United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. Guzmán United States District Judge.
the Court is Arthur Robinson's successive motion to have
his sentence vacated, set aside or corrected pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons set forth below, the
motion [1, 12] is denied. The Court declines to issue a
certificate of appealability. Civil case terminated.
November 27, 2001, a grand jury returned a four-count
indictment against Robinson and co-defendant Jermaine Weeden
for knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to
distribute quantities of mixtures containing cocaine base
(“crack”) in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(a)(1). (United States v. Robinson, 01 CR 907
(N.D. Ill.), Indictment, Dkt. # 7.) In total, the four-count
indictment alleges that Robinson possessed 52.89 grams of
April 18, 2002, Robinson entered into a plea agreement with
the government in which he pleaded guilty solely to count
four, which charged him with possessing with intent to
distribute approximately 10.8 grams of crack. (Id.,
Plea Agreement, Dkt. # 19 at 2-4.) Though Robinson did not
plead guilty to the three other counts, he admitted the facts
establishing his guilt of those charges as relevant conduct
for the purpose of computing his sentence under the
Sentencing Guidelines. (Id. at 4.)
with the evidence and his admissions in the plea agreement,
Robinson and the government agreed to a base offense level
(“BOL”) of 32 because the total amount of crack
for which he was responsible was greater than 50 but less
than 150 grams. (Id. at 7.) The parties also agreed
to adjust the BOL based on a variety of factors, including
Robinson's status as a career offender. (Id. at
7-10.) Ultimately, his adjusted base offense level
(“ABOL”) was determined to be 34 and his criminal
history category was set at IV. (Id. at 7-8, 10.) On
October 21, 2002, Robinson was sentenced by this Court to a
term of imprisonment of 262 months, a term of supervised
release of five years and a statutory assessment of $100.00.
(Id., 10/21/02 Sentencing Order, Dkt. # 24.)
did not appeal his conviction or sentence as his plea
agreement contained an appellate waiver, but he did file a
motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C, §
2255, contending that his counsel was ineffective. This Court
denied the motion, see U.S. v. Robinson, No. 03 C
8696, 2005 WL 1126554 (N.D. Ill. May 4, 2005), and his appeal
was dismissed by the Seventh Circuit for lack of
jurisdiction. See U.S. v. Robinson, 03 C 8696 (N.D.
Ill.), Dkt. ## 37, 57, 58.)
April 18, 2016, Robinson filed another § 2255 motion
seeking relief under Johnson v. United States, 135
S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which declared the residual clause of the
definition of a crime of violence under the Armed Career
Criminal Act (“ACCA”) unconstitutionally vague.
This Court transferred Robinson's motion to the Seventh
Circuit for a determination of whether he was authorized to
proceed with a successive § 2255 motion. (U.S. v.
Robinson, 16 C 4421, Dkt. # 3.) On May 17, 2016, the
Seventh Circuit authorized this Court to hear his successive
motion. (Id., Dkt. # 10.) Subsequently, Robinson
moved to stay consideration of his motion pending the Supreme
Court's decision in Beckles v. United States,
No. 15-8544, 616 Fed. App'x. 415 (11th Cir. 2015), cert.
granted, 2016 WL 1029080, which this Court granted. After the
Supreme Court's decision in Beckles v. United
States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (Mar. 6, 2017), the Court directed
the parties to file updated briefs on Robinson's
successive § 2255 motion. (U.S. v. Robinson, 16
C 4421, Dkt. # 21.) The parties have done so and the motion
is ripe for decision.
does not actually appear to be raising a claim under
Johnson, but to the extent that he is,
Johnson provides no relief. As an initial matter,
Johnson applies to the residual clause of the
definition of a crime of violence under ACCA, not the career
offender Sentencing Guideline provision, § 4B1.1,
pursuant to which Robinson's sentence was enhanced. The
Supreme Court recently concluded in Beckles that
Johnson's vagueness rationale did not apply to
the Guidelines. Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct.
886, 894 (Mar. 6, 2017). It is true that in a concurring
opinion, Justice Sotomayor noted that it is an open question
whether “defendants [like Robinson] sentenced to terms
of imprisonment before our decision in United States v.
Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 125 S.Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed.2d 621
(2005) . . . may mount vagueness attacks on their
sentences.” Beckles, 137 S.Ct. at 902 n.4.
Regardless, Robinson was not sentenced as a career offender
for prior convictions of crimes of violence, which
Johnson addressed, but rather for prior convictions
of controlled substance offenses. Therefore, Johnson
does not call into question Robinson's sentence.
claims raised by Robinson that are not based on or affected
by Johnson are time-barred. See Stanley v.
United States, 827 F.3d 562, 565 (7th Cir. 2016).
Moreover, even if timely, to the extent Robinson seeks relief
under Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243
(2016), such a challenge must be brought in a petition under
28 U.S.C. § 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. . . . [which] would
need to be filed in the district where the petitioner is in
to Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing § 2255 Proceedings
For the United States District Courts, the Court declines to
issue a certificate of appealability. A certificate may issue
only if a petitioner has made a substantial showing of the
denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2). A petitioner must show that “reasonable
jurists could debate whether (or, for that matter, agree
that) the petition should have been resolved in a different
manner or that the issues presented were adequate to deserve
encouragement to proceed further.” Peterson v.