United States District Court, D. New Jersey
June 3, 2005.
COREY LORENZO WOODFOLK, Petitioner,
WARDEN MINER, Respondent.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT KUGLER, Magistrate Judge
Petitioner Corey Lorenzo Woodfolk filed a Petition for a Writ
of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging his
federal sentence as unconstitutional under United States v.
Booker, 543 U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 738 (2005). Respondents filed a
motion to dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction and
Petitioner filed a response in opposition to the motion. Having
thoroughly reviewed the papers, this Court dismisses the Petition
for lack of jurisdiction. I. BACKGROUND
Petitioner challenges a 50-year sentence entered in the United
States District Court for the District of Maryland on November
10, 1994, based on his plea of guilty to conspiracy to possess
and distribute heroin. See United States v. Woodfolk, Docket
No. 93-CR-419 (JFM), j. conv. (D. Md. Nov. 10, 1994). Petitioner
appealed and on June 17, 1996, the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit affirmed. See United States v.
Williams, 87 F.3d 1310 (4th Cir. 1996) (table).
The sentencing court denied Petitioner's first motion to vacate
the sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 by Order filed January 21,
1999. See Woodfolk v. USA, Civil No. 97-3737, order (JFM) (D.
Md. filed Jan. 22, 1999). The Fourth Circuit denied a certificate
of appealability. On July 26, 2000, the sentencing court
dismissed Petitioner's second § 2255 motion as a successive
petition. See Woodfolk v. USA, Civil No. 00-2086 (JFM), order
(D. Md. entered July 26, 2000). Petitioner filed two motions for
authorization to file a successive § 2255 motion, which the
Fourth Circuit denied on April 26, 2001, and August 6, 2004.
Between August 29, 2000, and July 29, 2002, Petitioner filed at
least seven § 2241 petitions challenging his sentence, each of
which was denied. See Woodfolk v. Dodrill, Civil No. 02-1310
(YK), order (M.D. Pa. filed Oct. 8, 2003); Woodfolk v. Dodrill,
Civil No. 02-93 (YK), order (M.D. Pa. filed May 31, 2002);
Woodfolk v. Romine, Civil No. 01-1651 (YK), order (M.D. Pa.
filed Dec. 4, 2001); Woodfolk v. Romine, Civil No. 01-867 (YK),
order (M.D. Pa. filed June 8, 2001); Woodfolk v. US, Civil No.
00-3744 (JFM), order & memorandum (D. Md. filed Jan. 9, 2001);
Woodfolk v. USA, Civil No. 00-2264 (WBH), order (N.D. Ga. filed
Sept. 20, 2000). Petitioner, who is now incarcerated at F.C.I. Fairton in New
Jersey, filed this Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging
his sentence as unconstitutional under Booker. Citing Lloyd v.
United States, ___ F.3d ___, 2005 WL 1155220 (3d Cir. May 17,
2005), and In re Olopade, 403 F.3d 159 (3d Cir. 2005),
Respondents filed a motion to dismiss the Petition on the ground
that this Court lacks jurisdiction under § 2241 to entertain the
Booker claim. Petitioner counters that, even if Booker does
not apply retroactively, this Court should consider the merits of
his Booker claim because he is actually innocent of the crime
for which the District of Maryland sentenced him to 50 years in
A. Standard of Review
"Habeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading
requirements." McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994). A
petition must "specify all the grounds for relief" and set forth
"facts supporting each of the grounds thus specified." See
28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 2(c) (amended Dec. 1, 2004), applicable to §
2241 petitions through Habeas Rule 1(b).
Habeas Rule 4 requires the Court to examine a petition prior to
ordering an answer and to summarily dismiss the petition if "it
plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that
the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court."
28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 4. "Federal courts are authorized to
dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears legally
insufficient on its face." McFarland, 512 U.S. at 856; see
also United States v. Thomas, 221 F.3d 430, 437 (3d Cir.
2000); Siers v. Ryan, 773 F.3d 37, 45 (3d Cir. 1985), cert.
denied, 490 U.S. 1025 (1989). B. Jurisdiction
Section 2241 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides in
(c) The writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a
prisoner unless . . . He is in custody in violation
of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United
28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3).
As a result of the practical difficulties encountered in
hearing a challenge to a federal sentence in the district of
confinement rather than the district of sentence, in its 1948
revision of the Judicial Code, Congress established a procedure
whereby a federal prisoner might collaterally attack his sentence
in the sentencing court.*fn1 See 28 U.S.C. § 2255; Davis
v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 343-44 (1974); United States v.
Hayman, 342 U.S. 205, 219 (1952). Section 2255 provides in
A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court
established by 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, ¶ 1.
"Motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 are the presumptive means
by which federal prisoners can challenge their convictions or
sentences that are allegedly in violation of the Constitution." Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117, 120 (3d
Cir. 2002). This is because § 2255 expressly prohibits a district
court from entertaining a challenge to a prisoner's federal
sentence under § 2241 unless the remedy under § 2255 is
"inadequate or ineffective" to test the legality of the
petitioner's detention.*fn2 See 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Specifically, paragraph five of § 2255 provides:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus [pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241] in behalf of a prisoner who is
authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to
this section, shall not be entertained if it appears
that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by
motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that
such court has denied him relief, unless it also
appears that the remedy by motion is inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.
28 U.S.C. § 2255, ¶ 5; see Cradle v. U.S. ex rel. Miner,
290 F.3d 536
(3d Cir. 2002); In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245
(3d Cir. 1997); Millan-Diaz v. Parker, 444 F.2d 95
1971); Application of Galante, 437 F.2d 1164
(3d Cir. 1971)
(per curiam); United States ex rel. Leguillou v. Davis,
212 F.2d 681
, 684 (3d Cir. 1954).
A § 2255 motion is inadequate or ineffective, authorizing
resort to § 2241, "only where the petitioner demonstrates that
some limitation of scope or procedure would prevent a § 2255
proceeding from affording him a full hearing and adjudication of
his wrongful detention claim." Cradle, 290 F.3d at 538. "It is
the inefficacy of the remedy, not the personal inability to use
it, that is determinative." Id. "Section 2255 is not
`inadequate or ineffective' merely because the sentencing court
does not grant relief, the one-year statute of limitations has
expired, or the petitioner is unable to meet the stringent gatekeeping
requirements of the amended § 2255. The provision exists to
ensure that petitioners have a fair opportunity to seek
collateral relief, not to enable them to evade procedural
requirements." Id. at 539.
In In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251, the Third Circuit
applied the "inadequate or ineffective" test to a § 2241 claim
based on a change of substantive law that occurred after
Dorsainvil's first § 2255 motion was decided.*fn3 The Third
Circuit first determined that Dorsainvil could not raise the
Bailey claim in a successive § 2255 motion because the AEDPA
restricted successive § 2255 motions to constitutional
claims.*fn4 However, the court held that, in this narrow
situation where Dorsainvil had no other opportunity to raise the
claim, § 2255 was inadequate and ineffective. The Court reasoned:
Dorsainvil does not have and, because of the
circumstances that he was convicted for a violation
of § 924(c)(1) before the Bailey decision, never
had an opportunity to challenge his conviction as
inconsistent with the Supreme Court's interpretation
of § 924(c)(1). If, as the Supreme Court stated in
[Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333 (1974)], it
is a "complete miscarriage of justice" to punish a defendant for an act that the
law does not make criminal, thereby warranting resort
to the collateral remedy afforded by § 2255, it must
follow that it is the same "complete miscarriage of
justice" when the AEDPA amendment to § 2255 makes
that collateral remedy unavailable. In that unusual
circumstance, the remedy afforded by § 2255 is
"inadequate or ineffective" to test the legality of
Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251 (quoting Davis v. United States,
417 U.S. 333
, 346-47 (1974)).
The Third Circuit emphasized the narrowness of its holding:
We do not suggest that § 2255 would be "inadequate or
ineffective" so as to enable a second petitioner to
invoke § 2241 merely because that petitioner is
unable to meet the stringent gatekeeping requirements
of the amended § 2255. Such a holding would
effectively eviscerate Congress's intent in amending
§ 2255. However, allowing someone in Dorsainvil's
unusual position that of a prisoner who had no
earlier opportunity to challenge his conviction for a
crime that an intervening change in substantive law
may negate, even when the government concedes that
such a change should be applied retroactively is
hardly likely to undermine the gatekeeping provisions
of § 2255.
Dorsainvil at 251 (emphasis added).*fn5
Turning to the case at bar, Petitioner argues that his 50-year
sentence is unconstitutional under Booker because the
sentencing court enhanced it beyond the 19.5-year maximum on the
basis of facts that were not found by the jury or admitted by
Petitioner. It is clear that a Booker claim is within the scope
of claims that are cognizable under § 2255. Therefore, this Court
lacks jurisdiction under § 2241 to entertain Petitioner's
Booker claim unless § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective for him
to raise it.
Booker evolved from the Supreme Court's decision in Apprendi
v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000).*fn6 In Apprendi, the
Supreme Court determined that Apprendi had a constitutional right
to have a jury, rather than a judge, find bias because the
finding was necessary to support an enhanced sentence under the
New Jersey hate crimes law. The Supreme Court reversed Apprendi's
sentence pursuant to the principle that, "under the Due Process
Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the notice and jury trial
guarantees of the Sixth Amendment, any fact (other than prior
conviction) that increases the maximum penalty for a crime must
be charged in an indictment, submitted to a jury, and proven beyond a reasonable
doubt." Apprendi, 530 U.S. at 476 (quoting Jones,
526 U.S. at 243 n. 6). In Booker, the Supreme Court determined that, for
reasons explained in Apprendi, Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584
(2002), and Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. ___, 124 S.Ct. 2531
(2004), application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines violated
the Sixth Amendment because the guidelines required the judge to
enhance the sentence based on the judge's determination of facts
that were not found by the jury or admitted by defendant.
Petitioner is correct that Booker is a change of law that was
announced after Petitioner's conviction became final and after
his first § 2255 motion was decided. Petitioner is also correct
that he cannot raise his Booker claim in a successive § 2255
motion because Booker has not been made retroactive to cases on
collateral review by the Supreme Court.*fn7 See In re
Olopade, 403 F.3d 159 (3d Cir. 2005); see also Tyler v.
Cain, 533 U.S. 656 (2001); In re Turner, 267 F.3d 225 (3d Cir.
2001). However, it does not follow that § 2255 is an inadequate
or ineffective procedural mechanism for Petitioner to raise his
Section 2255 is not inadequate or ineffective "merely because
the sentencing court does not grant relief, the one-year statute
of limitations has expired, or the petitioner is unable to meet
the stringent gatekeeping requirements of the amended § 2255."
In re Cradle, 290 F.3d at 539. Moreover, § 2255 is not
inadequate or ineffective for a prisoner like Petitioner to raise
a Booker claim, even where he had no earlier opportunity to raise the
claim because Booker was not decided until after his conviction
became final and his first § 2255 motion was decided. See
Okereke v. United States, 307 F.3d 117 (3d Cir. 2002). As the
Third Circuit reasoned in Okereke:
Unlike the intervening change in law in In re
Dorsainvil that potentially made the crime for which
that petitioner was convicted non-criminal,
Apprendi dealt with sentencing and did not render
conspiracy to import heroin, the crime for which
Okereke was convicted, not criminal. Accordingly,
under our In re Dorsainvil decision, § 2255 was not
inadequate or ineffective for Okereke to raise his
Okereke, 307 F.3d at 120-21.
If § 2255 is not an inadequate or ineffective procedural
mechanism for a prisoner who had no other opportunity to raise an
Apprendi claim, it follows that it is not an inadequate or
ineffective vehicle for a petitioner to raise a Booker claim.
Like Apprendi, Booker deals with sentencing and does not
decriminalize the conduct for which Petitioner was convicted.
Accordingly, this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain
Petitioner's Booker claim under § 2241. Cf. Okereke,
307 F.3d at 120-21.
Even if this Court had jurisdiction to entertain Petitioner's
claims, he could not prevail because the United States Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit recently determined that Booker
does not apply retroactively to cases that became final on direct
review prior to January 12, 2005, the date Booker issued. See
Lloyd v. United States, ___ F.3d ___ 2005 WL 1155220 (3d Cir.
May 17, 2005); see also Schriro v. Summerlin, 124 S.Ct. 2519
(2004) (because Ring is a new procedural rule, it does not apply retroactively under § 2255 to
cases final on direct review);*fn8 United States v.
Jenkins, 333 F.3d 151, 154 (3d Cir. 2003) (Apprendi does not
apply retroactively to first § 2255 motions because "[i]ts
application affects only the enhancement of a defendant's
sentence after he or she has already been convicted by proof
beyond a reasonable doubt").
Because § 2255 is not inadequate or ineffective for
Petitioner's claims, this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain
them under § 2241 and must dismiss the Petition.