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Mitchell v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 14, 2014

RAYDALE MITCHELL, No. 07514-090, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and WARDEN WALTON, Respondents.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner Raydale Mitchell is currently incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution at Marion, Illinois. Mitchell is before the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging his criminal conviction and sentence ( United States v. Mitchell, 11-cr-83-BBC (W.D. Wisc. 2011)). Mitchell's petition for writ of habeas corpus is now before the Court for review under Rules 1(b) and 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts.[1]

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts provides that upon preliminary consideration by the district court judge, "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner."

Background

In 2012, petitioner Raydale Mitchell pleaded guilty to distributing heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. United States v. Mitchell, 11-cr-83-BBC (W.D. Wisc. 2011). He was sentenced to 168 months in prison as a "career offender" (see U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1).

The conviction was affirmed on direct appeal.[2] See United States v. Mitchell, 555 Fed.Appx. 479 (7th Cir. May 21, 2013) (Doc. 66 in the criminal case). The appellate court concluded that at sentencing Mitchell had withdrawn his initial objection to the "career offender" designation and, therefore an argument attacking that status on appeal was waived. Consequently, the appellate court found that Mitchell's arguments regarding the drug quantity (U.S.S.G § 3E1.1) and his role as an "organizer" (U.S.S.G § 3B1.1(c)) were obviated by his status as a "career offender" ( see U.S.S.G § 4B1.1(b)). The reasonableness of the 168-month term of imprisonment was also affirmed by the appellate court, in light of the fact that the sentence fell within the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range. Consequently, the appeal was dismissed.

On June 16, 2014, Mitchell filed the subject petition for writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1). Weeks later, on June 30, 2014, in the sentencing court, Mitchell filed a motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Mitchell v. United States, Case No. 14-cv-473-BBC (W.D. Wisc. June 30, 2014). The Section 2255 motion presents the same arguments that are presented in the Section 2241 petition before this Court (compare Case No. 14-cv-473-BBC, Doc. 1, p. 10 (summary of arguments), and Case No. 14-cv-693-DRH, Doc. 1-1, p 10 (summary of arguments)). The Section 2255 motion is currently being briefed by the parties.

The Section 2241 Petition

Mitchell is before the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective in a variety of respects. More specifically, petitioner perceives error in (1) counsel's overall performance, in violation of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984); (2) counsel's misrepresentation of the possible sentencing outcomes from a trial and a plea, and unreasonable sentencing expectations, in contravention of Missouri v. Frye, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1399 (2012), and Lafler v. Cooper, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1376 (2012); (3) relative to the offenses used to enhance petitioner's sentence, counsel failed to distinguish the elements of the prior convictions to the underlying facts, in violation of Alleyne v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), and Descamps v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013); and (4) counsel's failure to challenge the evidence and witnesses, in violation of Bullcoming v. New Mexico, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 2705 (2011), and Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U.S. 305 (2009).

Petitioner invokes the "savings clause" in Section 2255(e) which permits Section 2241 to be used where Section 2255 is "inadequate or ineffective" to test the legality of the petitioner's detention. He specifically asserts that he is "actually innocent" under the "new" Supreme Court precedents cited above.

Discussion

As a preliminary matter, it is observed that the proper respondent in a Section 2241 petition is the petitioner's jailer, not the United States. Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 442, 447 (2004); Kholyavskiy v. Achim, 443 F.3d 946, 948-49 (7th Cir. 2006). Therefore, the United States must be dismissed as a respondent. The petition may proceed, however, because, reading the form petition and supporting brief as one, Warden Walton is also named as a respondent ( see Doc. 1-1, p.1).

As a general matter, "28 U.S.C. § 2241 and 28 U.S.C. § 2255 provide federal prisoners with distinct forms of collateral relief. Section 2255 applies to challenges to the validity of convictions and sentences, whereas [Section] 2241 applies to challenges to the fact or duration of confinement. Hill v. Werlinger, 695 F.3d 644, 645 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing Walker v. O'Brien, 216 F.3d 626, 629 (7th Cir. 2000). See also Valona v. United States, 138 F.3d 693, 694 (7th Cir. 1998). Petitioner challenges his conviction and sentence, making Section 2255, not Section 2241, appear to be the appropriate avenue for relief.

Federal prisoners may utilize Section 2241, however, to challenge the legality of a conviction or sentence in cases pursuant to the "savings clause" of Section 2255(e), where a remedy under Section 2255 is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of detention. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e); see also United States v. Prevatte, 300 F.3d 792, 798-99 (7th Cir. 2002). "Inadequate or ineffective' means that a legal theory that could not have been presented under [Section] 2255 establishes the petitioner's actual innocence.'" Hill v. Werlinger, 695 F.3d ...


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