United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MICHAEL T. PARKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
THE COURT is the Petition of Paul Winfield for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Having
considered the submissions of the parties and the applicable
law, the undersigned recommends that the Petition  be
Paul Winfield is the former mayor of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
On March 19, 2013, Petitioner, while serving as mayor, was
indicted for theft or bribery concerning programs receiving
federal funds in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
666(a)(1)(B). Following a guilty plea, Petitioner was
convicted of this crime in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Mississippi on or about November
19, 2013. See United States v. Winfield,
5:13-cv-5-DCB-FKB (S.D. Miss 2013). Petitioner was sentenced
to a 25-month term of imprisonment and a three-year term of
supervised release. Id. Petitioner completed his
term of imprisonment.
January 16, 2018, Petitioner, while serving his term of
supervised release, filed the instant Petition , arguing
that his conviction is no longer valid in light of the
Supreme Court's holding in McDonnell v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 2355 (2016). On March 21, 2018,
Respondent filed a Response , arguing that this Court does
not have jurisdiction to consider this § 2241 habeas
general rule is that a challenge to the validity of a
conviction or sentence must be pursued in a motion filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Pack v.
Yusuff, 218 F.3d 448, 451-52 (5th Cir. 2000);
Tolliver v. Dobre, 211 F.3d 876, 877 (5th Cir.
2000). Petitioner, however, is proceeding under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, which is generally used to attack the manner in
which a sentence is executed. Id. There is a
savings clause in § 2255 which acts as a limited
exception to these general rules and allows a § 2241
petition under certain limited circumstances. This savings
clause provides as follows:
An applicant for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a
prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion
pursuant to this section, shall not be entertained if it
appears that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by
motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such court
has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy
by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality
of his detention.
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e).
“a section 2241 petition that seeks to challenge a
federal sentence or conviction- thereby effectively acting as
a section 2255 motion-may only be entertained when the
petitioner establishes that the remedy provided for under
section 2255 is inadequate or ineffective.”
Pack, 218 F.3d at 452 (citations omitted).
Petitioner bears the burden of establishing the
inadequateness or ineffectiveness of the Section 2255 remedy.
Id. To satisfy the requirements of the savings
clause, Petitioner must demonstrate that (1) he raises a
claim “that is based on a retroactively applicable
Supreme Court decision, ” (2) the claim was previously
“foreclosed by circuit law at the time when [it] should
have been raised in petitioner's trial, appeal or first
§ 2255 motion, ” and (3) the retroactively
applicable decision establishes that “the petitioner
may have been convicted of a nonexistent offense” or,
in other words, the petitioner may be actually innocent.
Reyes-Requena v. United States, 243 F.2d 893, 904
(5th Cir. 2001).
argues that the Supreme Court's holding in McDonnell
v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2355 (2016) establishes that
he was convicted of a nonexistent offense, that the United
States employed an overbroad reading of Section 666, and that
the United States breached the boundaries of federalism.
Respondent argues that Petitioner has not met the
requirements of the savings clause because he has failed to
demonstrate that he was convicted of a nonexistent offense
based on a retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision.
Specifically, Respondent argues that Petitioner's
reliance on McDonnell is misplaced as
McDonnell does not apply to Petitioner's
conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B). The
McDonnell, the Supreme Court considered the proper
interpretation of an “official act” under the
federal bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201(a)(3). In that
case, the United States indicted former Virginia Governor
Robert McDonnell and his wife on bribery charges, including
honest services wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and
Hobbs Act extortion. McDonnell, 136 S.Ct. at 2365.
The parties agreed that in the jury instructions they would
define these crimes with reference to § 201 and its
definition of “official act.” Id. The
Supreme Court held that the jury instructions defined
“official act” too broadly, and the Supreme Court
adopted a “more bounded interpretation of
‘official act.'” Id. at 2368, 2375.
Thus, the Supreme Court vacated McDonnell's convictions
and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with
the opinion. Id. at 2375.
case sub judice, Petitioner was convicted under 18
U.S.C. § 666, a statute which was not at issue in
McDonnell. Acknowledging that § 666 was not
specifically at issue in McDonnell, Petitioner
argues that McDonnell “represents a sea change
in federal public corruption prosecutions, and sets forth
broad principles and concerns that touch on the
‘criterion of guilt' in such cases.”
See Reply  at 1.
least one district court within this circuit has addressed
whether McDonnell represents a retroactively
applicable Supreme Court decision establishing that a
conviction under § 666 may be a conviction of a