United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. JOHNSTONE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Mata, currently a federal inmate in Florida, petitioned this
court for a writ of habeas corpus (Doc. No. 1), pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241, when he was an inmate at the Federal
Correctional Institution in Berlin, New Hampshire
(“FCI-Berlin”). Before the court is the
respondent's motion to dismiss and objection to the
relief sought in the petition (Doc. No. 4). Mata objects to
the motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 7).
March 2008, in a federal prosecution in the Southern District
of Texas, Mata pleaded guilty to possession with intent to
distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, in violation
of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B)(vii).
See Conditional Plea Agreement, United States v.
Mata, No. 5:07-CR-1435-1 (“Criminal
Case”) (S.D. Tex. Mar. 11, 2008) (ECF No. 97). In
November 2008, Mata was sentenced to 168 months on those
charges, based in part on the imposition of a ten-year
mandatory minimum sentence, and to a determination that he
was a “career offender” under the advisory United
States Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”).
See Nov. 14, 2008 Judgment, Criminal Case
(ECF No. 152); see also Nov. 12, 2014 Mem. &
Order, Criminal Case (ECF No. 195) (discussing
relevant times, Mata had both a prior cocaine
“delivery” conviction, in violation of §
481.112 of the Texas Health and Safety Code,  and a prior Texas
burglary conviction. See Pet. (Doc. No. 1), at 10.
Mata was subjected to an enhanced sentence as a “career
offender” under § 4B1.1 of the Guidelines,
see id.; see also Nov. 12, 2014 Mem. &
Order, Criminal Case (ECF No. 195), and to a
ten-year mandatory minimum sentence under 21 U.S.C. §
841(b)(1)(B), which provides for a ten-year minimum sentence
if the defendant has been previously convicted of
“felony drug offense.”
filed an unsuccessful direct appeal of his federal conviction
and sentence, see United States v. Mata, 397
Fed.Appx. 39 (5th Cir. 2010), and an unsuccessful motion in
his federal criminal case under 28 U.S.C. § 2255,
challenging the court's use of the Texas burglary
conviction in finding him to be a career offender under the
Guidelines. See Dec. 13, 2010 § 2255 Mot.,
Criminal Case (ECF No. 179); see also Apr.
5, 2011 Mem., Criminal Case (ECF No. 181), slip op.
at 2 (denying § 2255 motion).
instant § 2241 petition focuses on Mata's Texas drug
delivery conviction, in challenging the federal court's
use of that prior conviction in imposing a ten-year mandatory
minimum sentence under 21 U.S.C. § 841, and in citing
that conviction as a predicate offense in sentencing Mata as
a “career offender” under § 4B1.1 of the
Guidelines. Mata relies on two 2016 cases, Mathis v.
United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), and
United States v. Hinkle, 832 F.3d 569 (5th
Cir. 2016), arguing that those cases effectively narrowed the
scope of § 841's mandatory minimum and the
Guidelines career offender provisions, as applied to his drug
Savings Clause Jurisdiction
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, the trial court generally has
exclusive jurisdiction over an individual's
post-conviction motions challenging the validity of his or
her conviction or sentence. Section 2255(e), known as the
“savings clause, ” preserves a limited role for
the court in the district where a federal inmate is in prison
to consider a § 2241 petition challenging the validity
of his or her detention. See United States v.
Barrett, 178 F.3d 34, 49 (1st Cir. 1999). When Mata
filed the § 2241 petition at issue here, Mata was an
FCI-Berlin inmate, seeking to invoke this court's
“savings clause” jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
savings clause provides, in pertinent part:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a
prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion
pursuant to [§ 2255], shall not be entertained . . .
unless it . . . appears that the remedy by motion [under
§ 2255] is inadequate or ineffective to test the
legality of his detention.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) (emphasis added).
relief can be termed ‘inadequate' or
‘ineffective'” for purposes of invoking the
savings clause, “only when, in a particular case, the
configuration of section 2255 is such ‘as to deny a
convicted defendant any opportunity for judicial
rectification.'” Trenkler v. United
States, 536 F.3d 85, 99 (1st Cir. 2008) (emphasis in
original) (citation omitted). The jurisdictional inquiry into
§ 2255's “adequacy and effectiveness must be
judged ex ante.” Id. The First Circuit has
noted that “[m]ost courts have required a credible
allegation of actual innocence, ” before a petitioner
can access the savings clause. Trenkler, 536 F.3d at
99. See also United States v. Almenas, 52 F.Supp.3d
341, 345 (D. Mass. 2014). Savings clause jurisdiction is
available for petitioners asserting statutory claims based on
new binding precedent, previously unavailable to them, that
narrows the scope of a criminal statute in a manner that
would have rendered them not guilty under the ...