United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
ANTHONY D. WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
LOUIS WILLIAMS II, Warden, Federal Correctional Institution - Oxford, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY District Judge
Anthony Williams seeks habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 from his continued confinement at the Federal
Correctional Institution at Oxford, Wisconsin. The petition
is before the court for preliminary review under Rule 4 of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, which may be applied
to habeas petitions brought under § 2241. See
Rule 1(b), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases; see also 28
U.S.C. § 2243. Under Rule 4, the court will dismiss the
petition only if it plainly appears that petitioner is not
entitled to relief.
contends that his confinement violates the Constitution for
two reasons: (1) his federal convictions for “unlawful
transport of firearms” and “felon in possession
of a firearm” violate the Tenth Amendment because
federal courts do not have jurisdiction to convict for those
offenses; and (2) his convictions violate the Second
Amendment. Neither claim has merit, however, so Williams'
petition will be dismissed.
initial matter, petitioner has not shown that he may seek
relief under § 2241. To collaterally attack a conviction
or sentence, a federal prisoner must ordinarily file a
petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Brown v.
Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013). A federal
prisoner “may petition under section 2241 instead if
his section 2255 remedy is ‘inadequate or ineffective
to test the legality of his detention.'” Brown
v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 2255(e)). Under Seventh Circuit law, three
conditions must be present before a petitioner can proceed
under § 2241 pursuant to the “inadequate or
ineffective” exception: (1) the petitioner must be
relying on a new statutory-interpretation case -- rather than
on a constitutional case --because § 2255 offers relief
to prisoners who rely on new constitutional cases; (2) the
statutory-interpretation must be retroactive on collateral
review; and (3) the error the petitioner identifies must be
grave enough to be deemed a miscarriage of justice. Light
v. Caraway, 761 F.3d 809, 812 (7th Cir. 2014); In re
Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 611-12 (7th Cir. 1998).
petitioner cannot demonstrate that the first two conditions
are present: he has not identified a new statutory
interpretation case (in fact, he primarily relies on cases
from more than one hundred years ago), much less that a new
case applies retroactively on collateral review. Because
petitioner may not proceed under § 2241, his petition
must be dismissed.
petitioner's claims fail on the merits. Petitioner argues
that 18 U.S.C. §§ 921 and 922 are an overextension
of Congress's authority and of the federal courts'
jurisdiction, because his actions were committed within the
territory of a state. These arguments are frivolous and have
been rejected repeatedly by the Seventh Circuit. See,
e.g., United States v. Sidwell, 440 F.3d 865,
870 (7th Cir. 2006); United States v. Thompson, 359
F.3d 470, 480 (7th Cir. 2004); United States v.
Lemons, 302 F.3d 769, 772 (7th Cir. 2002); United
States v. Mitchell, 299 F.3d 632 (7th Cir. 2002);
United States v. Wesela, 223 F.3d 656, 659-60 (7th
Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1174 (2001).
arguments concerning the Second Amendment are also
unpersuasive. Section 922(g)(1) provides that
[i]t shall be unlawful for any person who has been convicted
in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a
term exceeding one year . . . to ship or transport in
interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting
commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any
firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported
in interstate or foreign commerce.
argues that the statute violates his Second Amendment right
to bear arms, but “[l]ike most rights, the right
secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”
District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 626
(2008). In issuing Heller, the Supreme Court
explicitly noted that “nothing in our opinion should be
taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the
possession of firearms by felons[.]” Id.;
see also Baer v. Lynch, 636 F.App'x 695, 697
(7th Cir. 2016) (“[T]he Supreme Court made clear that
categorical bans on firearm possession do not necessarily
offend the Second Amendment and that some bans, including the
one at issue here [18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)], are
petitioner has not demonstrated that he may proceed under
§ 2241, and because petitioner is not entitled to relief
on the merits of his claims in any event, the court will
dismiss his petition.
ORDERED that the federal habeas corpus petition filed by
Anthony Williams pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is DENIED
and this case is DISMISSED with prejudice. ...