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Hooser v. United States of America and Warden Waltons

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 14, 2014

TRAMALE J. M. HOOSER, # XXXXX-XXX, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and WARDEN WALTON, Respondents.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner Tramale Hooser, an inmate in the Federal Correctional Institution located in Marion, Illinois, brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner challenges his criminal conviction and enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). He seeks a recalculation and reduction of his sentence (Doc. 1-1, p. 41).

This matter is now before the Court for preliminary review of the habeas petition. Rule 4 of the Federal Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts provides that upon preliminary consideration by the district judge, "[i]f it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge shall make an order for its summary dismissal and cause the petitioner to be notified." Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives this Court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas corpus cases.

I. Background

On September 1, 2004, petitioner was charged by indictment with being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). See United States v. Hooser, Case No. 04-cr-20054 (C.D. Ill. 2004) ("criminal case").[1] Petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge on January 31, 2005 (Doc. 10, criminal case).

A sentencing hearing was held on December 20, 2005. The presentence investigation report ("PSR") indicated that petitioner should be classified as an armed career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), [2] based on his convictions for the following three prior "serious drug offense[s]" or "violent felon[ies]" in Vermilion County, Illinois: (1) mob action in Case No. 94-cf-257; (2) aggravated discharge of a firearm in Case No. 97-cf-593; and (3) possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in Case No. 98-cf-593. According to the PSR, petitioner faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years of imprisonment and a guideline sentencing range of 180 to 210 months as an armed career criminal. At his sentencing hearing, petitioner did not object to the PSR. The sentencing court imposed the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years. A written judgment was entered on December 23, 2005 (Doc. 23, criminal case).

Petitioner did not file a direct appeal from his conviction or sentence.[3] Instead, he filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on November 3, 2006. See Hooser v. United States, Case No. 06-cv-2218 (C.D. Ill. 2006). In the motion, petitioner argued that he should not have been sentenced as an armed career criminal because his mob action conviction was a juvenile adjudication. He also argued that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel, based on his attorney's failure to object to the use of the juvenile adjudication to enhance his sentence. On April 30, 2007, the court denied petitioner's § 2255 motion, after finding that he procedurally defaulted on the claim by failing to raise it on direct appeal and also finding that the mob action conviction was properly used in classifying him as an armed career criminal. Id. (Doc. 4).

More than six years later, petitioner filed a "Rule 60(b)(6) Motion for Relief from Judgment, " once again seeking a recalculation and reduction of his sentence (Doc. 6). In the motion, petitioner raised new claims. He argued that the court erred in sentencing him as an armed career criminal under § 924(e), the violation of § 924(e) was not charged on the indictment, and no information was filed by the U.S. Attorney per 21 U.S.C. § 851. Id. (Doc. 6). This time, petitioner maintained that his conviction for aggravated discharge of a firearm did not qualify as a predicate offense. The court construed petitioner's motion as a second request for relief under § 2255 and denied the motion on October 2, 2013, after determining that the court of appeals did not authorize it (Doc. 6).

In fact, the court of appeals had already denied petitioner's motion for authorization to file a second or successive motion for collateral attack twice before petitioner filed the "Rule 60(b)(6) Motion for Relief from Judgment." See Hooser v. United States, Case No. 13-1476 (7th Cir. 2013) (Docs. 2, 4). Petitioner's initial request was denied on March 4, 2013, and his motion for reconsideration was denied on April 15, 2013. See id. (Docs. 2, 4).

II. Habeas Petition

Petitioner once again seeks to vacate, recalculate, and reduce his sentence (Doc. 1-1, pp. 40-41). Along with the petition, he filed a 43-page memorandum setting forth four arguments in support of this request. First, petitioner claims that he was provided with ineffective assistance of counsel, in violation of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) (Doc. 1-1, pp. 9-15). Second, petitioner claims that counsel pushed for trial and failed to negotiate or present him with a reasonable plea option, in violation of Missouri v. Frye, 566 U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1399 (2012), and Lafler v. Cooper, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1376 (2012) (Doc. 1-1, pp. 16-24). Third, petitioner claims that none of his three prior convictions qualify as predicate offenses under the ACCA, in light of the Supreme Court's recent decisions in Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013), and Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013) (Doc. 1-1, pp. 25-36). Finally, petitioner claims that defense counsel failed to challenge the evidence and witnesses at trial, [4] in violation of Bullcoming v. New Mexico, 564 U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 2705 (2011) (Doc. 1-1, pp. 8, 37-39). Petitioner brings this challenge under the "savings clause" of § 2255(e), which authorizes § 2241 motions where § 2255 is "inadequate or ineffective" to test the legality of petitioner's detention. He specifically claims that he is "actually innocent" under the "new" Supreme Court cases set forth above.

III. Discussion

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).

A federally convicted person may challenge his conviction and sentence by bringing a motion pursuant to § 2255 in the court that sentenced him. Indeed, a § 2255 motion is ordinarily the "exclusive means for a federal prisoner to attack his conviction." Kramer v. Olson, 347 F.3d 214, 217 (7th Cir. 2003). However, the statute generally limits a prisoner to one challenge of his conviction and sentence under § 2255. A prisoner may not file a "second or successive" motion unless a panel of the appropriate court of appeals certifies that such motion contains either: (1) newly discovered evidence "sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have found the movant guilty of the offense;" or (2) "a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was ...


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