United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
FELIX WALLS Reg. #02414-112 PETITIONER
GENE BEASLEY, Warden, Federal Correctional Institution-Low, Forrest City, Arkansas RESPONDENT
Procedure for Filing Objections:
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge Kristine G. Baker. Either party may file
written objections to the Recommendation with the Clerk of
Court if he disagrees with its findings and conclusions. To
be considered, objections must be filed within 14 days.
Objections should be specific and should include the factual
or legal basis for the objection.
objections are filed, the parties risk waiving the right to
appeal questions of fact. And, if no objections are filed,
Judge Baker can adopt this Recommendation without
independently reviewing the record.
1995, Mr. Walls received a 360-month sentence in the Bureau
of Prisons (“BOP”) after a federal jury in the
Eastern District of Michigan found him guilty of two
conspiracy counts involving drugs and money laundering.
(Docket entry #1 at 18-19); United States v. Walls,
2:92-CR-80236-RHC (E.D. Mich. June 15, 1995) (#158). Mr.
Walls appealed the verdict. The Court of Appeals for the
Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded for a new trial.
Walls, 2:92-CR-80236-RHC (#251); United States
v. Walls, 162 F.3d 1162 (Table), 1998 WL 552907, *10
(6th Cir. 1998).
the case had been returned to the Eastern District of
Michigan, second (1998) and third (1999) superseding
indictments were filed. (#1 at 20-36); Walls,
2:92-CR-80236-RHC (#263, #280). Mr. Walls was retried by a
federal jury in May 2002 and was again found guilty of two
conspiracy counts involving drugs and money laundering.
Walls, 2:92-CR-80236-RHC (#429) Mr. Walls was
sentenced to life imprisonment on the drug count and to 60
months' imprisonment for money laundering; the sentences
were to run concurrently. (#1 at 33-34); Walls,
appeal, the Sixth Circuit affirmed Mr. Walls's conviction
but reversed and remanded for resentencing. United States
v. Walls, 148 Fed. App.'x 286, 291 (6th Cir. 2005);
Walls, 2:92-CR-80236-RHC (#557). At resentencing,
Mr. Walls was again sentenced to life imprisonment on the
drug count and 60 months' imprisonment on the money
laundering count, with the sentences to run concurrently.
Walls, 2:92-CR-80236-RHC (#616); United States
v. Walls, 2006 WL 2190526, *3 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 1, 2006).
His sentence was affirmed on appeal. United States v.
Walls, 546 F.3d 728, 704-41 (6th Cir. 2009), cert.
denied, 558 U.S. 1001 (Nov. 2, 2009).
the pendency of the appeal of his resentencing, Mr. Walls
sought relief in two ways. First, he sought federal habeas
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Walls v. United
States, No. 2:06-CV-12441, 2006 WL 1851184 (E.D.
Mich. June 30, 2006). His habeas petition was denied by a
finding that “there is no allegation . . . that his
remedy under §2255 would be inadequate or ineffective to
test the legality of his conviction.” Id. Mr.
Walls then sought Rule 60(b)(4) relief from his judgment,
which was docketed as a motion to vacate his sentence under
28 U.S.C. §2255. Walls, 2:92-CR-80236-RHC
(#632). Because of Mr. Walls's then-pending appeal, the
court denied the §2255 motion for lack of jurisdiction.
Id. (#633); United States v. Walls, 2007 WL
911906 (E.D. Mich. March 22, 2007). Thereafter, in December
2010, Mr. Walls filed a second motion to vacate under
§2255 with the sentencing court. Walls,
2:92-CR-80236-RHC (#669). However, Mr. Walls withdrew this
motion in March of 2016. Id. (#700).
19, 2017, the Government moved for compassionate release,
asking that Mr. Walls's sentence be reduced to time
served based on his age (75 years) and his increasingly poor
health. (#1 at 35-36); Walls, 2:92-CR-80236-RHC
(#705). The motion was denied. Id. (#707);
United States v. Walls, 2018 WL 102647, *4 (E.D.
Mich. Feb. 23, 2018). Mr. Walls's motion for
reconsideration was also denied on May 18, 2018.
Walls, 2:92-CR-80236-RHC (#713). Mr. Walls did not
appeal this ruling; however, a separate motion for
retroactive application of sentencing guidelines to drug
offense under 18 U.S.C. § 3582 remains pending before
the sentencing court. Id. (#703)
September 24, 2018, Mr. Walls, who is serving his sentence in
the BOP at the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest
City, Arkansas, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in
this Court, under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In his petition, he
cursorily asserts his actual innocence, challenges decisions
made by the trial judge during his first trial, contends that
his life sentence is both the result of vindictive
prosecution for his successful appeal and a violation of the
double jeopardy clause, and alleges a myriad of
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims as to all of his
trial and appellate attorneys. (#1) Respondent Beasley timely
responded (#7), and Mr. Walls replied. (#10)
Walls suggests that he is being held illegally believing the
governing statute carried a maximum sentence of 20 years'
imprisonment. He argues that he has long-since satisfied that
term and asks that he be granted a writ of habeas corpus and
immediate release. (#1)
Court lacks jurisdiction to hear Mr. Walls's petition.
Generally, a federal inmate may challenge his conviction or
sentence only with the sentencing court through a motion to
vacate, set aside, or correct sentence, under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. Lopez-Lopez v. Sanders, 590 F.3d 905,
907 (8th Cir. 2010) (citing Abdullah v. Hedrick, 392
F.3d 957, 959 (8th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 545
U.S. 1147 (2005)). A court cannot entertain a petition for
habeas corpus under § 2241, “if it appears that
the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by [§
2255] motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such
court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that
the remedy by [§ 2255] motion is inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his
detention.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) (emphasis added)
The last clause is a provision generally referred as
§2255's “savings clause.”
Abdullah, 392 F.3d at 959.
petitioner who wishes to be excepted from the requirement of
filing with the sentencing court under § 2255 must
demonstrate that seeking relief from the sentencing court
would be inadequate or ineffective. Lopez-Lopez, 590
F.3d at 907 (citing Abdullah, 392 F.3d at 959). But
this exception is a “narrowly circumscribed safety
valve.” United States ex rel. Perez v. Warden, FMC
Rochester, 286 F.3d 1059, 1061-62 (8th Cir. 2002),
cert. denied, 537 U.S. 869 (2002). The fact that an
individual is barred from filing a § 2255 motion for
procedural reasons does not render the remedy inadequate or
ineffective so as to permit a petitioner to file under §
2241. Lopez-Lopez, 590 F.3d at 907. Likewise, a
§ 2255 remedy ...