United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
LARRY L. HORTON, Petitioner,
T.G. WERLICH, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon United States District Judge.
currently incarcerated in FCI Greenville, brings this habeas
corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to challenge
his enhanced sentence as a career offender under USSG §
4B1.1 based on a prior drug conviction. (Doc. 1, p. 1).
was sentenced to 300 months' imprisonment on December 12,
2005 after pleading guilty to intentionally possessing
cocaine base with intent to distribute. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4).
Previously, petitioner filed a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255; the motion was denied on September 20, 2006.
Horton v. United States of America, 3:06-cv-388-jcs
(W.D. Wis. September 20, 2006). Petitioner now argues that
his conviction is improper pursuant to Mathis v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). (Doc. 1, p. 4).
of the Rules Governing § 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
argues that he should not have received an enhanced sentence
under the career offender sentencing guideline and that the
use of a prior conviction for marijuana possession for such
purposes was improper. (Doc. 1, p. 1, 10-11).
Petitioner's sentence was enhanced based on a prior
conviction of possession with intent to deliver marijuana in
violation of Wisconsin state law. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Petitioner
argues that the Wisconsin statute is broader than the
relevant guideline provision and thus, violates Mathis v.
United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (U.S. 2016). (Doc. 1, p.
a prisoner may challenge his federal conviction or sentence
only by means of a § 2255 motion brought before the
sentencing court, and this remedy typically supersedes the
writ of habeas corpus. Brown v. Caraway, 719 F.3d
583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Brown v. Rios, 696
F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012)). A writ of habeas corpus under
§ 2255 requires the petitioner to file his challenge in
the district that imposed the criminal sentence on him. See
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). In this case, petitioner is clearly
attacking his sentence. However, he has already filed a
motion pursuant to § 2255, and that remedy is no longer
available to him without leave of the appellate court.
“savings clause” under § 2255(e) allows a
federal prisoner to file a petition under § 2241, if the
remedy provided by § 2255 is “inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” See
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). In considering what it means to be
“inadequate or ineffective, ” the Seventh Circuit
has held that a federal prisoner should be permitted to seek
relief under § 2241 “only if he had no reasonable
opportunity to obtain earlier judicial correction of a
fundamental defect in his conviction or sentence because the
law changed after his first 2255 motion.” In re
Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 611 (7th Cir. 1998). A federal
prisoner must meet 3 criteria in order to invoke the Savings
Clause and obtain collateral relief pursuant to § 2241.
First, a prisoner “must show that he relies on a [new]
statutory-interpretation case rather than a constitutional
case;” second, he “must show that he relies on a
retroactive decision that he could not have invoked in his
first § 2255 motion;” and third, “[the]
sentence enhancement [must] have been a grave enough error to
be deemed a miscarriage of justice corrigible therefore in a
habeas corpus proceeding.” Brown v. Caraway,
719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
attempt to trigger application of the savings clause,
petitioner relies on: Mathis v. United States, 136
S.Ct. 2243 (U.S. 2016). Mathis addresses the
“enumerated clause” of the Armed Career Criminal
Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e);
specifically it addresses what test a court should apply when
determining whether a state conviction falls within the
enumerated crimes clause.
has met the first two requirements to bring a § 2241
case. Mathis is a case of statutory interpretation.
Dawkins v. United States, 829 F.3d 549, 551 (7th
Cir. 2016) (Because Mathis “is a case of
statutory interpretation, ” claims based on
Mathis “must be brought, if at all, in a
petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.”); 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. The Seventh
Circuit has indicated that Mathis is a substantive
rule. Dawkins, 829 F.3d at 551 (7th Cir. 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).
has also plausibly stated that his sentence enhancement may
be a miscarriage of justice. In Mathis, the Supreme
Court discussed the correct approach to applying the
enumerated clause in the ACCA. 136 S.Ct. 2243 (U.S. 2016). A
prior crime qualifies as a predicate offense only if its
elements are the same as, or narrower than, those of the
generic offenses listed in the statute. Id. at 2247.
When a statute is indivisible, a court can determine whether
the crime counts as an ACCA predicate by lining up the
crime's elements alongside those of the generic offense
to see if the elements match. Id. at 2248. In the
case of a divisible statute, where the statute lists elements
in the alternative, a court employs a “modified
categorical approach” by which the court may examine a
limited class of documents to determine what crime, with what
elements, the defendant was convicted of. Id. at
2249. Mathis stands for the proposition that when a
statute enumerates various facts that meet an element of the
crime, a court must still apply the categorical approach,
without reference to the facts of the specific case.
Id. at 2251. That is, if the statute is indivisible,
but specifies that certain alternative facts may satisfy an
element, a court cannot look to the facts of the case to
determine whether the conduct involved satisfied the generic
version of the crime if the state statute involved is broader
than the generic version. Id.
Sentencing Guidelines, like the ACCA, also refer to specific
crimes as grounds for sentencing enhancements. Some of the
language of the Sentencing Guidelines tracks the ACCA quite
closely. Although Mathis specifically addressed
burglary with reference to the language in the “crime
of violence” section, other courts have applied the
Mathis rationale to other aspects of the sentencing
guidelines. See United States v. Hinkle, 832 F.3d
569 (5th Cir. 2016) (applying Mathis and concluding
petitioner's conviction for delivery of a controlled
substance was not a “controlled substance
offense” within the meaning of the Guidelines). Here
petitioner has argued that he was convicted under a state
possession statute, and when the Mathis analysis is
applied to that statute, it will be found to be ...