Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, August 28, 2015

Zelaya: 2241 relief not avalaible in the circumstances

In Zelaya v. Sec., Fla. Dept. of Corrections, No. 12-16462 (Aug. 24, 2015), the Court held that a district court committed no error in deciding not to recharacterize Zelaya’s habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 as a § 2255 motion. The Court noted that Zelaya made a strategic choice to file a petition under § 2241, and the district court was not obliged to consider the costs and benefits of the alternative approach. The Court ruled that Zelaya’s § 2241 petition was not cognizable under the savings clause of § 2255(e) because his claim, namely that his illegal reentry conviction was pursuant to an unlawful deportation order, was never foreclosed by Circuit precedent. Zelaya’s claim that he was actually innocent did not entitle him to proceed under § 2241 instead of § 2255. The Court remanded the case to the district court, with instructions to dismiss his petition without prejudice.