Chester Blum v. Ronnie Holt ( 2011 )

  • DLD-102
                                                                   NOT PRECEDENTIAL
                         UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
                              FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
                                        No. 10-4218
                                    CHESTER L. BLUM,
                                 RONNIE HOLT; BOP
                      On Appeal from the United States District Court
                           for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
                                 (D.C. Civil No. 10-cv-00736)
                      District Judge: Honorable Christopher C. Conner
           Submitted for Possible Dismissal Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)
           or Summary Action Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 27.4 and I.O.P. 10.6
                                     January 28, 2011
                   Before: BARRY, FISHER and STAPLETON, Circuit Judges
                              (Opinion filed : February 7, 2011)
         Chester L. Blum, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se, appeals an order of the
    United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissing his
    petition filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 2241. For the reasons set forth below, we will
    summarily affirm. See I.O.P. 10.6.
           In 1994, Blum was found guilty by a jury in the United States District Court for the
    Eastern District of Missouri of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a)
    and (d), as well as a firearms offense in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). He was
    sentenced as a career criminal to 360 months of imprisonment, to be followed by three
    years of supervised release. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    affirmed his judgment of sentence. Blum later filed an unsuccessful motion pursuant to
    28 U.S.C. § 2255.
           In April 2010, Blum filed in the United States District Court for the Middle
    District of Pennsylvania – the District of his confinement – a petition under § 2241
    seeking his immediate release. He argued that the 1994 federal sentencing court
    improperly considered his prior 1962 state court murder conviction to determine that he
    was a career offender, which resulted in the imposition of a substantially longer sentence.
           Blum asserted that he was entitled to have his claim heard under § 2241 because
    § 2255 is inadequate or unavailable. Specifically, he claimed that he is precluded from
    filing another § 2255 motion because the one-year statute of limitations has expired, and
    also because he did not receive the documents necessary to demonstrate that his 1962
    conviction should not have been considered for purposes of his 1994 federal sentence
    until 2005. A Magistrate Judge recommended summary dismissal of the § 2241 petition,
    concluding that Blum’s recourse is to seek permission from the United States Court of
    Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to file a second or successive § 2255 motion. The District
    Court adopted the report and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, agreeing that
    Blum’s claim cannot be raised under § 2241 because he has not shown that the remedy
    under § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective. The District Court denied Blum’s motion for
    reconsideration and he timely appealed.
           We have appellate jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. A § 2255 motion
    filed in the sentencing court is the presumptive means for a federal prisoner to challenge
    the validity of a conviction or sentence. See Davis v. United States, 
    417 U.S. 333
    , 343
    (1974); In re Dorsainvil, 
    119 F.3d 245
    , 249 (3d Cir. 1997). A habeas petitioner may seek
    relief under § 2241 only if the remedy provided by § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective”
    to test the legality of his detention. See Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 249-51. A § 2255 motion
    is not “inadequate or ineffective” merely because the petitioner cannot meet the stringent
    gatekeeping requirements of § 2255, Okereke v. United States, 
    307 F.3d 117
    , 120 (3d
    Cir. 2002), or because the sentencing court does not grant relief, Cradle v. United States
    ex rel. Miner, 
    290 F.3d 536
    , 539 (3d Cir. 2002) (per curiam). Rather, the “safety valve”
    provided under § 2255 is extremely narrow and has been held to apply in unusual
    situations, such as those in which a prisoner has had no prior opportunity to challenge his
    conviction for a crime later deemed to be non-criminal by an intervening change in law.
    See Okereke, 307 F.3d at 120 (citing In re Dorsainvil, 119 F.3d at 251).
           We agree with the District Court that Blum has not demonstrated that a § 2255
    motion provides inadequate or ineffective means to raise his claim. Id. 1 Thus, to the
    extent that Blum wishes to file a second or successive § 2255 motion with the sentencing
    court, the District Court appropriately informed him that he must request authorization
    from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit before doing so. See 28
    U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A).
           As Blum’s appeal presents no substantial question, we will summarily affirm. See
    Third Cir. LAR 27.4; I.O.P. 10.6.
         We further agree with the District Court’s decision to deny Blum’s motion to
     amend his § 2241 petition as it is unclear from that filing what Blum sought to amend.