Man can’t appeal piracy conviction

March 4, 2016

A man who pleaded guilty to piracy for his role in boarding a ship off the coast of Somalia in 2009 was denied a writ of habeas corpus because he waived that right when he pleaded to his crime.

Abdulwali Abdukhadir Muse pleaded guilty to piracy among other charges after boarding the MV Maersk Alabama off the coast of Somalia. He told federal agents he was 16 at the time of capture, but later told an FBI agent he was between 18 and 19. A judge in the Southern District of New York found he was 18 at the time of the crime, and he was prosecuted as an adult, which led to his plea agreement.

In his agreement, there was a clause promising he would not seek to withdraw his guilty plea or file a direct appeal or any kind of collateral attack challenging his guilty plea or conviction based on his age either at the time of the charged conduct or at the time of the guilty plea.

He filed anyway, saying a magistrate judge lacked authority to decide whether he was an adult and his sentence should be set aside. The motion was denied by the New York court because of the waiver.

He then filed a writ of habeas corpus in the Southern District of Indiana, where he currently resides in the federal prison in Terre Haute, and was denied under USC Section 2255e. It says in part that a prisoner cannot apply for relief in a court he was not sentenced in unless the remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention. Muse had not identified a deficiency, and was denied. He appealed.

The 7th Circuit also denied his motion, but said it’s not because of Section 2255e, but the waiver he agreed to in his plea agreement.

The case is Aduwali Abdukhadir Muse v. Charles A. Daniels, Warden, FCI Terre Haute, 15-2646.


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