-3. The Walsh ruling held that the
gatekeeping provision of § 2244 could not be applied to
a state prisoner's subsequent habeas corpus challenge to
the execution of his sentence (calculation of his release
date). The Walsh analysis is inapplicable
 The Fourth Circuit docket shows that
Mohammed's pending § 2244 motion was received for
filing on August 30, 2016. See In re: Awal Mohammed,
CA No. 16-3053 (4th Cir. 2016).
 The United States Court of Appeals for
the Fourth Circuit has set forth instructions for the filing
of a "motion" to obtain the aforementioned
authorization Order. The procedural requirements and
deadlines for filing the "motion" are extensive.
This Court has attached hereto a packet of instructions
promulgated by the Fourth Circuit that addresses the
comprehensive procedure to be followed should Mohammed wish
to seek authorization to file a successive petition. It is to
be emphasized that the "motion" must be filed with