United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ORDER ON JOHNSON-BASED PETITION TO VACATE OR CORRECT
SENTENCE UNDER 28 U.S.C. 2255
Michael J. Reagan Chief Judge.
Introduction and Procedural History
years ago in Case No. 96-CR-40027-WLB, a jury convicted
Anthony Dawon Taylor of three charges - conspiracy to
distribute and possess with intent to distribute crack
cocaine (Count 1), and distribution of crack cocaine (Counts
2 and 3), in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and 846. The
late Judge William L. Beatty sentenced Taylor in November
1996. Judge Beatty determined that Taylor was a career
offender within the meaning of § 4B1.1 of the United
States Sentencing Guidelines. Judge Beatty sentenced Taylor
to a total of 360 months in prison, followed by 5 years of
supervised release. (The term of imprisonment was comprised
of 360 months on Count 1, running concurrently with 240
months on each of Counts 2 and 3.) Judgment was entered on
November 13, 1996.
filed a direct appeal. In June 1997, the United States Court
of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed Taylor's
conviction and sentence. United States v. Taylor,
116 F.3d 269 (7th Cir. 1997).
1998, Taylor filed a petition to vacate, set aside, or
correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255 (Case No.
98-cv-4207-WLB). Judge Beatty denied the petition but granted
a certificate of appealability on particular claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel (id., Doc. 26). In
June 2002, the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of
Taylor's § 2255 petition. Taylor v. United
States, 287 F.3d 658 (7th Cir. 2002).
January 2015, Taylor filed in his closed criminal case in
this Court a pro se motion to reduce his sentence
under Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing
Guidelines, via 18 U.S.C. 3582. Supplemental briefs raised
the June 26, 2016 United States Supreme Court decision in
Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct.
2551 (2015). On August 26, 2015, the undersigned denied
Taylor's motion to reduce sentence after concluding that
Taylor was not entitled to a reduction under Amendment 782.
Order mentioned that the record then before the
Court indicated that, even assuming that the holding of
Johnson extended to the residual clause of U.S.S.G.
4B1.2, Johnson furnished no basis for a sentence
reduction for Taylor, due to the nature of his prior
Taylor's counsel received a document which potentially
called into question the nature of one of Taylor's prior
convictions, i.e., whether the aggravated battery conviction
fell under the elements clause of U.S.S.G. 4B1.2(a)(1), he
sought reconsideration/clarification. On August 28, 2015, the
undersigned clarified that the August 26th Order
denying Amendment 782 relief (and commenting on
Johnson-based arguments for sentence relief) did not
preclude Taylor filing a Johnson-based § 2255
petition, if he secured approval from the Court of Appeals to
September 18, 2015, Taylor obtained authorization to file a
second § 2255 petition. Although finding that Taylor had
identified a tenable claim under
Johnson, the Court of Appeals
pointed out (Doc. 73 in Case No. 96-cr-40027-MJR):
Taylor asserts … that one of his predicate felonies
was for aggravated battery in Illinois, which is not
necessarily a crime of violence in the wake of
Johnson…. Taylor has made a prima facie
showing that he may be entitled to relief, so we GRANT his
We caution the district court that our review is necessarily
preliminary…. Multiple issues remain open in the
district court: Whether (and if so how) Johnson
applies to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2) (the residual clause
of the career-offender guideline); whether Taylor's
battery conviction qualifies under U.S.S.G. §
4B1.2(a)(1); and finally whether Taylor's other
convictions suffice for career-offender treatment.
October 2, 2015, Taylor filed a pro se combined § 2255
petition and supporting brief herein seeking a corrected
sentence based on Johnson. Specifically, Taylor
presented two arguments (Case No. 15-1087-MJR, Doc. 1, p. 3,
(1) his “aggravated battery conviction does not have
… an element of violent force, ” so it cannot
count as a crime of violence, and
(2) his burglary conviction “cannot stand as a
predicate offense for § 4B1.1 purposes because it does
not meet the criteria for federal burglary.”
threshold review, the undersigned found Taylor's pro se
§ 2255 petition not subject to immediate dismissal and,
in accord with Administrative Order 176, appointed the
Federal Public Defender's Office for the Southern
District of Illinois to assist Taylor. Assistant Federal
Public Defender Cronin entered his appearance and, in January
2016, filed an amended § 2255 petition plus a detailed
supporting brief and exhibits. The amended petition focuses
on the argument flagged by the Seventh Circuit - whether
Taylor's Illinois aggravated battery conviction qualifies
as a predicate offense for career offender purposes. Mr.
Cronin acknowledged that to succeed, this argument required
the Seventh Circuit to overrule precedent and allow
retroactive challenges to Guidelines-based sentences (Doc. 6,
February 2016, the United States (“the
Government”) responded with a lengthy memorandum and
additional exhibits. Mr. Cronin filed a reply and a
supplement in March and April 2016, respectively. The parties
have thoroughly addressed the issues. For the reasons stated
below, the Court dismisses Taylor's petition to vacate,
set aside, or correct sentence (Doc. 1), as amended and
supplemented (Docs. 6-7).
Applicable Legal Standards
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)
imposes a one-year period of limitations for prisoners to
file petitions seeking to modify or vacate their sentences
under 28 U.S.C. 2255. 28 U.S.C. 2255(f); Purvis v. United
States, 662 F.3d 939, 942 (7th Cir. 2011).
Accord Clay v. United States, 537 U.S. 522, 524
(2003) (“A motion by a federal prisoner … under
28 U.S.C. § 2255 is subject to a one-year time
limitation that generally runs from ‘the date on which
the judgment of conviction becomes final.'“).
The one-year limitation period is triggered by the latest of
(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion
created by governmental action in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the
movant was prevented from making a motion by such
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially
recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly
recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively
applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or
claims presented could have been discovered through the
exercise of due diligence.
28 U.S.C. 2255(f). The statute does not
provide for extensions of time.
filed his pro se petition within the one-year period set
forth in § 2255(f)(3), based on the Supreme Court's
June 26, 2015 decision in Johnson, a decision that
has been made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral
review. Welch, 136 S.Ct. at 1265 (7th
Cir. 2016) (“Johnson is … a substantive
decision and so has retroactive effect … in cases on
collateral review.”); Price v. United States,
795 F.3d 731, 734 (7th Cir. 2015)
(Johnson announced a new substantive rule which
applies retroactively on collateral review). This kiboshes
the Government's second argument (Doc. 9, pp. 8-15), an
argument presented before Welch was decided. The
Court treats Taylor's petition as timely-filed.
under Rule 8(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2255
Proceedings, this Court must determine whether to set an
evidentiary hearing. Not every petition warrants a hearing.
Boulb v. United States, 818 F.3d 334, 339
(7th Cir. 2016). See also Martin v. United
States, 789 F.3d 703, 706 (7th Cir. 2015);
Kafo v. United States, 467 F.3d 1063, 1067
(7th Cir. 2006). The record before this Court
conclusively reveals that Taylor is not entitled to relief,
so no hearing is needed.
starts with the proposition that relief under § 2255 is
limited. It is “available only in extraordinary
situations, ” requiring an error of constitutional or
jurisdictional magnitude or a fundamental defect that
resulted in a complete miscarriage of justice. Blake v.
United States, 723 F.3d 870, 878-79 (7th Cir.
2013). Accord United States v. Coleman, 763 F.3d
706, 708 (7th Cir. 2014).
declared unconstitutional part of a federal statute
-- the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act
(ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). But Taylor was not
sentenced under the ACCA, he was sentenced under the advisory
Sentencing Guidelines. Johnson did not address the
residual clause found in several provisions ...