United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge Brian S. Miller. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
before the Court is a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Petition for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Petitioner, Eric Gadson
(“Gadson”), who is incarcerated at the Forrest
City, Arkansas, Federal Correctional Institution. Doc.
1. Gadson challenges the validity of a sentence imposed
by the United States District Court for the District of South
Carolina in United States v. Gadsen,  D. S.C. No.
5:00-cr-917 (“Gadson I”). More
specifically, he contends that: (1) he was “convicted
of violating § 924(c) and sentenced to 240 months'
imprisonment for allegedly possessing a machine gun during a
second or successive crime of violence;” and (2) based
on United States v. O'Brien, 560 U.S. 218, 130
S.Ct. 2169 (2010), he is “actually innocent” of
the charged offense. Doc. 1 at 11-12.
February 20, 2001, in Gadson I, Gadson pleaded
guilty to two counts of bank robbery, violations of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2113(d) and one count of use of a firearm in
furtherance of a crime of violence, a violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e). Gadson I Judgment, Govt.'s
Exh. 3, Doc. 7-3. On January 23, 2002, Gadson was
sentenced in Gadson I to 48 months for the bank
robberies and 240 months for the use of a
review of the docket sheet from Gadson I indicates
that Gadson filed a direct appeal, which was dismissed. It
also indicates that he attempted, unsuccessfully, to file a
Motion to Vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and a Motion to
is Gadson's second § 2241 habeas petition raising
the identical claim he asserts in this action. On May
24, 2011, in the Western District of Texas, Gadson filed a
§ 2241 petition. Gadson v. Bragg, W.D. Tx No.
EP-11-cv-215 (“Gadson II”). In
Gadson II, the Court ruled that Gadson was
not entitled to the benefit of § 2255's
savings clause, and thus, that it lacked jurisdiction over
Gadson's § 2241 habeas Petition. A copy of the
Court's ruling in Gadson II is attached to this
Recommendation as Exhibit A.
December 10, 2018, Gadson filed the § 2241 habeas action
now before this Court. Doc. 1. In his § 2241
petition, he contends, based on United States v.
O'Brien, supra, that the 240-month sentence
imposed in Gadson I for the use of a firearm
conviction should be vacated. Doc. 1. Respondent has
filed a Response, Doc. 7, to which Gadson has filed
a Reply. Doc. 12. Thus, the issues are joined and
ready for resolution.
to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(a), a district court is not
“required to entertain an application for a writ of
habeas corpus to inquire into the detention” of a
federal prisoner if “the legality of such detention has
been determined . . . on a prior application for a writ of
habeas corpus.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(a). Courts have
interpreted this provision as preventing federal prisoners
from using § 2241 to raise claims that were adjudicated,
or could have been, in an earlier § 2241 action.
See Queen v. Miner, 530 F.3d 253, 255 (3rd
Cir. 2008) (finding Petitioner's claims in his §
2241 petition were successive because they “either had
been, or could have been, decided in his previous habeas
action”); Antonelli v. Warden, U.S.P.
Atlanta, 542 F.3d 1348, 1352 (11th Cir. 2008) (holding
that “[s]uccessive § 2241 petitions by federal
prisoners are subject to threshold dismissal in federal court
because” of § 2244(a); see also Phelps v. U.S.
Federal Government, 15 F.3d 735, 737-38 (8th Cir.1994)
(affirming the district court's application of pre-AEDPA
version of § 2244 to find an abuse of the writ in a
successive § 2241 petition).
court in dismissing Gadson's first § 2241 Petition
stated the following:
Gadson agrees he pleaded guilty in South Carolina to using a
firearm in connection with a robbery, in violation of §
924(c). Gadson concedes this was a “second or
successive violation.” He claims the South Carolina
Court sentenced him for the “possession, use, and
carrying of a machine gun. The Court, however, did not
sentence Gadson to life in prison - the statutory minimum
sentence “if the firearm is a machine gun.” The
Court did sentence Gadson to 240 months' imprisonment -
the mandatory minimum sentence - for a second § 924(c)
conviction. “[R]ecidivist provisions . . . are
typically sentencing factors [that] can be proved to a judge
at sentencing by a preponderance of the evidence.”
[citing O'Brien] Thus, Gadson's claim
that the Court sentenced him for the “possession, use,
and carrying of a machine gun” is simply false.
Moreover, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals notes
O'Brien has not “decriminalized any of the conduct
for which he was convicted. . . . Therefore, the savings
clause was not applicable. Gadson may only bring his claim
for relief in the district of conviction and sentence.
Gadson II, Doc. 12 (omitting footnotes)
in filing this § 2241 Petition, Gadson attempts to
relitigate the same issues he presented and lost in his
earlier § 2241 Petition concerning the impact of
United States v. O'Brien, supra, and