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Bailey v. Batts

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

July 30, 2019

JOHN ANTHONY BAILEY, Petitioner,
v.
MYRON L. BATTS, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING HABEAS PETITION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2241, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          JAMES D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The Movant, John Anthony Bailey, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (ECF No. 1.) For the following reasons, the § 2241 petition will be denied.

         On January 26, 2004, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Bailey. (No. 04-10007, Crim. ECF No. 1.) Count one charged him with possession of a firearm after conviction of a felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). Count two charged Bailey with armed robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951, and count three charged him with using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to the armed robbery charged in count two, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). On June 16, 2004, a jury convicted Bailey on count one, but announced they could not reach a verdict on counts two and three. (Id. Crim. ECF No. 27, 32.) The Court declared a mistrial on counts two and three, (id. Crim. ECF No. 33), and later dismissed those counts on motion of the United States. (Id. Crim. ECF No. 43.)

         At a hearing on December 30, 2004, the Court determined that Bailey was subject to an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), and sentenced him to a 262-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year period of supervised release. (Id. Crim. ECF No. 65.) Bailey appealed, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction but vacated and remanded for resentencing in light of United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). United States v. Bailey, No. 05-5121 (6th Cir. Sept. 13, 2006).

         On resentencing, the Court sentenced Bailey to a 204-month term of imprisonment, again followed by a three-year period of supervised release. (No. 04-10007, Crim. ECF No. 104; id. Resent'g Tr., Crim. ECF No. 109.) On appeal, the Sixth Circuit affirmed. United States v. Bailey, 264 Fed.Appx. 480 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 554 U.S. 909 (2008).

         Bailey filed a timely motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on June 19, 2009, which was ultimately denied as to all issues. Bailey v. United States, No. 09-1140-JDT-egb (W.D. Tenn. Sept. 13, 2012). The Court also denied Bailey's motion to alter or amend the judgment. (No. 09-1140, ECF No. 44.) He appealed, and the Sixth Circuit denied a certificate of appealability. Bailey v. United States, No. 13-6623 (6th Cir. Aug. 8, 2014).

         Bailey then filed the present § 2241 petition on June 7, 2016. One of the claims raised in the petition is that his predicate convictions no longer qualify him for an enhanced sentence under the ACCA, based on the decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). However, on April 6, 2016, Bailey filed a motion in the Sixth Circuit seeking leave to file a second or successive § 2255 motion raising the same Johnson claim. The Sixth Circuit granted leave to file the successive § 2255 and transferred the proceeding to this Court, where it was opened as case number 16-1264. Therefore, Bailey's Johnson claims will be addressed in that § 2255 proceeding rather than in this case.

         Bailey's § 2241 petition also asserts, however, that he is “actually innocent” of the felon-in-possession charge, invoking the “savings clause” of § 2255. Specifically, he argues that the evidence offered at trial was not sufficient to support a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). (ECF No. 1-2 at PageID 21-24.) That claim was rejected by the Sixth Circuit in Bailey's first direct appeal. See No. 05-5121, slip op. at 2-3 (No. 04-10007, Crim. ECF No. 75 at PageID 68-69). Bailey then raised the claim in a cursory manner in his first § 2255 proceeding, but this Court denied relief on that issue. (See No. 09-1140, ECF No. 22 at PageID 166-67.)

         Federal prisoners may obtain habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 only under limited circumstances. The “savings clause” in § 2255 provides as follows:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus 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(e).

Construing this language, courts have uniformly held that claims asserted by federal prisoners that seek to challenge their convictions or imposition of their sentences shall be filed . . . under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and that claims seeking to challenge the execution or manner in which the sentence is served shall be filed . . . under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

Charles v. Chandler, 180 F.3d 753, 755-56 (6th Cir. 1999) (per curiam) (citations omitted). Therefore, habeas relief under § 2241 is not available unless relief under § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective. Bailey carries the burden of demonstrating that the savings clause applies. Id. at 756.

         The Sixth Circuit has construed the savings clause narrowly: “Significantly, the § 2255 remedy is not considered inadequate or ineffective simply because § 2255 relief has already been denied, or because the petitioner is procedurally barred from pursuing relief under § 2255, or because the petitioner has been denied permission to file a second or successive motion to vacate.” Id. ...


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