Battle v. Smith, No. 0:2018cv00088 - Document 4 (E.D. Ky. 2018)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER : 1) Battle's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED. 2) this action is DISMISSED and STRICKEN from the Court's docket. 3) a corresponding Judgment will be entered this date. Signed by Judge Henry R. Wilhoit, Jr on 8-28-18.(JLS)cc: COR, Battle via US Mail
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Battle v. Smith Doc. 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY NORTHERN DIVISION at ASHLAND TERRY BATTLE, Petitioner, v. THOMAS SMITH, Warden, Respondent. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Civil No. 0:18-088-HRW MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER *** *** *** *** Terry Battle is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer, Battle recently filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. [D. E. No. l]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny Battle's petition. In 2008, a jury convicted Battle of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. See United States v. Terry Battle, No. 2:07-cr-900, at D. E. No. 41 (D.N.J. 2008). The trial court determined that Battle was a career offender pursuant to section 4B 1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines because he had at least two prior felony convictions for either a crime of violence or controlled substance offense. See id. at D. E. No. 79. As a result, Battle's sentence was enhanced, and 1 the trial court sentenced him to 360 months in prison. See id. at D. E. No. 67. Battle filed a direct appeal, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the district court's judgments of convictions and sentence. See id. at D. E. No. 84-2. Battle's subsequent efforts to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 were unsuccessful. SeeBattlev. United States, No. 2:13-cv-2024 (D.N.J. 2014). Battle has now filed a § 2241 petition with this Court. The crux of Battle's argument is that, in light of Descamps v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013), Mathis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016), and multiple federal circuit court decisions, his prior convictions are no longer valid predicate offenses for purposes of the career-offender enhancement under the sentencing guidelines. Thus, Battle argues that this court should resentence him without the career offender enhancement. [D. E. No. 1-1]. Battle's petition, however, constitutes an impermissible collateral attack on his sentence. That is because although a federal prisoner may challenge the legality of his sentence on direct appeal and through a timely § 2255 motion, he generally may not do so in a§ 2241 petition. See United States v. Peterman, 249 F.3d 458, 461 (6th Cir. 2001) (explaining the distinction between a § 2255 motion and a § 2241 petition). After all, a § 2241 petition is usually only a vehicle for challenges to actions taken by prison officials that affect the way the prisoner's sentence is being carried out, such as computing sentence credits or determining parole eligibility. See 2 Terrell v. United States, 564 F.3d 442, 447 (6th Cir. 2009). Simply put, Battle cannot use a § 2241 petition as a way of challenging his sentence. Battle nevertheless argues that he can attack his sentence in a § 2241 petition, and he cites Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 599 (6th Cir. 2016), to support his position. [D. E. No. 1-1 at 9-1 O]. It is true that, in Hill, the Sixth Circuit indicated for the first time that a prisoner may challenge his sentence in a § 2241 petition. However, in doing so, the court expressly limited its decision to the following, very narrow circumstances: ( 1) prisoners who were sentenced under the mandatory guidelines regime pre-United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 ... (2005), (2) who were foreclosed from filing a successive petition under§ 2255, and (3) when a subsequent, retroactive change in statutory interpretation by the Supreme Court reveals that a previous conviction is not a predicate offense for a career-offender enhancement. Id. at 599-600. Those circumstances do not apply in this case. That is because the trial court sentenced Battle in 2008, well after the Supreme Court's decision in Booker made the sentencing guidelines advisory rather than mandatory. On this basis alone, Battle's claim does not fall within Hill's limited exception for bringing a § 2241 habeas petition to challenge his federal sentence. See Arroyo v. Ormond, No. 175837 (6th Cir. April 6, 2018) (holding that since the petitioner was sentenced after Booker, his "claim does not fall within Hill's limited exception for bringing a § 2241 3 habeas petition to challenge a federal sentence"). In short, Battle's § 2241 petition is simply unavailing. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that: 1. Battle's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [D. E. No. 1] is DENIED. 2. This action is DISMISSED and STRICKEN from the Court's docket. 3. A corresponding Judgment will be entered this date. This~ August, 2018. Signed By: Henry R. Wilhoit Jr. Un lted States District Judge 4