United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. RUSSELL, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner William S.
Davis' Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 (2018) challenging his March 29, 2018
conviction and 144 month sentence from the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for
cyberstalking and threatening communications in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 2261A(2) (B) (2018); 18 U.S.C. §
2261(b)(5) (2018). See United States v. Davis,
5:14-CR-240-1BR (E.D. N.C. March 29, 2018). Davis filed this
Petition without submitting the $5.00 filing fee or filing a
Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. Requiring
Davis to cure this deficiency, however, would serve only to
delay resolution of this case. For the reasons described below,
the Court will dismiss the Petition.
is an inmate at Federal Correctional Institution in
Cumberland, Maryland. On March 29, 2018, Davis noted a direct
appeal of his judgment and sentence. The appeal is pending
before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit. United States v. Davis, No. 18-4201 (4th.
25. 2018, Davis filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or
Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. §2255 (2018) in the
Eastern District of Virginia. Subsequently, the matter was
transferred to the sentencing court, the Eastern District of
North Carolina. On May 31, 2018, the Honorable W. Earl Britt,
Senior U.S. District Judge, noting that Davis' direct
appeal was pending, dismissed the § 2255 Motion without
prejudice as premature, and denied a Certificate of
Appealability. Davis v. United States, Civil Action
No. 5:18-CV-238-BR (E.D. N.C. 2018).
preliminary matter, the Court must determine whether this
claim is properly raised in a § 2241 petition or is,
instead, more appropriately considered as a Motion to Vacate,
Set Aside or Correct Sentence under § 2255. A petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to § 2241 and a
motion pursuant to § 2255 are separate and distinct
legal mechanisms for obtaining post-conviction relief. A
§ 2241 petition attacks the manner in which a sentence
is executed. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a). 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). Here, the Petition clearly challenges
the validity of Davis' underlying sentence. Regardless of
the label or title used by petitioner, the substance of the
petition, and not its title, determines its status. See,
e.g., Calderon v. Thompson, 523 U.S. 538, 554
(1998); see also Castro v. United States, 540 U.S.
375, 381 (2003) (A court may recharacterize a pro se motion
“to create a better correspondence between the
substance of a pro se motion's claim and its underlying
federal prisoner may not collaterally attack a conviction and
sentence in a §2241 petition unless an exception
commonly called “the Saving Clause” set forth at
28 U.S.C. §2255(e) applies. The Savings Clause permits a
prisoner to challenge the validity of a conviction where the
remedy available is “inadequate or ineffective to test
the legality of his detention.” 28 U.S.C.
§2255(e); In re Jones, 226 F.3d 328, 333 (4th
Cir. 2000); Rice v. Rivera, 617 F.3d 802, 807 (4th
Cir.2010). This exception does not trigger “merely . .
. because an individual is procedurally barred from filing a
Section 2255 motion[.]” In re Vial, 115 F.3d
at 1194 n. 5; In re Jones, 226 F.3d at 333.
Importantly, a petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating
that the §2255 remedy is inadequate or ineffective.
Hood v. United States, 13 Fed.Appx. 72 (4th Cir.
Circuit, 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 at 333-34.
asserts a § 2255 motion is inadequate and ineffective to
test the legality of his conviction because there was
“fraudulent concealment of judicial misconduct”
at his trial. (Pet. at 5, ECF No. 1). His unsupported,
conclusory assertions are insufficient to meet the standard
announced in Jones. Moreover, Davis may pursue
relief on direct appeal and later in a § 2255 motion
filed in the sentencing court. Davis fails to demonstrate
that use of a § 2241 petition to attack his judgment and
sentence is appropriate. This case will therefore be
dismissed without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction.
certificate of appealability is not granted unless there is
“a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right.” Id. § 2253(c)(2).
When the district court denies relief on the merits, a
prisoner satisfies this standard by demonstrating that
reasonable jurists would find that the district court's
assessment of the constitutional claims is debatable or
wrong. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000);
see Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336-38
(2003). When the district court denies relief on procedural
grounds, the prisoner must demonstrate both that the
dispositive procedural ruling is debatable, and that the
petition states a debatable claim of the denial of a
constitutional right. Slack, 529 U.S. at 484-85.
Here, the Petition does not satisfy this standard, and
accordingly, the Court declines to issue a Certificate of
these aforementioned reasons, the Court will dismiss the
Petition without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction and
declines to issue a ...