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Santiago v. Walton

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 2, 2013

ARIS SANTIAGO, Petitioner,
v.
J.S. WALTON, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

David R. HERNDON, Chief Judge

Aris Santiago filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1). According to the petition, he pled guilty to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm in the Northern District of Illinois in October, 2006. He was sentenced to 96 months imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years supervised release. He now raises the following issues:

1. The sentence of 96 months was unreasonable because it is longer than necessary and “draconian.”
2. Under Blakely v. Washington, 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004), sentencing enhancements not found by a jury or admitted by the defendant are unconstitutional.
3. His conviction violates his Second Amendment right to possess a firearm.
4. The sentencing court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to increase his sentence based on facts other than a prior conviction where those facts were not charged in the indictment, admitted by petitioner or found by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

I. Relevant Facts

Mr. Santiago entered his guilty plea on October 17, 2006, and was sentenced on January 26, 2007 (Doc. 1). He appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Seventh Circuit summarized the facts regarding sentencing as follows:

Santiago's presentence report recommended that his base offense level be enhanced four levels because he used the firearm in the commission of another felony, an attempted home invasion. See U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(6). The government anticipated introducing at sentencing a tape-recorded conversation between Santiago and another individual planning the break-in. At the hearing, however, Santiago conceded that the enhancement should apply. The district court therefore applied it without listening to the tape and calculated a guidelines range of 84 to 105 months' imprisonment.
The court then invited argument on the sentencing factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). The government argued that Santiago should receive a sentence at the high end of the guidelines range because, in the government's view, he was a high-ranking gang member and a danger to the community. The district court permitted the government, with no objection from Santiago, *738 to introduce the tape to prove his gang affiliation because, according to the PSR, he denied it. Santiago in turn asked the court to consider that he might be required to serve additional time if his state parole is revoked. The judge thought that was unlikely. The court added that it surmised, although did not think it “necessary to pin down, ” that Illinois might credit Santiago's federal imprisonment to a future sentence. The court ultimately chose a sentence in the middle of the guidelines range, 96 months, because of Santiago's youth, family life, and his apparent desire to reform.

U.S. v. Santiago, 250 Fed.Appx. 736, 737-738 (7th Cir. 2007).

On direct appeal, his appointed counsel filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), and moved for leave to withdraw. Counsel’s “facially adequate” brief identified the following potential issues:

1. Whether 18 U.S.C. § 928(g)(1) is unconstitutional because it does not require the government to prove that defendant’s possession of a firearm substantially affected interstate commerce; 2. Whether the trial court violated United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), by enhancing ...

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