United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
P. JORDAN III CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
habeas petition brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is before
the Court on the Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge F.
Keith Ball. Judge Ball recommended dismissal with prejudice
for lack of jurisdiction. R&R . Petitioner Lamont
Williams timely filed an Objection  to the R&R.
Because the Court agrees with Judge Ball that Williams has
not established that his petition falls within 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255's savings clause, it adopts the R&R as
the opinion of the Court.
is a federal prisoner currently housed at the Federal
Correctional Complex in Yazoo City, Mississippi. In 2007, he
was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute cocaine hydrochloride and cocaine base in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Louisiana. Williams was sentenced to a term of incarceration
of life under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A), which then
provided a mandatory term of life imprisonment for violators
of the statute who had “two or more prior convictions
for a felony drug offense.” Williams had two qualifying
convictions from 1997: a felony conviction for possession of
cocaine and a felony conviction for possession with intent to
distribute cocaine and marijuana. At sentencing, Williams
“agreed that his prior convictions were valid and did
not object to the sentencing range that resulted from the
application of the [sentencing] enhancement.”
United States v. Williams, 277 Fed.Appx. 472, 477
(5th Cir. 2008).
conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, and
on October 7, 2009, Williams filed a § 2255 motion with
the sentencing court. That court denied the motion, and on
June 15, 2017, Williams tried again, filing a motion he
characterized as one under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
60(b)(6) with the sentencing court. In that motion, Williams
argued that his prior convictions no longer qualified to
trigger the sentencing enhancement in light of Mathis v.
United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). The district court
construed the motion as a second or successive § 2255
petition and transferred it to the Fifth Circuit, which
denied Williams the opportunity to file a second or
then filed the instant habeas petition under § 2241,
arguing that his prior convictions “fail to qualify as
 felony drug offense[s]” and that Descamps v.
United States, 570 U.S. 254 (2013), “is a
substantive Supreme Court decision that narrowed the scope of
the term felony drug offense.” Pet.  at 10. Judge
Ball recommended that Williams's petition be dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction as improperly brought under §
§ 2241 petition attacks his conviction and sentence
entered in the Eastern District of Louisiana. But §
“2255, not § 2241, is the proper means of
attacking errors that occurred during or before sentencing,
” and generally “only the sentencing court has
jurisdiction to hear claims under § 2255.”
Gadson v. Fleming, No. 01-10265, 2002 WL 31730411,
at *1 (5th Cir. Nov. 29, 2002) (quoting Ojo v.
I.N.S., 106 F.3d 680, 683 (5th Cir. 1997)).
“However, a § 2241 petition that attacks custody
resulting from a federally imposed sentence may be
entertained under the savings clause of § 2255 if the
petitioner establishes that the remedy provided under §
2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his
detention.” Padilla v. United States,
416 F.3d 424, 426 (5th Cir. 2005).
[T]he savings clause of § 2255 applies to a claim of
actual innocence “(i) that is based on a retroactively
applicable Supreme Court decision which establishes that the
petitioner may have been convicted of a nonexistent offense
and (ii) that was foreclosed by circuit law at the time when
the claim should have been raised in the petitioner's
trial, appeal or first § 2255 motion.”
Id. (quoting Reyes-Requena v. United
States, 243 F.3d 893, 904 (5th Cir. 2001)).
Judge Ball notes, under this test a petitioner's
“argument that he is actually innocent of being a
career offender . . . is not the type of argument that courts
have recognized may warrant review under § 2241.”
Kinder v. Purdy, 222 F.3d 209, 213 (5th Cir. 2000);
see also Penson v. Warden, Fed. Corr. Inst. Three
Rivers, 747 Fed.Appx. 976, 977 (5th Cir. 2019).
Williams says Judge Ball got it wrong, based primarily on
Santillana v. Upton, 846 F.3d 779 (5th Cir. 2017).
See Pet'r's Obj.  at 1.
Santillana involved a sentencing enhancement under
21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C), whereby a distributor of a
controlled substance faces a mandatory minimum “when
the subsequent use of that drug causes death or serious
injury.” United States v. Santillana, 604 F.3d
192, 195 (5th Cir. 2010). After Santillana's conviction,
the Supreme Court
h[e]ld that, at least where use of the drug distributed by
the defendant is not an independently sufficient cause of the
victim's death or serious bodily injury, a defendant
cannot be liable under the penalty enhancement provision of
21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C) unless such use is a but-for
cause of the death or injury.
Burrage v. United States, 571 U.S. 204, 218-19
(2014). So the Fifth Circuit reversed dismissal of
Santillana's subsequent § 2241 petition, concluding
that Santillana “satisfied her burden to show that she
was potentially convicted of a ...