United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
SHANNON R. HAMILTON, Petitioner,
JEFFREY GRONDOLSKY, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
filed the present petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on April 20, 2017. [ECF No.
1]. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition for
lack of jurisdiction on December 15, 2017 [ECF No. 15]. As of
January 8, 2018, Respondent had not opposed the motion, so
the Court issued an order to show cause directing him to file
any opposition by January 24, 2018. [ECF No. 17]. On January
25, 2018, the Court granted the motion to dismiss as
unopposed, noting that it appeared that the Court lacked
jurisdiction to adjudicate the petition. [ECF No. 19]. On
January 26, 2018, the Court received Petitioner's
response to the order to show cause, which was dated January
23. [ECF No. 22]. Now before the Court is Petitioner's
motion for reconsideration of the order granting the motion
to dismiss. [ECF No. 24].
23, 2010, Petitioner pled guilty to five counts of bank
robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) in the
Middle District of Pennsylvania, for robberies that occurred
between December 9, 2009 and January 6, 2010. [ECF No. 16 at
2]. On November 2, 2010, the court imposed a sentence of 151
months. Id. Prior to sentencing, the Probation
Office calculated the sentencing guidelines and determined
that Petitioner was a career offender with a corresponding
Total Offense Level of 29 and a Criminal History Category of
VI, resulting in a guideline range of 151 to 181 months.
Id. Petitioner filed an appeal based on ineffective
assistance of counsel, which was denied by the Third Circuit
in June 2011. Id. On March 30, 2012, Petitioner
filed a motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. §
2255 in the Middle District of Pennsylvania on the grounds of
ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial and appellate
levels. Id. at 3. The Middle District of
Pennsylvania denied the motion on May 1, 2013, and the Third
Circuit denied a certificate of appealability on August 13,
2013. Id. In August 2015, Petitioner filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2241 in the District of New Jersey, where he was incarcerated
at the time. Id. The court determined that the
petition was not properly filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241
because Petitioner did not fall within the category of
petitioners for whom § 2255 was “inadequate or
ineffective.” Id. The court further concluded
that his petition was effectively a successive § 2255
petition, and that he therefore required permission from the
Third Circuit to file the petition, which he lacked.
Id. Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
Id. In June 2016, Hamilton filed a new § 2255
petition with the Middle District of Pennsylvania, along with
a motion to consider a second or successive application for
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 with the Third Circuit.
Id. The district court proceedings were stayed
pending the decision by the Third Circuit. Id. In
July 2017, the Third Circuit denied the motion, and
Petitioner then voluntarily dismissed the petition.
Id. at 3-4.
instant § 2241 petition was filed in April 2017, while
Petitioner was incarcerated in Massachusetts. [ECF No. 1].
Petitioner was convicted of robbery in Florida in 1989, which
was considered a crime of violence at the time of his 2010
sentencing, thus contributing to his designation as a career
offender with a corresponding sentence enhancement.
Id. at 5-6. In his petition, Petitioner asserts
that, pursuant to the Supreme Court's 2016 decision in
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), his
Florida robbery conviction and the underlying conviction for
bank robbery are no longer “crime[s] of violence”
as defined by U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a), and thus he no longer
qualifies as a career offender and his sentence should be
vacated. Petitioner seeks to bring his § 2241 petition
pursuant to the savings clause of § 2255. Respondent
contends that this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider
Petitioner's present § 2241 petition.
prisoners are permitted to use section 2241 to challenge the
execution of their sentences, not the validity of their
sentences.” Calvache v. Benov, 183 F.Supp.2d
124, 126 (D. Mass. 2001) (citing United States v.
DiRusso, 535 F.2d 673, 674-76 (1st Cir. 1976)).
“In rare instances, however, pursuant to the
‘savings clause' of section 2255, a federal
prisoner can challenge his [or her] conviction and sentence
under section 2241 if the prisoner can establish that the
remedy afforded under section 2255 is ‘inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his [or her]
detention.'” Id. (quoting 28 U.S.C. §
2255, and citing United States v. Barrett, 178 F.3d
34, 49-50 (1st Cir. 1999)). “[C]ourts have allowed
recourse to the savings clause” only “in rare and
exceptional circumstances, ” such as where the
restrictions on section 2255 petitions “would result in
a ‘complete miscarriage of justice.'”
Trenkler v. United States, 536 F.3d 85, 99 (1st Cir.
2008) (quoting In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d 245, 251
(3d Cir. 1997)). “Most courts have required a credible
allegation of actual innocence to access the savings
court in Henderson v. Grondolsky, No.
16-cv-12459-DJC, 2017 WL 4038392, at *2- 4 (D. Mass. Sept.
12, 2017) considered essentially the same question at issue
here-whether a petitioner can rely on Mathis in a
§ 2241 petition to argue that his prior convictions no
longer qualify as career offender predicates-and determined
that such a claim did not satisfy the requirements of the
savings clause. The court explained that “when
considering career offender designation under U.S.S.G. §
4B1.1, other circuits have found that absent an additional
exceptional circumstance, such as vacatur of a predicate
conviction, post-conviction change in the law affecting the
sentencing court's determination of the guidelines range
does not rise to a complete miscarriage of justice.”
Id. at *3. Relying on Cuevas v. United
States, 778 F.3d 267, 271 (1st Cir. 2015), the court
reasoned that, “absent some additional exceptional
circumstance, ” a “guidelines-misapplication
claim” is “not sufficient for application of the
savings clause.” Id. at *4. The court pointed
out that the petitioner's predicate convictions had not
been vacated, nor had the petitioner “raised any
alternative exceptional circumstance previously contemplated
by other courts as complete miscarriages of justice.”
Id. Therefore, the court lacked jurisdiction to
consider the § 2241 petition. Id.
the court in Martinez v. Grondolsky, No.
17-cv-11216-MBB, 2018 WL 340029, at *1-2 (D. Mass. Jan. 9,
2018), relying on Henderson, also determined that
the petitioner could not invoke the savings clause to bring a
§ 2241 petition based on the contention that, under
Mathis, his two state court convictions no longer
qualified as predicate offenses for a career offender
sentencing enhancement. Courts outside of this Circuit have
also reached the same result. See, e.g., Jones
v. United States, No. 17-cv-1599 (WMW/KMM), 2018 WL
2392204, at *2 (D. Minn. Apr. 2, 2018), report and
recommendation adopted, No. 17-cv-1599 (WMW/KMM), 2018
WL 2390131 (D. Minn. May 25, 2018) (holding that because
Mathis did not create new rule of law, savings
clause did not apply to § 2241 petition); Fisher v.
Rickard, No. 17-cv-03730, 2018 WL 1405324, at *4 (S.D.
W.Va. Feb. 16, 2018), report and recommendation
adopted, No. 17-cv-03730, 2018 WL 1404279 (S.D. W.Va.
Mar. 20, 2018) (holding that Mathis called into
question sentence enhancement, not validity of underlying
conviction, and thus savings clause was not implicated);
Rice v. Warden, F.C.I. Edgefield, No.
4:17-cv-3091-PMD-TER, 2017 WL 9674479, at *3 (D.S.C. Nov. 17,
2017), report and recommendation adopted, No.
4:17-cv-3091-PMD-TER, 2018 WL 1755504 (D.S.C. Apr. 12, 2018)
(same). Consistent with these decisions, the Court concludes
that petitioner cannot invoke the savings clause to bring a
§ 2241 petition based on Mathis, absent some
additional exceptional circumstance, which Petitioner has not
alleged is present here.
this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider the petition, and
the motion for reconsideration [ECF No. 24] is
DENIED. Any relief to be afforded to Petitioner is
only available from the Third Circuit or the district court
in which he was sentenced.