United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge.
Graham, who is self-represented, filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus on March 8, 2018, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§2241. ECF 2. The case was initiated in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of California,
and that court transferred the case to this Court on March
13, 2018. ECF 1.
habeas petition is rooted in a criminal case litigated in
this District. That case (13-620) was assigned to Judge
William D. Quarles, Jr., who has since retired. In
particular, following a jury trial in February 2015,
defendant was convicted of Hobbs Act robbery; possession of a
firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; discharge of
the firearm; and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a
convicted felon. See ECF 132 (jury verdict). Judge
Quarles sentenced Graham to a total term of incarceration of
382 months. See ECF 151. The Fourth Circuit affirmed
on April 4, 2016 (ECF 165) and the mandate issued on April
26, 2016. ECF 166.
December 2016, Graham wrote a letter to the Clerk of this
Court, asking for an extension of time to file a § 2255
motion. ECF 171. On February 16, 2018, Graham filed
correspondence in his criminal case, construed as a motion to
vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition. ECF 172.
See Related Civil Case 18-491. On that date, the
case was reassigned to me, due to the retirement of Judge
Quarles. See Docket. In an Order dated March 5,
2018, I granted petitioner 28 days to file supplemental
materials to support the § 2255 motion, because the
correspondence did not state a substantive claim.
See ELH-13-620 at ECF 173. A few days later, Graham
filed his habeas action in the California court.
asserts that the underlying state criminal convictions relied
upon to enhance his federal criminal sentence in United
States v. Graham, Criminal Case ELH-13-620 (D. Md.) are
no longer a valid basis for the enhancements pursuant to the
holding in Johnson v. United States, U.S., 135 S.Ct.
2551 (2015). ECF 2. Petitioner avers that his claim regarding
sentencing enhancements is presented as a petition pursuant
to §2241 because the claim is untimely for purposes of a
§2255 motion. ECF 2 at 5.
the threshold question presented is whether this claim is
properly raised in a '2241 petition or is more properly
construed under 28 U.S.C. Â§2255. A writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Â§2241 and a motion to vacate, set aside
or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Â§2255, are separate
and distinct mechanisms for obtaining post-conviction relief.
A '2241 petition attacks the manner in which a sentence
is executed. See 28 U.S.C. Â§2241(a). By contrast, a
'2255 motion challenges the validity of a conviction or
sentence. See In re Jones, 226 F.3d 328, 332 (4th
Cir. 2000); In re Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 n. 5
(4th Cir. 1997) (en banc).
a federal prisoner generally may not seek collateral relief
from a conviction or sentence by way of '2241, there is
an exception under the so-called ''savings
clause'' in '2255. It provides that a prisoner may
seek relief under '2241 if the remedy under '2255 is
''inadequate or ineffective to test the validity of
his detention.'' 28 U.S.C. Â§2255.
Jones, the United States Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit concluded that '2255 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. Jones, 226 F.3d at
333-34 (concluding that the petitioner was entitled to file a
§ 2241 petition where the § 2255 motion would be
barred as second or successive). The inability to obtain
relief under §2255, however, does not render it
inadequate and ineffective for purposes of applicability of
the savings clause. Id. at 333.
instant petition is not an attack on the execution of the
sentence imposed, as would be appropriate for a § 2241
petition. Rather, it is a challenge to the validity of the
underlying criminal proceeding. Here, petitioner has
contemporaneously filed correspondence that the Court chose
to construe as a § 2255 motion. A time-bar defense
raised in response to the claim as asserted may be defeated
if petitioner can establish he is entitled to an equitable
tolling of the filing deadline applicable to a motion to
vacate or that it is otherwise timely filed.
the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §2255, the limitation period
runs from the latest of:
(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion
created by governmental action in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the
movant was prevented from ...