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Hall v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 10, 2017

DARNELL HALL, 06583-025, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES, Respondent.

          ORDER ON SECTION 2255 PETITION

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN United States District Judge.

         A. Introduction

         1. Procedural Overview

         On, June 17 2004, Petitioner Darnell Hall pled guilty to a single count indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (S.D. Ill., CM/ECF, Case No. 03-cr-30133-MJR, Docs. 1, 16). On January 28, 2005, Hall was sentenced to 70 months of incarceration, to run consecutive to a term of imprisonment he was already serving under the control of the State of Missouri (Dkt. entry 26, Doc. 30). Hall did not pursue a direct appeal, so his conviction became final in February 2005. Years passed with no legal action until Hall filed a habeas corpus petition before this Court on January 28, 2014 (Doc. 1)[1].

         This Court conducted an initial threshold screening of the petition and directed the Government to respond (Dkt. entry no. 2). The Government filed a timely response by March 6, 2014, arguing for denial of Hall's petition on procedural and substantive grounds (Doc. 4). A number of intervening supplements, replies, and responses, protracted the lifespan of this § 2255 petition-events which will be explained in greater detail below. At present, the case is before the Court for a decision as to whether the petition should proceed for an evidentiary hearing or other relief, or whether denial is appropriate. For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that it is appropriate to deny the petition.

         2. Factual Overview

         Petitioner Hall pled guilty to a grand jury indictment, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (S.D. Ill., CM/ECF, Case No. 03-30133, Docs. 1, 16). On January 28, 2005, Hall was sentenced to 70 months of incarceration, to run consecutive to a Missouri state sentence (Id. at Dkt. entry 26, Doc. 30). Hall did not appeal his conviction and this is his first post-conviction proceeding.

         In the present petition, Hall primarily argued that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge his prosecution for want of jurisdiction, that said error resulted in the district court never having proper jurisdiction over him, and that his trial counsel was ineffective for declining to file an appeal despite his wishes (Doc. 1). Hall's initial petition was filed on January 28, 2014, and was styled as a habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Id.).

         The Government responded to his initial petition, arguing that it should be denied on at least two grounds (Doc. 4). First, the Government sought denial because the Petition was untimely, as it was filed more than eight years after the one-year statute of limitations ran for filing a § 2255 petition (Id. at 4-5). Second, on the merits, the Government argued that Hall's trial counsel was not ineffective, and that the trial court's jurisdiction was valid with or without a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum (Id. at 6-7). The Government attached an application for writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum, a writ, and an order granting that writ, to its response, which purported to be the writ in the underlying criminal case (See Doc. 4-1). Thus, the Government argued that Hall's petition should be time-barred, or denied on the merits (Id. at 8-9).

         In December of 2014 and August of 2015, Petitioner Hall twice moved to supplement his original § 2255 petition, arguing that his conviction and sentence was constitutionally infirm based on developments in Supreme Court precedent concerning armed career criminal sentences (Docs. 9, 10). Hall argued that his sentence could not stand in light of the Supreme Court's holding that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) was unconstitutionally vague (Doc. 10). Moreover, Hall argued that the Supreme Court's vagueness decision extended to provisions of the Sentencing Guidelines, including §§ 2K2.1 and 4B1.1 (Id.). Thus, Hall argued that his sentence should be vacated and set aside (Id.).

         The Court granted Hall's request to supplement his petition, which Hall did in September of 2015 (Doc. 15). In the allowed supplement, Hall reiterated the points he raised in his motion to supplement, arguing that his conviction and sentence could not stand in light of recent Supreme Court rulings (Id.).

         The Court subsequently appointed counsel to Petitioner Hall pursuant to the District's Administrative Order 176, which provided counsel for issues related to Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) (holding that the residual clause of the ACCA was unconstitutionally vague) (Dkt. entry 17).

         The Government responded to Hall's supplement, arguing that he was still time-barred from filing a § 2255 petition, or, alternatively, that he did not qualify for relief under recent Supreme Court precedent (Doc. 19). Specifically, the Government argued that Petitioner Hall's sentence was not pronounced under the ACCA, or portions of the Sentencing Guidelines that were found to be unconstitutional (Id.). Additionally, the Government argued that Hall procedurally defaulted his arguments, that he did not claim actual innocence, and that he could not establish cause and actual prejudice, among other things (Id.).

         In December of 2015, counsel appointed for Petitioner Hall filed a brief on his behalf, indicating that he did not qualify for any relief under recent Supreme Court precedent (Doc. 22). Of note, counsel averred that Hall had multiple prior convictions that could hypothetically qualify him for the sentence he received and that those particular convictions were not impacted by the Supreme Court's decisions because the convictions qualified as sentence enhancement predicates for reasons other than those found to be constitutionally infirm (Id.).

         Satisfied with appointed counsel's representations, the Court discharged counsel in December of 2015, and provided Petitioner Hall with another opportunity to file a reply to the Government's latest response on his own behalf (Dkt. entry 23).

         Petitioner Hall replied by refocusing his efforts primarily on his original ineffective assistance of counsel and jurisdictional arguments (Doc. 24). Additionally, he sought different appointed counsel because the appointed counsel who handled the Johnson issue was the same as his original trial counsel (Id.). The Court denied that request, deferring the appointment of any future ...


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