United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
IVAN A. COPELAND, Petitioner,
S. KASSELL, Warden, Respondent.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [DKT. NO.
16] AND DENYING AND DISMISSING PETITION WITHOUT PREJUDICE
[DKT. NO. 1]
M. KEELEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
15, 2017, the pro se petitioner, Ivan A. Copeland
(“Copeland”), filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (“Petition”)
(Dkt. No. 1). In his Petition, Copeland challenges the
application of the career offender enhancement to his case
under United States Sentencing Guideline § 4B1.1 (Dkt.
No. 1 at 5, 13). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and the
local rules, the Court referred Copeland's Petition to
the Honorable Michael J. Aloi, United States Magistrate Judge
for initial review. The respondent, Warden S. Kassell
(“Warden”), moved to dismiss the Petition on June
2, 2017 (Dkt. No. 11).
January 11, 2018, Magistrate Judge Aloi issued his Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”), which recommended
that the Court deny and dismiss the Petition without
prejudice because Copeland failed to demonstrate that §
2255 is an inadequate or ineffective remedy by which to
attack the validity of his sentence (Dkt. No. 16).
Specifically, the R&R concluded that Copeland has not
established his entitlement to the application of §
2255's savings clause pursuant to the test articulated in
In re Jones, 226 F.3d 328 (4th Cir. 2000).
Id. at 9, 12-13.
objection to the R&R, Copeland contends that Magistrate
Judge Aloi erred when he determined that, because the
Petition does not fall within the scope of the savings clause
as applied in In re Jones, the Court must dismiss
the Petition for lack of jurisdiction (Dkt. No. 18). Copeland
specifically objects to the R&R's reliance on
Rice v. Rivera, 617 F.3d 802 (4th Cir. 2010) for
this conclusion. He argues that Rice is a
“drive-by jurisdictional ruling” without
precedential effect, and that the Supreme Court's ruling
in Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500 (2006)
requires the Court to reconsider Rice.
Rice, the Fourth Circuit applied In re
Jones to prevent a § 2241 petitioner from
challenging the fact of his conviction through the savings
clause of § 2255. While the court ultimately remanded
the petitioner's case to the district court with
instructions to vacate his sentence, it determined that
§ 2241 was the incorrect procedural vehicle for the
challenge because the petitioner did not meet the
requirements of In re Jones. Rice, 617 F.3d
at 807. Significantly, the Fourth Circuit held that the
district court lacked jurisdiction over the habeas motion
because Rice was unable to satisfy the rule from In re
Copeland must acknowledge, Rice was decided in 2010,
four years after the Supreme Court issued its decision in
Arbaugh. Notably, the Fourth Circuit considered
Arbaugh when deciding Rice, citing the case
in a footnote regarding the jurisdictional nature of another
rule. Rice, 617 F.3d 802, 810 n.7 (citing
Arbaugh, 546 U.S. at 515). In addition, the Fourth
Circuit has continued to dismiss cases without prejudice for
lack of jurisdiction where the petitioner has failed to show
that § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective. See,
e.g., Moore v. Stewart, 2018 WL 333138 (4th
Cir. Jan. 9, 2018)(citing Rice for the proposition
that a district court lacks jurisdiction where a petitioner
has failed to satisfy his burden of demonstrating that §
2255 is an inadequate or ineffective means of challenging the
validity of his detention); Redd v. Wilson, 703
Fed.Appx. 196 (4th Cir. 2017)(same); Meredith v.
Andrews, 700 Fed.Appx. 283 (4th Cir. 2017)(same).
even if the Court were to assume that the Fourth Circuit
would overrule Rice and conclude that § 2255(e)
is not a jurisdictional rule, Copeland still would not be
entitled to review on the merits or to relief because, as
Magistrate Judge Aloi concluded, Copeland has not established
that § 2255 is an inadequate or ineffective remedy.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). In the Fourth Circuit,
the savings clause preserves only claims in which the
petitioner alleges the he is actually innocent of a
conviction. Rice, 617 F.3d at 807. In other words,
the savings clause does not extend to petitioners who
challenge only their sentences. See United States
v. Poole, 531 F.3d 263, 267 n.7 (4th Cir.
2008)(citing In re Jones, 226 F.3d at 333-34). Thus,
even if Copeland could meet the other requirements
articulated in In re Jones, he has not alleged that
he is actually innocent of the crime for which he was
convicted. Rather, he challenges only the validity of his
sentence. He therefore has not met the requirements
established in In re Jones and would not be entitled
for the reasons discussed, the Court:
1) ADOPTS the R&R (Dkt. No. 16);
2) OVERRULES Copeland's objection (Dkt.
3) GRANTS the Warden's Motion to Dismiss
(Dkt. No. 11); and
4) DENIES and DISMISSES
Copeland's Petition WITHOUT PREJUDICE
(Dkt. No. 1).
Court DIRECTS the Clerk to transmit copies
of this Order to counsel of record and the pro se
petitioner, certified mail and return receipt requested, to
enter a separate judgment order, ...