United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge
Anthony Renth, who is currently incarcerated in the Federal
Correctional Institution in Marion, 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 enhanced
career-offender sentence 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.
Petition In his criminal case in the Southern District
of Illinois, United States v. Renth, Case No.
13-cr-40024-JPG (S.D. Ill. Feb. 20, 2014), petitioner was
found guilty of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. (Doc. 1, p. 11). He was
sentenced to 204 months imprisonment. Id. The
career-offender enhancement was imposed pursuant to the
United States Sentencing Guidelines (“USSG”) at
§ 4B1.1, based on prior convictions for manufacture of
methamphetamine and participation in methamphetamine
manufacturing. (Doc. 1, p. 11). As a result of the
career-offender determination, Petitioner's criminal
history category was determined to be VI. (Doc. 1, p. 17).
The Court is not aware of any § 2255 petitions
previously brought by Petitioner.
now argues that pursuant to Mathis, he should be
resentenced without enhancement because only one of his
underlying convictions constitutes a controlled substance
offense under the reasoning in Mathis, as the
elements of petitioner's underlying participation in
methamphetamine manufacturing offense criminalizes a greater
swath of conduct than the elements of the guidelines offense.
(Doc. 1, pp. 11-15).
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
should bear in mind the following cautionary note.
“Federal prisoners who seek to bring collateral attacks
on their conviction or sentences must ordinarily bring an
action under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, ‘the federal
prisoner's substitute for habeas corpus.'”
Brown v. Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013)
(quoting Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir.
2012)). 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
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
the petition meets the second requirement is not entirely
clear. 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).
However, it is possible that petitioner may be able to raise
the claims brought in this action in “his first §
2255 motion, ” since he does not appear to have filed
one previously. See Holt v. United States, 843 F.3d
720, 722 (7th Cir 2016) (government conceded petitioner
citing Mathis “would prevail in an initial
collateral attack” while arguing he was not entitled to
relief in second § 2255 proceeding). The 1-year
period of limitation that applies to motions under §
2255 resets on “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.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3). Petitioner is
still within one year of June 23, 2016, the date
Mathis was entered, so he is not yet foreclosed from
attempting to bring an action citing Mathis under
§ 2255. Therefore, Petitioner may ultimately fail at
showing his remedy under § 2255 is inadequate. Notably,
however, the Seventh Circuit has suggested cases seeking to
invoke Mathis fall under the savings clause and
belong in actions under § 2241. Dawkins v. United
States, 829 F.3d 549, 551 (7th Cir. 2016) (“An
independent claim based on Mathis must be brought,
if at all, in a petition under 28 U.S.C. §
2241.”). All that being said, the Petition pending
before this Court was filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241, and cannot be re-characterized as a § 2255 motion.
In Collins v. Holinka, 510 F.3d 666, 667 (7th Cir.
2007), the Seventh Circuit held that “judges must
respect the plaintiff's choice of statute to invoke -
whether § 2241, § 2255, or 42 U.S.C. § 1983 -
and give the action the treatment appropriate under that
law.” The Court also cannot ascertain whether the third
requirement for invoking the savings clause 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. Notably,
“[t]he Supreme Court's decision in Mathis
dealt with the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), not the
federal sentencing Guidelines.” United States v.
Hinkle, 832 F.3d 569, 574 (5th Cir. 2016). However,
Mathis is likely also applicable to the career
offender guidelines, in that the “decision in
Mathis clarified when and how the modified
categorical approach is applied in the context of federal
sentencing, ” and did not necessarily limit itself to
cases involving the ACCA. Id.
argues that Mathis applies to his case and enables
this Court to review the determination that his participation
in methamphetamine manufacturing conviction could act as a
predicate for the career offender enhancement. He argues that
the statute underlying this offense, 720 ILCS 646/15, is
broader than the “controlled substance offense”
definition under § 4B1.2 of the Guidelines. (Doc. 1, p.
Court is without sufficient information to determine whether
there is grave error constituting a miscarriage of justice
that stems from petitioner's sentencing as a career
offender, or, more generally, whether a § 2255 motion is
inadequate or ineffective. However, at this stage in the
litigation, and because Mathis has broken ground in
an area with little precedent, the Court finds it prudent to
allow petitioner's claim to proceed. That is, during its
initial review, the Court declines to find that
Petitioner's Mathis claim is without merit.
Therefore, the Court ORDERS respondent True of Marion USP to
file a response to the petition.
HEREBY ORDERED that Respondent TRUE shall answer the petition
or otherwise plead within thirty (30) days of the date this
Order is entered. This preliminary Order to respond does not,
of course, preclude the government from raising any objection
or defense it may wish to present. Service upon the United
States Attorney for the Southern District ...