United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Herndon United States District Judge.
Reginald Brown, who is currently incarcerated in the Federal
Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois, filed a
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. (Doc. 1). In the Petition, he argues that under
the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Mathis v.
United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), his sentence under
the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) is
unconstitutional. (Doc. 1).
commenting on the merits of Petitioner's claims, the
Court concludes that the Petition survives preliminary review
under Rule 4 and Rule 1(b) of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.
criminal case in this District, United States v.
Brown, Case No. 10-cr-30165-DRH (Jan. 13, 2012),
Petitioner pled guilty, without a plea agreement, to one
offense: Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Previously
Convicted Felon under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1),
924(e). (Doc. 38, criminal case). He was sentenced to a term
of 180 months, to run concurrently with a previously imposed
sentence imposed in Cole County, Missouri in Case No.
09AC-CR03719-01. Id. Petitioner was sentenced as an
armed career criminal, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e),
based on three prior convictions deemed serious drug
offenses: 1) “Sale of a Controlled Substance”; 2)
“Distribution of a Controlled Substance”; and 3)
“Distribution of a Controlled Substance Near Public
Housing (Prior and Persistent Offender).” (Doc. 1, pp.
9, 12). As a result of Petitioner being deemed an armed
career criminal, he received the statutory minimum sentence
of 180 months. (Doc. 38, criminal case).
did not appeal his conviction. He did, however, file a §
2255 petition on December 18, 2015 alleging ineffective
assistance of counsel based on a claim that he does not have
the prerequisite prior convictions to have been sentenced
under the ACCA. (Doc. 1, p. 3). His petition was denied as
untimely. Id. Petitioner has now filed the present
action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, seeking to
overturn his sentence. He argues that pursuant to
Mathis, the statute underlying his prior conviction
for “Sale of a Controlled Substance, ” Mo. Rev.
Stat. § 195.211, is broader than the generic
“serious drug offense” under § 924(e)(2)(A)
and should therefore not count as a prior offense under the
ACCA. (Doc. 1, pp. 9-10).
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.” Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives
this Court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas
a person may challenge his federal conviction only by means
of a motion brought before the sentencing court pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255, and this remedy normally supersedes
the writ of habeas corpus. A § 2241 petition by a
federal prisoner is generally limited to challenges to the
execution of the sentence. Valona v. United States,
138 F.3d 693, 694 (7th Cir. 1998); Atehortua v.
Kindt, 951 F.2d 126, 129 (7th Cir. 1991). Federal
prisoners may utilize § 2241, however, to challenge the
legality of a conviction or sentence in cases under the
“savings clause” of § 2255(e). The savings
clause allows a petitioner to bring a claim under §
2241, where he can show that a remedy under § 2255 is
inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his
detention. Id. See also United States v.
Prevatte, 300 F.3d 792, 798-99 (7th Cir. 2002).
Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that §
2255 is only inadequate or ineffective when three
requirements are satisfied: 1) the petitioner relies on a new
case of statutory interpretation rather than a constitutional
decision; 2) the case was decided after his first § 2255
motion but is retroactive; and 3) the alleged error results
in a miscarriage of justice. See Brown v. Caraway,
719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013); Brown v. Rios,
696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012). “‘Inadequate
or ineffective' means that ‘a legal theory that
could not have been presented under § 2255 establishes
the petitioner's actual innocence.'” Hill
v. Werlinger, 695 F.3d 644, 648 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing
Taylor v. Gilkey, 314 F.3d 832, 835 (7th Cir.
2002)); In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 608 (7th Cir.
instant Petition meets the first requirement as
Mathis is clearly a case of statutory
interpretation. See Dawkins v. United States, 829
F.3d 549, 551 (7th Cir. 2016) (Mathis “is a
case of statutory interpretation”); Jenkins v.
United States, No. 16-3441 (7th Cir. Sept. 20, 2016)
(“Mathis is not amenable to analysis under §
2244(b) because it announced a substantive rule, not a
Petition also meets the second requirement. As noted above,
the Seventh Circuit has indicated that Mathis is a
substantive rule. Jenkins v. United States, No.
16-3441 (7th Cir. Sept. 20, 2016). Controlling precedent
indicates that substantive Supreme Court rules are applied
retroactively. See Narvaez v. United States, 674
F.3d 621, 625 (7th Cir. 2011); Montana v. Cross, 829
F.3d 775, 783 (7th Cir. 2016).
Court, however, cannot ascertain whether the third
requirement is met. In Mathis, the Supreme Court
held that Iowa's burglary statute did not qualify as a
predicate violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”) because it was broader than the
“generic” offense of burglary in §
924(e)(2)(B)(ii). Thus, Mathis focused on what
constitutes a prior violent felony under the ACCA. Petitioner
was sentenced under the ACCA due to his prior “serious
drug offenses.” Further, the “Sale of a
Controlled Substance” offense Petitioner specifically
cites to seems to parallel the definition of a “serious
drug offense” under the ACCA.” Compare
(Doc. 1, p. 9) with § 924(e)(2)(A)(ii).
the above, the Court is inclined to find that Mathis
does not invalidate any of Petitioner's predicate serious
drug offenses. If Mathis does not invalidate
Petitioner's predicate serious drug offenses, there is no
grave error constituting a miscarriage of justice and the
Petition must be dismissed. However, at this stage in the
litigation, the Court finds it prudent to allow
Petitioner's claim to proceed. That is, during its
initial review, the Court declines to find ...