Gardner v. Warden Lewisburg USP, No. 14-3902 (3d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
In 1996, Gardner and others were convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, conspiracy to commit murder, murder in aid of racketeering, carjacking resulting in death, and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death. Gardner was sentenced to concurrent terms of life imprisonment on each count and 120 months on Count 4. The Fourth Circuit affirmed on direct appeal and, later, denial of his petition under 28 U.S.C. 2255, asserting ineffective assistance of counsel. In 2014, Gardner sought habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2241, citing the Supreme Court’s intervening “Alleyne” holding that “[a]ny fact that, by law, increases the [mandatory minimum] penalty for a crime is an ‘element’ that must be submitted to the jury and found beyond a reasonable doubt.” The district court dismissed, finding that Gardner’s claims should have been raised in a section 2255 motion in the court that sentenced him. The Third Circuit affirmed, noting section 2241’s limited scope. Alleyne simply extended the logic of Apprendi to mandatory minimums for criminal sentences; neither makes previously criminal conduct noncriminal. Because section 2255 is not inadequate or ineffective to raise an Apprendi argument, it is not inadequate or ineffective to raise an Alleyne argument.