United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
Jones ("Jones") is among the myriad federal
prisoners across the country who are seeking to invalidate
their sentences as Armed Career Criminals by filing motions
under 28 U.S.C. 2255 that seek to call to their aid the
retroactively applied decision in Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). Although Jones'
conviction and sentencing took place many years ago, his
Section 2255 effort is within the one-year limitations period
prescribed by Section 2255(f)(3) because that period runs
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.
is fortunate to have the able assistance of William Theis, a
highly qualified and experienced member of the panel of this
District Court's excellent Federal Defender Program,
his Federal Defender Program colleague W. Todd Watson to
advance Jones' position.
Jones out of the Armed Career Criminal category so that he is
no longer subject to the mandatory minimum 15-year sentence
prescribed by the Act, his counsel has the task of taking one
of the three required predicate offenses for that purpose --
in this instance, his Illinois conviction on an armed robbery
charge -- out of the running for federal purposes. In that
respect Section 924(e)(2)(B) defines what constitutes a
"violent felony" that can qualify for purposes of
Section 924(e)(1)'s sentencing enhancement provision.
That definition reads in relevant part:
in this subsection --
* * *
term "violent felony" means any crime punishable by
imprisonment for a term exceeding one year . . . that --
(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened
use of physical force against the person of another .....
that score the Illinois robbery statute (720 ILCS 5/18-1(a))
A person commits robbery when he or she takes property . . .
from the person or presence of another by the use of force or
by threatening the imminent use of force.
bit over a quarter century ago our Court of Appeals dealt
with the then-existing identical definition of robbery under
Illinois law (then codified at Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 38, §
18-1(a)) in United States v. Dickerson, 901 F.2d
579, 584 (7th Cir. 1990), holding that Illinois robbery is
indeed a crime of violence for purposes of Section
924(e)(2)(B). So Jones' counsel have forthrightly
acknowledged in their November 21 Reply on his behalf that
they must establish that Johnson has overturned that
that regard counsel face the analytical problem that the
Supreme Court's Johnson holding focused on the
"residual clause" of the Act's Section
924(e)(2)(B)(ii) as unconstitutionally vague. But in doing so
Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2563 concluded by stating
expressly (emphasis added):
decision does not call into question application of the
Act to the four enumerated offenses, or the remainder of