Bourgeois v. Watson, No. 20-1891 (7th Cir. 2020)

Annotate this Case
Justia Opinion Summary

Bourgeois was convicted of murder on federal property, 18 U.S.C. 7 and 1111, and sentenced to death after he brutally abused and murdered his two-year-old daughter in 2002. Bourgeois collaterally attacked his death sentence on the ground that he is intellectually disabled, citing the Federal Death Penalty Act (FDPA), 18 U.S.C. 3596(c), and the Supreme Court’s “Atkins” decision (2002). He fully litigated that claim under 28 U.S.C. 2255, then sought relief under 28 U.S.C. 2241. To invoke that statute, Bourgeois had to show that his case fit within the “savings clause,” 28 U.S.C. 2255(e). In the district court, Bourgeois accompanied his section 2241 petition with a motion to stay his execution—which the district court granted. The court found that the government had waived its argument that Bourgeois could not channel his FDPA claim through the savings clause.

The Seventh Circuit reversed, finding that Bourgeois does not meet the stringent savings-clause eligibility requirements and that his 2241 petition is procedurally barred. The district court’s factual determination that the government waived its argument was clearly erroneous and an abuse of discretion. Even if the government had forfeited its FDPA argument, that forfeiture would not prevent consideration of the savings-clause issue. .The savings clause is not simply another avenue for appeal. Bourgeois had the chance to appeal the court’s denial of his intellectual-disability claim; there was nothing “structurally inadequate or ineffective about section 2255 as a vehicle.”

Download PDF
In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ No. 20-1891 ALFRED BOURGEOIS, Petitioner-Appellee, v. T.J. WATSON, Warden, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondents-Appellants. ____________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. No. 2:19-cv-00392-JMS-DLP — Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge. ____________________ ARGUED SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 — DECIDED OCTOBER 6, 2020 ____________________ Before KANNE, HAMILTON, and ST. EVE, Circuit Judges. ST. EVE, Circuit Judge. Alfred Bourgeois, a federal prisoner, was sentenced to death after he brutally abused and murdered his two-year-old daughter. Bourgeois now collaterally attacks his death sentence on the ground that he is intellectually disabled. Both the Federal Death Penalty Act (FDPA), 18 U.S.C. § 3596(c), and the Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), forbid the execution of intellectually disabled o enders. But that is not the end of the matter. 2 No. 20-1891 Bourgeois does not seek relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255—the main statute authorizing postconviction relief for federal prisoners. Indeed, Bourgeois already has fully litigated an intellectual-disability claim under § 2255. Instead, Bourgeois brings a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. To invoke that statute, however, Bourgeois must show that his case ts within a narrow exception known as the “savings clause.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). In the district court, Bourgeois accompanied his § 2241 petition with a motion to stay his execution—which the district court granted. In doing so, the court found that the government had waived its argument that Bourgeois could not channel his FDPA claim through the savings clause. We reverse that determination and further nd that Bourgeois does not meet the stringent requirements for savings-clause eligibility. As a result, his § 2241 petition is procedurally barred. We vacate the stay with instructions for the district court to dismiss the petition. I. Background A. Factual Background We review the underlying facts only brie y, to provide context for the procedural issues that govern this appeal. Bourgeois’s daughter, “JG,” was born in October 1999. For the rst two and a half years of her life, JG lived with her mother and grandmother in Texas. In April 2002, JG’s mother petitioned a local court for a paternity test. The test determined that Bourgeois was JG’s father. JG’s mother then petitioned the court for child support from Bourgeois. At the time, Bourgeois was a truck driver living in Louisiana with his wife, Robin, and their two children. In May 2002, No. 20-1891 3 Bourgeois came to Texas for JG’s child support hearing. At the hearing, the court granted JG’s mother’s request for child support from Bourgeois. The court also granted Bourgeois’s request for visitation rights with JG for the next seven weeks. Bourgeois took custody of JG after the hearing. For the next month—the last of JG’s life—Bourgeois tortured and abused JG. He punched her in the face hard enough to give her black eyes. He whipped her with an electrical cord and beat her with a belt. He struck her on the head with a plastic baseball bat so many times that her head swelled in size. He threw her against walls. He burned the bottom of her foot with a cigarette lighter and prevented anyone from treating her injuries. He also emotionally abused JG. Bourgeois, for example, “taught” JG how to swim by repeatedly tossing her into a swimming pool, letting her sink, and then pulling her out as she choked and gasped for air. Even JG’s potty training became a source of torment for her. Bourgeois made JG spend her days sitting on her “training potty.” When Bourgeois brought his family (including JG) along on his trucking routes, Bourgeois forced JG to sleep on her training potty. Bourgeois punished JG’s “accidents” with beatings. Remarkably, there was more abuse—including evidence of sexual abuse—but that is enough to lay the groundwork for the events that followed. In late June 2002, Bourgeois drove his family in his truck to Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, where Bourgeois was delivering a shipment. JG, as usual, was sitting on her training potty. When Bourgeois backed up his truck, JG wiggled and tipped over her potty chair. Enraged, Bourgeois started yelling at JG and spanking her. He then grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed the back of her head into the truck’s front 4 No. 20-1891 windows and dashboard four times. Robin woke up soon after the attack and noticed that JG was limp and motionless. After trying unsuccessfully to revive JG through CPR, Robin told Bourgeois that JG needed emergency medical attention. Bourgeois replied that he would take her to the emergency room when he was done unloading the truck. He added that they should say JG had slipped and fallen out of the truck. Insistent that JG needed medical attention, Robin handed her to Bourgeois. Bourgeois took JG outside and put her on the ground. When Robin found her there, she again tried CPR while a passerby called 911. At that point, Bourgeois came running from behind the truck to ask what had happened. JG died in the hospital the next day. As planned, Bourgeois and Robin told authorities that JG had fallen out of the truck. Their story quickly unraveled when the autopsy report came back. The medical examiner described the autopsy as one of the most involved of her career, due to the sheer number and extent of JG’s injuries. There were bruises, human bite marks, scratch marks, loop marks (consistent with an electrical cord), and a circular hole on the bottom of one of JG’s feet. The examiner also found deep tissue bruising all over JG’s body. Based on these extensive injuries, the examiner concluded that JG was a chronically abused or battered child. The ultimate cause of death, in her determination, was an impact to the head resulting in a devastating brain injury. The location of the brain injury was consistent with Bourgeois holding JG by the shoulders and slamming her head against the windows and dashboard of the truck cab. Robin and one of Bourgeois’s other daughters later told authorities the truth about JG’s death and the consistent abuse she su ered. No. 20-1891 5 B. Procedural Background Bourgeois was charged with murder on federal property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 7 and 1111. After a two-week trial in the Southern District of Texas, the jury found Bourgeois guilty and unanimously recommended a sentence of death, which the court imposed. Bourgeois directly appealed to the Fifth Circuit. He challenged the government’s use of aggravating factors at sentencing, the constitutionality of the FDPA, and the district court’s delegation of supervision over his execution to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons. The Fifth Circuit a rmed, commenting “[t]his is not a close case.” United States v. Bourgeois, 423 F.3d 501, 512 (5th Cir. 2005). The Supreme Court denied certiorari. Bourgeois v. United States, 547 U.S. 1132 (2006). Bourgeois then led a motion for postconviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The motion came before the same judge who oversaw Bourgeois’s trial. Bourgeois raised fourteen grounds for relief, only one of which concerns us here: Bourgeois argued that he was intellectually disabled 1 and thus ineligible for the death penalty under the FPDA and the Supreme Court’s constitutional decision in Atkins. The district court held a week-long evidentiary hearing that often extended beyond normal work hours. The court heard testimony from expert and lay witnesses who testi ed about Bourgeois’s intellectual and psychological abilities. 1 Following the Supreme Court’s practice, we use the term “intellectual disability” instead of “mental retardation,” even though earlier cases, including Atkins, used the latter term. Hall v. Florida, 572 U.S. 701, 704 (2014). 6 No. 20-1891 The court denied Bourgeois’s § 2255 motion in a thorough 225-page opinion that devoted 53 pages to analyzing Bourgeois’s intellectual-disability claim. United States v. Bourgeois, No. C.A. C–07–223, 2011 WL 1930684 (S.D. Tex. May 19, 2011). The court began by noting that Bourgeois had not received a diagnosis of intellectual disability until after the court had sentenced him to death. Id. at *22. “Up to that point, Bourgeois had lived a life which, in broad outlines, did not manifest gross intellectual de ciencies.” Id. The court then analyzed Bourgeois’s intellectual-disability claim using the “uniformly accepted … tripartite formulation for deciding whether an inmate quali es for Atkins protection.” Id. at *24. The “three indispensable criteria” were: “(1) signi cantly subaverage intellectual functioning; (2) related signi cant limitations in adaptive skill areas; and (3) manifestation of those limitations before age 18.” Id. Following Atkins’s guidance, the court drew this three-part test from the 11th edition of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’s (AAIDD’s) manual entitled Intellectual Disability: De nition, Classi cation, and Systems of Supports (AAIDD-11), and the 4th edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM4). Id. at *23–24 & n.27. On the rst prong (signi cantly subaverage intellectual functioning), Bourgeois had tested within the range for intellectual disability in IQ tests following his death sentence, but the court found that his test scores did not accurately measure his intellectual abilities. Id. at *25–31. Instead, based on “highly credible” testimony from the government’s expert and the court’s independent review of Bourgeois’s psychological evaluations, the court determined that Bourgeois had not put forth his best e orts in testing. Id. at *27–29. In addition, No. 20-1891 7 “a fuller view” of Bourgeois’s life did “not correspond to a nding of signi cant intellectual limitations.” Id. at *31. The court stressed that Bourgeois had “graduated from high school, worked for years as an over-land trucker, bought a house, managed his own nances, wrote intricate and detailed letters, communicated without di culty, participated actively in his own defense, and otherwise carried himself without any sign of intellectual impairment.” Id. at *29 (footnotes omitted). The court credited the government’s expert’s testimony that Bourgeois’s competence as a truck driver was “totally inconsistent with mental retardation.” Id. On the second prong (signi cant limitations in adaptive skill areas), the court began by distinguishing between the “psychological” and “legal” approaches to adaptive functioning: whereas the “psychological” approach considered only “de cits,” the law “compare[d] the de ciencies to positive life skills, presuming that adaptive successes blunt the global e ect of reported insu ciencies.” Id. at *32–33. With that in mind, the court turned to the evidence. The parties had presented con icting expert and lay testimony about Bourgeois’s adaptive abilities. The experts had reached “diametrically opposed conclusions about Bourgeois’ abilities.” Id. at *33. The lay testimony also pointed in di erent directions. For example, people who knew Bourgeois as a youth testi ed that he had di culty learning new activities and grasping new concepts. Id. at *37–39. Bourgeois’s trucking colleagues, on the other hand, testi ed that he was an above-average truck driver who ably discharged the various duties of the job. Id. at *39. One even described him as an “overachiever.” Id. In the end, the court found that “[a] broad review of the evidence does not make Bourgeois’ claim of adaptive de cits believable.” Id. at *44. Although Bourgeois “may have had di culties 8 No. 20-1891 when younger,” the record did “not conclusively link those problems to mental retardation rather than a culturally deprived upbringing, poverty, or abuse.” Id. And “[n]othing suggested that de ciencies endured into maturity.” Id. To the contrary, “Bourgeois operated with remarkable competency in the free world for one with low IQ scores.” Id. The court’s conclusion on the third prong (manifestation of intellectual limitations before 18) followed directly from its conclusions on the rst two prongs: “The evidence before the Court failed to point to any pronounced intellectual impairment before Bourgeois’ eighteenth birthday. Bourgeois has not shown that he is now, was at the time of the crime, or was during the developmental period, mentally retarded.” Id. Because Bourgeois “failed to meet all three prongs of the Atkins analysis,” his intellectual-disability claim failed. Id. After rejecting Bourgeois’s remaining claims, the court denied his § 2255 motion and denied a certi cate of appealability. Id. at *111. Turning to the Fifth Circuit, Bourgeois requested a certi cate of appealability to appeal some aspects of the district court’s ruling, but he did not challenge the denial of his intellectual-disability claim. See United States v. Bourgeois, 537 F. App’x 604 (5th Cir. 2013) (per curiam) (denying Bourgeois’s request for a certi cate of appealability). About four years later, Bourgeois sought leave from the Fifth Circuit to le a successive § 2255 motion. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). In his new motion, Bourgeois again raised an intellectual-disability claim. Bourgeois said he deserved a second chance to present his claim because the Supreme Court’s decision in Moore v. Texas, 137 S. Ct. 1039 (2017) (Moore I) had breathed new life into his claim. The Fifth Circuit held that Bourgeois’s successive motion was barred by “§ 2244(b)(1)’s No. 20-1891 9 strict relitigation bar,” which applied to federal prisoners through 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). In re Bourgeois, 902 F.3d 446, 447 (5th Cir. 2018). This brings us to Bourgeois’s present petition. Bourgeois currently resides at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. In August 2019, a month after he received an execution date, 2 Bourgeois led a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the Southern District of Indiana. He also moved to stay his execution. Once again, Bourgeois argued that he was intellectually disabled, and that his death sentence ran afoul of Atkins and the FDPA. Relying in part on the FDPA’s ban on executing a person who “is” (present tense) intellectually disabled, 18 U.S.C. § 3596(c), he argued that Atkins and the FDPA forbid both the “imposition” and the “execution” of his death sentence. Procedurally, Bourgeois tried to channel his petition through § 2255(e)’s “savings clause,” 3 which permits a federal 2 In July 2019, the government set Bourgeois’s execution for January 13, 2020. The execution did not go forward because, on November 20, 2019, the district judge presiding over execution-protocol litigation brought by Bourgeois and others in the District of Columbia preliminarily enjoined the government from carrying out the executions. In re Fed. Bureau of Prisons' Execution Protocol Cases, No. 19-mc-145 (TSC), 2019 WL 6691814 (D.D.C. Nov. 20, 2019). On April 2, 2020, the D.C. Circuit vacated that preliminary injunction. In re Fed. Bureau of Prisons' Execution Protocol Cases, 955 F.3d 106 (D.C. Cir. 2020). The Supreme Court denied certiorari. Bourgeois v. Barr, No. 19-1348, 2020 WL 3492763 (U.S. June 29, 2020). The lower court’s stay in the case now before us remains in e ect, and Bourgeois has not received a new execution date. 3 We have alternated between referring to § 2255(e) as the “safety valve” and the “savings clause.” Compare Purkey v. United States, 964 F.3d 603, 611 (7th Cir. 2020) (“safety valve”), with Lee v. Watson, 964 F.3d 663, 10 No. 20-1891 prisoner who has already moved for relief under § 2255 to le a habeas corpus petition under § 2241 if § 2255 was “inadequate or ine ective to test the legality of his detention.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Bourgeois argued that his § 2255 motion was “inadequate or ine ective to test the legality” of his death sentence because the judge in the Southern District of Texas who denied his motion relied on diagnostic standards that the Supreme Court later rejected in Moore I and its follow-on decision in Moore v. Texas, 139 S. Ct. 666 (2019) (Moore II). The district judge ordered the government to respond to Bourgeois’s petition. In its lengthy response, the government argued that Bourgeois had fully litigated his intellectual-disability claim in the Southern District of Texas, and that the Supreme Court’s continued development of the law in Moore I and Moore II did not justify savings-clause relief. In any event, the government argued, the Southern District of Texas’s analysis was consistent with Moore I and Moore II. Throughout its brief, the government referred to Bourgeois’s intellectual-disability claim as his “Atkins claim.” It did not mention Bourgeois’s FDPA claim in its analysis. In his reply, Bourgeois argued that the government “completely fail[ed] to challenge [his] claim that he is entitled to § 2241 review because he challenges the execution of his sentence, as well as its imposition.” The district court granted Bourgeois’s motion for a stay. Bourgeois v. Warden, No. 2:19-cv-00392-JMS-DLP, 2020 WL 1154575, at *1 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 10, 2020). Without addressing his Atkins claim, the court found that Bourgeois was likely to succeed on his FDPA claim. Id. Before reaching the merits, the 666 (7th Cir. 2020) (“savings clause”). We use the term “savings clause” in this opinion. No. 20-1891 11 court found that the government had waived any argument that Bourgeois’s FDPA claim could not proceed under § 2241 by not separately addressing his FDPA claim in its brie ng. Id. at *3. The court faulted the government for “fail[ing] to even mention” the FDPA claim, “let alone explain why it cannot be brought in a § 2241.” Id. That failure was “inexplicable and inexcusable.” Id. The court stressed that Bourgeois’s reply had “highlighted [the government’s] failure to address the FDPA claim,” yet the government had “failed to seek leave to le a surreply addressing that claim.” Id. That, in turn, led the court to infer that the government’s “failure to address the claim was more intentional than inadvertent,” thus establishing waiver (and not merely forfeiture). Id. Turning to the merits of Bourgeois’s FDPA claim, the court found that he had made a strong showing of intellectual disability. Id. at *4–5. The court granted Bourgeois’s motion and stayed his execution. Id. at *6. After the court entered the stay, the government sought leave to le a surreply. The government emphasized that Bourgeois himself had referred to his Atkins and FDPA claims collectively as his “Atkins claim” throughout his petition. Because Bourgeois had relied on the same arguments for both claims—which are governed by identical standards—the government had similarly not “parse[d] out” a separate FDPA claim in its response to the petition. The court denied the government’s motion, nding that Bourgeois had, in fact, presented separate statutory and constitutional claims. The court reiterated that Bourgeois’s reply brief had agged the government’s failure to address his FDPA claim, yet the government had not sought leave to le a surreply until after the court ruled. The government now appeals the district court’s stay order. 12 No. 20-1891 II. Discussion We review the district court’s decision to enter a stay for abuse of discretion. Venckiene v. United States, 929 F.3d 843, 853 (7th Cir. 2019). We review the underlying factual ndings for clear error and legal conclusions de novo. Id.; Mays v. Dart, --- F.3d ----, No. 20-1792, 2020 WL 5361651, at *5 (7th Cir. Sept. 8, 2020). “[A] factual or legal error may alone be su cient to establish that the court abused its discretion in making its nal determination.” Mays, 2020 WL 5361651, at *5 (alteration in original) (quoting Lawson Prod., Inc. v. Avnet, Inc., 782 F.2d 1429, 1437 (7th Cir. 1986)). The four stay factors are: “(1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.” Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 434 (2009). Stay applicants “must satisfy all of the requirements for a stay, including a showing of a signi cant possibility of success on the merits.” Hill v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 573, 584 (2006). The district court found that Bourgeois had met all four stay factors, but we only reach the rst one: likelihood of success on the merits. The district court’s determination that Bourgeois was likely to succeed on the merits of his FDPA claim rested on a preliminary nding that the government had waived any argument that Bourgeois’s FDPA claim was not cognizable under § 2255(e)’s savings clause. That is where we part ways with the district court. We nd that the government did not waive, or even forfeit, this argument. And even if it had forfeited the argument, we would excuse that No. 20-1891 13 forfeiture on these facts. We proceed to consider whether Bourgeois’s Atkins and FDPA claims are cognizable under the savings clause. They are not. With no procedural home for his claims, Bourgeois’s likelihood of success on the merits is nonexistent. Thus, we vacate the stay. A. Waiver and Forfeiture 4 We recently discussed the distinction between waiver and forfeiture in civil cases in Henry v. Hulett, 969 F.3d 769 (7th Cir. 2020) (en banc). We observed that, “[w]hereas waiver is the ‘intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right,’ forfeiture is the mere failure to raise a timely argument, due to either inadvertence, neglect, or oversight.” Id. at 786 (quoting United States v. Olano, 507 U.S. 725, 733 (1993)). “In the criminal context,” we noted, “the distinction between waiver and forfeiture is critical: while waiver precludes review, forfeiture permits a court to correct an error under a plain error standard.” Id. In the civil context, we had been less clear about the role of plain error review. Id. We took the occasion to “clarify that ‘our ability to review for plain error in civil cases is severely constricted,’ as ‘a civil litigant should be bound by his counsel’s actions.’” Id. (quoting SEC v. Yang, 795 F.3d 674, 679 (7th Cir. 2015)). “Plain error review is available in civil cases only in the rare situation where a party can demonstrate that: ‘(1) exceptional circumstances exist; (2) 4 The government has not asked us to reconsider our conclusion that § 2255(e) is non-jurisdictional. Harris v. Warden, 425 F.3d 386, 388 (7th Cir. 2005); Prevatte v. Merlak, 865 F.3d 894, 901 (7th Cir. 2017). Thus, we will address the question of waiver. See Moore v. Olson, 368 F.3d 757, 759 (7th Cir. 2004) (“Defects in subject-matter jurisdiction … may not be waived or forfeited.”). 14 No. 20-1891 substantial rights are a ected; and (3) a miscarriage of justice will occur if plain error review is not applied.’” Id. (quoting Thorncreek Apartments III, LLC v. Mick, 886 F.3d 626, 636 (7th Cir. 2018)). “The determination of what circumstances t these criteria is solely within our discretion.” Id. These standards govern here because, although habeas proceedings arise from criminal cases, they are civil in nature. We start with waiver. After reviewing the record below, we nd that there was no basis to conclude that the government had waived its argument that Bourgeois’s FDPA claim could not pass through the savings clause. To begin, Bourgeois himself did not clearly parse out separate Atkins and FDPA claims. Rather, he presented one intellectual-disability claim arising under two sources of law that—as both parties agree—provide substantively identical protection and are governed by the same standard. See Webster v. Daniels, 784 F.3d 1123, 1139 n.6 (7th Cir. 2015) (en banc) (Webster I) (noting that Atkins and the FDPA may provide di erent procedural pathways to relief); id. at 1150 (Easterbrook, J., dissenting) (“Atkins and Hall do not alter the [FDPA’s] substantive standard.”). Bourgeois’s rst argument heading was: “Mr. Bourgeois Is Intellectually Disabled and Is Ineligible for the Death Penalty Under the Federal Death Penalty Act and Atkins v. Virginia and Its Progeny.” Bourgeois did not include separate sub-headings or arguments for his Atkins and FDPA claims. Instead, he made one set of arguments for both claims, and accompanied the arguments with citations to both Atkins and the FDPA. At times, Bourgeois even referred to both claims collectively as his “Atkins claim.” Given that Bourgeois himself did not treat his Atkins and FDPA claims as distinct, we do not believe that the government intentionally chose to disaggregate the claims and respond to only one of them. No. 20-1891 15 Nor are we aware of any conceivable strategic reason why the government would intentionally respond to Bourgeois’s Atkins claim while forgoing its right to challenge his FDPA claim. Why respond to the Atkins claim at all, if Bourgeois could still proceed with his substantively identical FDPA claim? Neither Bourgeois nor the court below answer this question. In these circumstances, we do not consider the government’s failure to respond to be “a deliberate decision not to present a ground for relief that might be available in the law.” United States v. Cook, 406 F.3d 485, 487 (7th Cir. 2005). The sole reason that the court below gave for its nding of intentional waiver was the government’s failure to seek leave to le a surreply after Bourgeois’s reply brief “highlighted [the government’s] failure to address the FDPA claim.” 2020 WL 1154575, at *3. We respectfully disagree with that reading of Bourgeois’s reply brief. On pages 42–43 of his 45-page reply brief (the portion cited by the district court), Bourgeois argued that the government “completely fails to challenge Mr. Bourgeois’s claim that he is also entitled to review under § 2241 because his challenge goes not only to the imposition of his sentence, but also to the execution thereof.” He went on to argue (as he did in his opening petition) that both Atkins and the FDPA forbid the execution of a person who is presently intellectually disabled. True, he relied on the FDPA’s statutory language to make that argument. But nowhere did he say that the government failed to respond to—let alone waived its response to—the cognizability of his FDPA claim. The government’s failure to seek leave to le a surreply to respond to this argument does not support a nding of waiver. That is especially true because “surreply briefs are rare and discouraged in most districts.” Ennin v. CNH Indus. Am., 16 No. 20-1891 LLC, 878 F.3d 590, 595 (7th Cir. 2017). Indeed, while the Southern District of Indiana’s local rules allow a party opposing summary judgment to le a surreply as a matter of right in certain limited circumstances, they are otherwise silent on surreplies. S.D. Ind. L.R. 56–1(d). We have previously held that, when local rules do not permit ling a surreply as of right, a party does not waive an argument for purposes of appeal by failing to seek leave from the district court to raise the argument in a surreply. Hardrick v. City of Bolingbrook, 522 F.3d 758, 763 n.1 (7th Cir. 2008); Ennin, 878 F.3d at 596. Otherwise, “arguments before the district court would proceed ad in nitum making litigation unruly and cumbersome.” Hardrick, 522 F.3d at 763 n.1. For similar reasons, we will not infer waiver here from the government’s failure to seek leave to le a surreply—with no authorization from the local rules—to respond to an argument that Bourgeois never distinctly presented. The district court’s factual determination that the government intentionally waived its argument was clearly erroneous and amounts to an abuse of discretion. See Mays, 2020 WL 5361651, at *5. We turn next to forfeiture. On appeal, the government insists that its failure to respond to Bourgeois’s FDPA claim was, at most, forfeiture. Although the district court did not address forfeiture, its nding of intentional waiver was incompatible with forfeiture. After reviewing the issue for ourselves, we are convinced that the government’s failure to respond separately to Bourgeois’s FDPA claim—which was governed by the same standard as his Atkins claim—did not result in forfeiture. Forfeiture results from “inadvertence, neglect, or oversight.” Henry, 969 F.3d at 786. We do not believe that the government’s silence on Bourgeois’s FDPA claim was “oversight” when Bourgeois himself, through his No. 20-1891 17 undi erentiated presentation of the claims, was just as much to blame for that silence. In the end, though, our conclusion on forfeiture does not make a di erence because, even if the government had forfeited the issue, we would forgive it on these unique facts. As we have said, we have discretion to forgive a party’s forfeiture in exceptional circumstances. Id. These circumstances include when a forfeited ground is “founded on concerns broader than those of the parties.” United States v. Ford, 683 F.3d 761, 768 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Wood v. Milyard, 566 U.S. 463, 471 (2012)). In Ford, for instance, we forgave the government’s failure to argue harmless error because reversing on a harmless error would harm not just the forfeiting party, but also “innocent third parties, in particular other users of the court system, whose access to that system is impaired by additional litigation.” Id. at 769. Although Ford was a criminal case, we relied there on two Supreme Court decisions that arose in the civil habeas context. The rst was Granberry v. Greer, 481 U.S. 129 (1987), which held that a federal appellate court has discretion in “exceptional cases” to consider a state’s forfeited exhaustion argument because of the signi cant comity and federalism interests implicated by the exhaustion requirement. Id. at 134. The second was Wood, 566 U.S. 463, which held that federal appellate courts have discretion to consider forfeited statute-of-limitations defenses, given “the institutional interests served by AEDPA’s statute of limitations,” such as conserving judicial resources and protecting the accuracy and nality of state-court judgments. Id. at 472–73. Similar considerations would compel us to look past any government forfeiture in this case. We have already explained why the government’s failure to separately address 18 No. 20-1891 Bourgeois’s FDPA claim was excusable as a practical matter. But there are also broader interests at stake. As we recently observed in Purkey v. United States, 964 F.3d 603 (7th Cir. 2020), “[f]inality” is a “central goal[] of the judicial system.” Id. at 606. The importance of nality is especially pronounced where, as here, postconviction proceedings have tied up a criminal conviction for more than a dozen years. Beyond nality, there is judicial e ciency. “The idea of an entitlement to one untainted opportunity to make one’s case is deeply embedded in our law.” Id. The savings clause embodies that principle by generally prohibiting repeat claims in federal postconviction proceedings. See id.; see also United States v. Giovannetti, 928 F.2d 225, 226 (7th Cir. 1991) (per curiam) (observing that courts may excuse forfeiture “for the sake of protecting third-party interests including such systemic interests as the avoidance of unnecessary court delay”). Taken together, these signi cant interests convince us that, even if the government had forfeited its FDPA argument, that forfeiture would not prevent us from considering the savings-clause issue. B. Cognizability Under the Savings Clause That brings us to the main issue in this case: whether Bourgeois’s case “ ts within the narrow con nes of the safety valve.” Purkey, 964 F.3d at 611. Given its nding on waiver, the district court did not address this question. For that reason, Bourgeois, anticipating a loss on the waiver issue, asks us to remand the issue so that the district court can consider it in the rst instance. That is indeed the normal course. Amcast Indus. Corp. v. Detrex Corp., 2 F.3d 746, 749 (7th Cir. 1993). But that is not the best course here. We are dealing with a pure issue of law that both sides have fully briefed. Remanding it to the district court would likely result in a second appeal on No. 20-1891 19 the issue, and we would be right back where we started. “[T]he district judge’s view, while it would no doubt be interesting, could have no e ect on our review, which is plenary on matters of law.” Id. at 750. Given this posture, the extensive brie ng on the issue, and the long pendency of this case, resolving the issue now is the better use of judicial resources. 1. Savings Clause and § 2241 Section 2255 permits a prisoner serving a federal sentence to “move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). “In the great majority of cases,” § 2255 is the “exclusive postconviction remedy for a federal prisoner.” Purkey, 964 F.3d at 611. Section 2255 has a strict one-year statute of limitations. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). In addition, the statute ordinarily limits prisoners to just one shot at relief. As we recognized in Purkey, though, there are two exceptions to that rule. Id. First, § 2255(h) authorizes a federal court of appeals to certify a “second or successive motion” if it contains “newly discovered evidence” proving innocence, or if it identi es “a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). Bourgeois pursued that option to no avail in the Fifth Circuit. In re Bourgeois, 902 F.3d at 447. The second exception is § 2255(e), better known as “the savings clause.” That subsection provides that a habeas corpus petition “shall not be entertained” if the petitioner “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 ine ective to test the legality of his detention.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) (emphasis added). A prisoner who quali es for this “narrow pathway” to relief may le a petition under 20 No. 20-1891 28 U.S.C. § 2241, the general habeas corpus statute. Purkey, 964 F.3d at 611. We recently examined the scope of the savings clause in two cases that weigh heavily on Bourgeois’s appeal. The rst is Purkey, which we have already referenced. In that case, Wesley Purkey led a § 2241 petition claiming ine ective assistance of counsel. Id. at 615. Purkey had previously raised a claim of ine ective assistance of counsel in his § 2255 motion, but in his § 2241 petition he identi ed three new grounds of ine ective assistance. Id. He blamed his failure to raise those grounds earlier on the ine ectiveness of his § 2255 counsel. Id. Invoking the savings clause, Purkey argued “that section 2255 is structurally inadequate to test the legality of a conviction and sentence any time a defendant receives ine ective assistance of counsel in his one permitted motion.” Id. at 614. We rejected that broad argument and explained that “the words ‘inadequate or ine ective,’ taken in context, must mean something more than unsuccessful.” Id. at 615. Instead, “there must be a compelling showing that, as a practical matter, it would be impossible to use section 2255 to cure a fundamental problem. It is not enough that proper use of the statute results in denial of relief.” Id. We found that Purkey was missing that “something more.” Id. at 615–17. We did not deny that Purkey had raised a signi cant question as to the e ectiveness of his trial counsel. Id. at 615. “But that [was] not the proper question before us.” Id. It was, instead, “whether, having raised in his section 2255 motion 17 speci c ways in which his trial counsel were ine ective, Purkey is now entitled to add additional allegations … through section 2241.” Id. He was not. We stressed that, “[a]t the time Purkey led his motion under section 2255, No. 20-1891 21 nothing formally prevented him from raising each of the three errors he now seeks to raise in his petition under 2241.” Id. Even if Purkey’s counsel were not up to par, we were “left with the fundamental problem” that “the mechanisms of section 2255 gave him an opportunity to complain about ine ective assistance of trial counsel, and he took advantage of that opportunity. There was nothing structurally inadequate or ine ective about section 2255 as a vehicle to make those arguments.” Id. at 616–17. Our second recent decision on the savings clause is Lee v. Watson, 964 F.3d 663 (7th Cir. 2020). Like Purkey, Daniel Lewis Lee relied on the savings clause to raise a claim of ine ective assistance of counsel that his § 2255 counsel had missed. Id. at 667. Applying Purkey, we rejected that use of the savings clause. Id. We reiterated Purkey’s “unambiguous[]” holding that “a § 2241 petition may not proceed under the Savings Clause absent ‘a compelling showing’ that it was ‘impossible’ to use § 2255 to cure the defect identi ed in the § 2241 petition.” Id. at 666 (quoting Purkey, 964 F.3d at 615). Because Lee’s case was “indistinguishable from Purkey,” the savings clause did not apply. Id. at 667. 2. The Law Governing Intellectual-Disability Claims With Purkey and Lee in mind, we turn to Bourgeois’s pitch for savings-clause relief. At a basic level, Bourgeois says his intellectual-disability claim quali es for savings-clause relief because no court has ever reviewed that claim in accordance with clinical diagnostic standards. He acknowledges that he raised an intellectual-disability claim in his § 2255 motion, but he faults the judge in the Southern District of Texas who rejected that claim for applying “non-clinical, unscienti c standards” that the Supreme Court later rejected in Moore I 22 No. 20-1891 and Moore II. To better make sense of Bourgeois’s argument, we brie y review the underlying legal framework. The FDPA, which Congress passed in 1994, provides: “A sentence of death shall not be carried out upon a person who is mentally retarded.” 18 U.S.C. § 3596(c). As we have said, the parties agree that the FDPA provides the same substantive protection as Atkins and its progeny. Because Bourgeois’s claims are substantively identical, we refer to them collectively as his “intellectual-disability claim.” Our analysis applies equally to both claims. In Atkins, the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments forbids the execution of intellectually disabled o enders. 536 U.S. at 321. Importantly, the Supreme Court signaled that the law relies on “clinical” de nitions of intellectual disability. Id. at 318. The Supreme Court referenced two “similar” de nitions of intellectual disability (both of which we have already mentioned). First, it cited an earlier version of AAIDD-11. Id. at 308 n.3. Second, it cited DSM-4. Id. It summarized both de nitions as “requir[ing] not only subaverage intellectual functioning, but also signi cant limitations in adaptive skills such as communication, self-care, and self-direction that became manifest before age 18.” Id. at 318. Twelve years later, in Hall v. Florida, 572 U.S. 701 (2014), the Supreme Court reiterated that courts “are informed by the work of medical experts in determining intellectual disability.” Id. at 710. The Court cited both Atkins and the newly available fth edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for its slightly re ned de nition of intellectual disability: “[T]he medical community de nes intellectual disability according to three criteria: No. 20-1891 23 signi cantly subaverage intellectual functioning, de cits in adaptive functioning (the inability to learn basic skills and adjust behavior to changing circumstances), and onset of these de cits during the developmental period.” Id. The Court held that Florida’s strict requirement of an IQ score of 70 or less for a nding of intellectual disability was incompatible with that de nition. Id. at 723. A few years later, in Moore I, the Supreme Court considered whether Texas was adhering to the medical community’s de nition of intellectual disability. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) had reversed a lower court for applying the medical community’s current de nition of intellectual disability instead of the intellectual-disability factors that the CCA had adopted in a previous case (the “Briseno factors”). 137 S. Ct. at 1044. The Supreme Court vacated the CCA’s decision, nding that the Briseno factors were “untied to any acknowledged source” and “[n]ot aligned with the medical community’s information.” Id. The Court highlighted a few speci c ways in which the CCA had departed from the required framework. First, the CCA’s conclusion that Moore’s IQ score of 74 meant that he was not intellectually disabled was “irreconcilable with Hall.” Id. at 1049. Second, “[i]n concluding that Moore did not su er signi cant adaptive de cits, the CCA overemphasized Moore’s perceived adaptive strengths.” Id. at 1050. Citing DSM-5 and AAIDD-11, the Court stressed that “the medical community focuses the adaptive-functioning inquiry on adaptive de cits.” Id. Third, the CCA had sought to blame Moore’s adaptive de cits on other factors, such as his traumatic childhood experiences and personality disorder, when neither of those factors was inconsistent with a nding that Moore was also su ering from an intellectual disability. Id. at 1051. Indeed, Moore’s traumatic 24 No. 20-1891 childhood experiences were a risk factor for intellectual disability. Id. In short, by relying on “the wholly nonclinical Briseno factors, the CCA failed adequately to inform itself of the ‘medical community’s diagnostic framework.’” Id. at 1053 (quoting Hall, 572 U.S. at 721). The case came back to the Supreme Court in Moore II. On remand following Moore I, the CCA had revisited, and again rejected, Moore’s claim of intellectual disability. In a per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the CCA’s decision on remand, nding that the CCA, while purporting to apply the latest medical diagnostic standards, had, “with small variations,” simply “repeat[ed] the analysis we previously found wanting.” 139 S. Ct. at 670. After reviewing the trial record on its own, the Court concluded that Moore was intellectually disabled. Id. at 672. 3. Bourgeois’s Eligibility for Savings-Clause Relief With that context, we consider whether Bourgeois is correct that Moore I and Moore II somehow qualify him for the “narrow pathway” of review under the savings clause. Purkey, 964 F.3d at 611. According to Bourgeois, the judge that denied his § 2255 motion made essentially the same errors that the CCA made in Moore I and Moore II. Bourgeois says the § 2255 court relied on “then-binding Fifth Circuit precedent” to “reject[] diagnostic standards in evaluating Bourgeois’s § 2255 claim.” On the intellectual-functioning prong, Bourgeois faults the court for not nding that his IQ scores (70 and 75) automatically established signi cantly subaverage intellectual functioning. Instead, he says the court relied on “unscienti c, erroneous stereotypes” to conclude that his IQ score did not accurately represent his level of intellectual functioning. On the adaptive-de cits prong, Bourgeois criticizes the No. 20-1891 25 court for dismissing the “psychological” approach to adaptive functioning in favor of a “legal” approach that weighed adaptive de cits against adaptive strengths. He contends that, like the CCA in Moore I, the § 2255 court erroneously relied on unscienti c stereotypes to evaluate his intellectual disability and improperly blamed his adaptive de cits on certain “dysfunctional” aspects of his background. Initially, we note our disagreement with Bourgeois’s contention that the Texas district court “eschewed medical standards” in denying his § 2255 motion. After a week-long hearing, the court thoroughly analyzed Bourgeois’s § 2255 motion in a 225-page written order that dedicated more than 50 pages to analyzing his intellectual-disability claim alone. Bourgeois, 2011 WL 1930684. Far from rejecting medical standards, as the CCA had done in Moore I, the district court identi ed, and applied, the most recent medical guidance on intellectual disabilities. Id. at *23–24. The district court’s references to its “legal” approach to adaptive functioning do not convince us that its treatment of adaptive functioning was inconsistent with Moore I because the court found Bourgeois’s alleged adaptive de ciencies to be slight and uncorroborated, without regard to his adaptive strengths. See, e.g., id. at *41 ( nding that “[t]he evidentiary hearing testimony … failed to verify or support most of” of the academic de ciencies that Bourgeois’s expert relied on); id. at *44 (concluding, after reviewing all the evidence presented on Bourgeois’s adaptive de cits, merely that Bourgeois “may have had di culties when younger”). Contrary to what Bourgeois suggests, moreover, the court did not view adaptive impairments as a zero-sum game, attributable to either one cause (e.g., childhood abuse) or another (e.g., intellectual disability), but not both. Rather, the 26 No. 20-1891 court found that the record did not “conclusively link” Bourgeois’s childhood problems “to mental retardation rather than a culturally deprived upbringing, poverty, or abuse.” Id. In other words, there was a lack of evidence about what caused Bourgeois’s alleged impairments. Unlike the CCA in the Moore cases, the § 2255 court did not view Bourgeois’s other childhood problems as evidence that he was not intellectually disabled. Lastly, nowhere in Moore I or Moore II did the Supreme Court say that a court must accept an IQ score at face value, especially when a psychological expert credibly testi es that the subject did not put forth his best e ort on the test. For these reasons, we are not convinced that the district court’s analysis ran afoul of clinical diagnostic standards. In the end, though, it is not for us to decide whether the § 2255 court got it right or wrong. That point seems lost on Bourgeois, who goes on at length about why, in his view, the § 2255 court was wrong. “[T]hat is not the proper question before us.” Purkey, 964 F.3d at 615. The savings clause is not simply another avenue for appeal. Indeed, Bourgeois had the chance to appeal the court’s denial of his intellectual-disability claim, yet he chose not to do so. At this stage of the proceedings, our only role is to determine whether there was something “structurally inadequate or ine ective about section 2255 as a vehicle” for Bourgeois. Id. at 616–17. There plainly was not. Atkins was the watershed case on intellectual disability. Before Atkins, the Supreme Court had not decided whether the Constitution prevents the execution of intellectually disabled o enders. Atkins held that it does, and further signaled that the law borrows its de nition of intellectual disability from the medical community. 536 U.S. at 308 n.3, 318. The No. 20-1891 27 Supreme Court carried forward that core insight from Atkins in Hall, Moore I, and Moore II, and further elaborated on the measurements of intellectual function and the evaluation of adaptive de cits. The importance of applying medical standards, however, has been evident since Atkins and was evident to the § 2255 court in this case. Critically, Atkins was on the books when Bourgeois led his § 2255 motion in 2007. Bourgeois says he never had the chance to litigate his intellectual-disability claim under clinical diagnostic standards. But that is precisely what Bourgeois did in his § 2255 motion. The § 2255 court set forth, and applied, the same three-part test for intellectual disability that now prevails. Bourgeois, 2011 WL 1930684, at *23–24; see Webster v. Watson, --- F.3d ----, No. 19-2683, 2020 WL 5638691, at *9 (7th Cir. Sept. 22, 2020) (Webster II) (relying on the same threepart test). It drew that test from Atkins, DSM-4, and AAIDD11. Bourgeois, 2011 WL 1930684, at *23–24; see Webster II, 2020 WL 5638691, at *14 (relying on DSM-5 and AAIDD-11). True, some aspects of the court’s analysis would have looked different if the Supreme Court had decided Moore I by then. But the savings clause does not apply every time the Supreme Court clari es the law that governed a prisoner’s § 2255 motion, or, where intellectual disability is at issue, every time the medical community updates its diagnostic standards. Were that the case, we would truly be facing “a never-ending series of reviews and re-reviews.” Purkey, 964 F.3d at 615. As in Purkey, “nothing formally prevented [Bourgeois] from raising each of the … errors he now seeks to raise in his petition under 2241.” Id. Indeed, Bourgeois’s § 2255 motion did raise the errors that he now seeks to correct. Bourgeois makes that point inadvertently when criticizing the § 2255 28 No. 20-1891 court’s analysis. He argues that the court’s “refusal to follow diagnostic criteria” led it to credit the government’s expert, who weighed adaptive de ciencies against adaptive strengths, over his own expert, who, “consistent with diagnostic criteria … explained that the[] strengths did not o set Bourgeois’s de cits in any given area.” Far from being “impossible” to rely on the substantive teachings of Moore I and Moore II, Bourgeois hired an expert to testify to precisely what the Supreme Court eventually clari ed in Moore I and Moore II—namely, that the adaptive functions inquiry focuses on adaptive de cits. Bourgeois suggests that binding Fifth Circuit precedent prevented the court from properly analyzing his adaptive de cits. But even if that were true, it does not demonstrate that it was “impossible” for Bourgeois, armed with Atkins and the latest clinical diagnostic standards, to demonstrate that he was intellectually disabled. “[T]he words ‘inadequate or ine ective,’ taken in context, must mean something more than unsuccessful.” Purkey, 964 F.3d at 615. Bourgeois’s problems do not stop there. We have held that the savings clause a ords relief in limited circumstances to federal prisoners who rely on retroactive statutory-interpretation cases that postdate their § 2255 motions. See, e.g., In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 611 (7th Cir. 1998). As we observed in Purkey, “[s]tatutory problems are simply not covered in section 2255.” 964 F.3d at 615. But Moore I and Moore II are constitutional cases, not statutory interpretation cases. That is why Bourgeois relied on Moore I when he sought permission from the Fifth Circuit to le a successive § 2255 motion. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). The Fifth Circuit denied his request. In re Bourgeois, 902 F.3d at 447. Bourgeois now comes to us with essentially the same argument, asking us in e ect to overrule the Fifth Circuit. This time, Bourgeois does not even attempt No. 20-1891 29 to argue that Moore I and Moore II are retroactive. We will not authorize that end-run around § 2255(h). Bourgeois has two unpersuasive rejoinders. First, Bourgeois says it does not matter whether Moore I and Moore II are retroactive because the FDPA applies current de nitions of intellectual disability. According to Bourgeois, the FPDA’s ban on executing a person who “is” intellectually disabled, 18 U.S.C. § 3596(c), proscribes executing anyone who is presently intellectually disabled, as determined by current legal and diagnostic standards—including those re ected in Moore I and Moore II. This is part of Bourgeois’s larger argument that Atkins and the FDPA forbid both the “imposition” and the “execution” of death sentences on the intellectually disabled. Bourgeois makes much of the FDPA’s use of the word “is.” But what other word would Congress have chosen? Intellectual disability is a permanent condition that must manifest before the age of 18. Atkins, 536 U.S. at 318. It would be senseless to proscribe the execution of someone who merely “was” intellectually disabled when they were sentenced, or who “will be” intellectually disabled when their sentence is carried out. Bourgeois seems to confuse intellectual disability with the temporary condition of incompetency, which may come and go. See Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986); see also Williams v. Kelley, 858 F.3d 464, 472 (8th Cir. 2017) (per curiam); Busby v. Davis, 925 F.3d 699, 713 (5th Cir. 2019). For these reasons, we nd no support for Bourgeois’s argument in the word “is.” And with no textual (or other) support, we are unwilling to accept Bourgeois’s sweeping argument that a fresh intellectual-disability claim arises every time the medical community updates its literature. 30 No. 20-1891 Next, Bourgeois contends that his case ts within the parameters of the three main cases where we have found the savings clause applicable: Davenport, 147 F.3d 605; Garza v. Lappin, 253 F.3d 918 (7th Cir. 2001); and Webster I, 784 F.3d 1123. To the contrary, Davenport, Garza, and Webster I merely illustrate the “something more” that Bourgeois is missing. Purkey, 964 F.3d at 615. In Davenport, the successful petitioner (Nichols) had a new, retroactive Supreme Court statutory decision holding that the conduct for which he was imprisoned was not a crime. 147 F.3d at 611. Garza had a previously unobtainable decision from an international tribunal nding that his death sentence violated international human rights norms. 253 F.3d at 923. And Webster had clear and convincing new evidence showing that he was intellectually disabled and thus ineligible for the death penalty. 784 F.3d at 1140–44. We recently reviewed Webster’s new evidence again in Webster II, 2020 WL 5638691, which further illustrates the type of unusual circumstances that warrant savings-clause relief. On remand following our decision in Webster I, the district court held a lengthy evidentiary hearing on Webster’s intellectual-disability claim. From the evidence presented at the hearing, the district court determined that Webster’s new evidence of intellectual disability, which predated his capital trial, had been unavailable to Webster at trial despite his counsel’s diligent e orts to obtain it at the time. Id. at *8. The new evidence was far from cumulative, moreover, because it showed for the rst time that Webster had been diagnosed as intellectually disabled before he committed the crimes for which he had been sentenced to death, “at a time when Webster had no incentive to malinger.” Id. at *15. That was critical because the government’s theory at trial was that Webster’s low IQ scores were the product of malingering. Id. at *3. After No. 20-1891 31 reviewing the new evidence and other evidence presented at the hearing, the district court found that Webster was intellectually disabled. Id. at *9–12. We upheld the district court’s factual ndings on appeal because they contained no clear error. Id. at *12–17. Unlike Webster, Bourgeois has no newly discovered evidence. Instead, he had a full and fair opportunity to litigate his intellectual-disability claim before the district court that decided his § 2255 motion. To be sure, Davenport, Garza, and the Webster cases do not “create rigid categories delineating when the safety valve is available.” Purkey, 964 F.3d at 614. But they illustrate the limited kinds of structural defects that justify savings-clause relief. Of the three cases, Davenport may best illustrate what Bourgeois is lacking. Nichols, the successful petitioner in Davenport, had a retroactive, statutory decision that completely undermined the legal basis for his conviction. Bourgeois’s only claim, by contrast, is that the law governing his intellectual-disability claim continued to develop after he lost on that claim in his § 2255 motion. That is not enough. A federal prisoner is entitled to one “reasonable opportunity to obtain … judicial correction of a fundamental defect in his conviction or sentence.” Davenport, 147 F.3d at 611. Bourgeois had that opportunity. That being so, Bourgeois is not eligible for savings-clause relief on either his Atkins claim or his FDPA claim. III. Conclusion The question in this appeal is not whether Alfred Bourgeois is intellectually disabled. It is, instead, whether he was able to litigate his intellectual-disability claim in his § 2255 motion. He was, and he did. The savings clause is a narrow route to relief that exists only to prevent fundamental errors that § 2255 could not have corrected. It does not invite federal 32 No. 20-1891 prisoners to relitigate their claims every time the Supreme Court re nes the relevant legal standard. Accordingly, we REVERSE the district court’s determination that Bourgeois is likely to succeed on the merits and REMAND with instructions for the district court to deny Bourgeois’s motion for a stay of execution and dismiss Bourgeois’s § 2241 petition. One nal matter: At oral argument, the government requested that we issue our mandate immediately. We decline that request. Instead, we exercise our authority to expedite the issuance of the mandate and adjust the rehearing deadlines. Fed. R. App. P. 35(c), 40(a), 41(b); see, e.g., Boucher v. Sch. Bd. of Sch. Dist. of Green eld, 134 F.3d 821, 829 (7th Cir. 1998). The mandate shall issue seven days after the date this opinion is issued. A petition for panel or en banc rehearing must be led within seven days after the issuance of this opinion. A petition for rehearing shall stay issuance of the mandate until disposition of the petition. If the petition is denied, the mandate shall issue immediately upon denial.
Primary Holding
Seventh Circuit rejects a section 2241 petition by a death-row inmate, invoking the section 2255(e) "savings clause" to bring a claim of intellectual disability.

Disclaimer: Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site. Justia makes no guarantees or warranties that the annotations are accurate or reflect the current state of law, and no annotation is intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. Contacting Justia or any attorney through this site, via web form, email, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship.