from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Alabama D.C. Docket No. 1:18-cv-00063-CG-B
WILSON, MARTIN, and JORDAN, Circuit Judges.
JORDAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
Leroy Moody, Jr. faces execution on April 19, 2018, in
Alabama for the 1989 murder of Eleventh Circuit Judge Robert
Vance. After the Alabama Supreme Court set an execution date,
Mr. Moody filed a counseled petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He named the warden
of the Alabama facility where he is currently incarcerated as
the respondent, and asserted in two related claims that under
federal law Alabama cannot legally carry out his scheduled
execution. He argued that before Alabama can put him to
death, he must first be returned to the custody of the United
States to serve federal sentences of life imprisonment which
had been imposed on him at an earlier time. If Mr. Moody is
correct, Alabama will never be able to execute him because he
will die in federal prison.
district court ruled that Mr. Moody lacked Article III
standing and that he failed to obtain Eleventh Circuit
authorization for his second claim, which amounted to an
unauthorized second or successive habeas corpus petition
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See 28 U.S.C. §
2244(b)(2)-(3). It therefore dismissed his case without
prejudice. When Mr. Moody appealed, we expedited briefing and
invited the United States to present its views. We heard oral
argument on April 12, 2018.
affirm the dismissal of Mr. Moody's § 2241 petition,
but on different grounds. We conclude that Mr. Moody has
standing, and that his second claim does not constitute an
unauthorized second or successive § 2254 petition. We
also hold, however, that Mr. Moody's claims fail on the
merits, and we remand the case to the district court with
instructions to enter a judgment dismissing those claims with
December of 1989, Mr. Moody mailed four package bombs to
locations in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Two of those
bombs detonated, killing United States Circuit Judge Robert
Vance at his home in Alabama and civil rights attorney Robert
Robinson at his office in Georgia.
federal jury convicted Mr. Moody of 71 charges related to the
bombings, and the district court sentenced him in August of
1991 to seven consecutive terms of life imprisonment and a
concurrent term of 400 years. The district court remanded Mr.
Moody "to the custody of the United States Marshal,
" D.E. 1, Exh. A at 3, and he was incarcerated at the
United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. His federal
convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal.
See United States v. Moody, 977 F.2d 1425 (11th Cir.
the federal proceedings, a grand jury in Jefferson County,
Alabama, indicted Mr. Moody for the murder of Judge Vance and
the injuries sustained in the explosion by his wife, Helen
Vance. To secure custody of Mr. Moody for prosecution in
Alabama, a state circuit court issued a writ of habeas corpus
ad prosequendum on February 17, 1992. That writ ordered the
United States Marshal and the Sheriff of Jefferson County to
"produce the body of" Mr. Moody before the court
for a hearing, and for a trial then scheduled for May 4,
1992. See D.E. 1, Exh. B. The writ also contemplated
that Alabama authorities would return Mr. Moody to federal
custody once the state proceedings were over. It stated that
"at the conclusion of said hearing the body of . . .
[Mr.] Moody . . . be returned to the custody of the United
States Marshal in the U.S. Penitentiary, Marion, Illinois,
all in accordance with the regulations and directions of the
United States Marshal." Id. Several days later,
the writ was executed and Mr. Moody was brought from Marion
to Jefferson County.
Alabama jury found Mr. Moody guilty of capital murder and
assault, and in February of 1997 the trial court sentenced
him to death for Judge Vance's murder. In December of
1998 the United States Marshal for the Southern District of
Alabama filed a detainer with the Alabama Department of
Corrections. The detainer acknowledged that Mr. Moody was in
Alabama custody and requested as follows: "Prior to [Mr.
Moody's] release from your custody, please notify this
office at once so that we may assume custody of [him] for
service of his Federal sentence of imprisonment." D.E.
1, Exh. G. The detainer also stated that "[t]he notice
and speedy trial requirements of the Interstate Agreement on
Detainers Act do NOT apply to this [d]etainer."
Id. The Alabama Department of Corrections
acknowledged receipt of the federal detainer on December 22,
1998. The detainer did not request that Mr. Moody be
transferred to federal custody once his state court
proceedings were completed.
Moody appealed his state convictions and sentences, but the
Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. See Moody v.
State, 888 So.2d 532 (Ala.Crim.App.2003), writ
denied, 888 So.2d 605 (Ala. 2004). After pursuing state
post-conviction remedies, Mr. Moody sought federal habeas
corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The district
court denied Mr. Moody's § 2254 petition, and we
affirmed. See Moody v. Commissioner, 682 Fed.Appx.
802 (11th Cir. 2017).
Moody has been on death row at Holman Correctional Facility
in Atmore, Alabama, for the last 20 years. He has never been
returned to the United States Penitentiary in Marion,
Illinois. In this court, the United States has stated- in
writing and at oral argument-that it has no objection to
Alabama maintaining custody of Mr. Moody for the purpose of
carrying out the death sentence.
Moody argues on appeal that he is entitled to habeas relief
under § 2241 because Alabama's wrongful retention of
him violates the writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum
(through which he was transferred to Alabama for
prosecution), federal law, and his constitutional right to
due process. See Petition at 6-11. He relies on 28
C.F.R § 527.31(c), which provides that a state
requesting transfer of a federal prisoner pursuant to a writ
of habeas corpus ad prosequendum must state in its request
that it "will return the inmate to [federal] custody
promptly on conclusion of the inmate's appearance in the
state or local proceeding for which the writ is issued."
See also 4B U.S. Op. Off. Legal Counsel 719, 728,
1980 WL 20978 (1980) (explaining that "[a] non-IAD
agreement to transfer custody to a state for purposes of
prosecution should include all legally available safeguards
of both the prisoner's and the government's
interests"). He also contends that he is serving his
federal sentences in a designated state facility, and that,
as a result, Alabama cannot execute him until his federal
sentences of life imprisonment are completed. See 18
U.S.C. § 3621(a) ("A person who has been sentenced
to a [federal] term of imprisonment . . . shall be committed
to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons until the expiration
of the term imposed, or until earlier released for
satisfactory behavior pursuant to the provisions of [18
U.S.C. §] 3624.").
review of Mr. Moody's § 2241 claims is de novo.
See, e.g., Williamson v. Fla. Dep't of
Corr., 805 F.3d 1009, 1016 (11th Cir. 2015);
Santiago-Lugo v. Warden, 785 F.3d 467, 471 (11th
Cir. 2015). The same plenary standard of review governs two
questions antecedent to the merits: whether Mr. Moody has
standing, and whether his second claim constitutes an
unauthorized second or successive § 2254 petition.
See CAMP Legal Def. Fund, Inc. v. City of Atlanta,
451 F.3d ...