United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. HERNDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Howard Baker is currently incarcerated in the Federal
Correctional Institution located in Greenville, Illinois
(“FCI-Greenville”). He filed this habeas corpus
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in order to
challenge the constitutionality of his confinement. (Doc. 1,
p. 1). Relying on the Supreme Court's decision in
Mathis v. United States, __ U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 2243
(2016), Baker asserts that his sentence was wrongfully
enhanced based on his prior Illinois drug conviction(s).
matter is now before the Court for preliminary review of the
§ 2241 Petition. Rule 4 of the Federal Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts provides
that upon preliminary consideration by the district judge,
“[i]f it plainly appears from the face of the petition
and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief in the district court, the judge shall
make an order for its summary dismissal and cause the
petitioner to be notified.” Rule 1(b) of those Rules
gives this Court the authority to apply the rules to other
habeas corpus cases. The § 2241 Petition survives
preliminary review under Rule 4 and Rule 1(b).
2009, Baker was charged with possession with intent to
distribute crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B). United States v.
Baker, No. 09-CR-20055-MPM-DGB-1 (C.D. Ill. 2009)
(“criminal case”). He was found guilty following
a jury trial on November 3, 2009. (Doc. 45, criminal case).
The United States District Court for the Central District of
Illinois sentenced him as a career offender to an enhanced
term of 360 months' imprisonment, based on his prior
state drug conviction(s). (Doc. 49, criminal case). He
appealed, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed
the judgment of the district court on August 23, 2011.
United States v. Baker, 655 F.3d 677 (7th Cir. 2011)
(Doc. 53, criminal case).
August 23, 2012, Baker filed a motion to vacate, set aside,
or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the
Central District of Illinois. Baker v. United
States, No. 12-CV-2221 (C.D. Ill. 2012)
(“collateral attack”). He argued that his trial
counsel was ineffective. Id. The district court
denied the § 2255 motion. Baker v. United
States, 2013 WL 5642096 (C.D. Ill. 2013). Because Baker
made no substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional
right, the district court also denied a certificate of
filed a notice of appeal from the denial of his § 2255
motion. Baker v. United States, App. No. 13-3774
(7th Cir.). The Seventh Circuit construed the notice as an
application for a certificate of appealability and denied the
request on April 10, 2014. Id. (Doc. 4).
filed an application for an order authorizing a second or
successive § 2255 motion. Baker v. United
States, App. No. 16-2422 (7th Cir.). In the application,
Baker requested permission to challenge his sentence under
Johnson v. United States, __ U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 2551
(2015), which held that the residual clause of the Armed
Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) is
unconstitutionally vague. Id. (Doc. 6). The Seventh
Circuit denied the application, after determining that
Baker's sentence was not impacted by Johnson.
Id. His sentence as a career offender was instead
based on two prior felony convictions for unlawful delivery
of a controlled substance. Id.
the Supreme Court's decision in Mathis v. United
States, __ U.S.__, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), Baker filed
another application for an order authorizing a second or
successive § 2255 motion. Baker v. United
States, App. No. 17-2067 (7th Cir.). The Seventh Circuit
explained that Mathis “cannot serve as the
basis for a successive § 2255 petition, because it is a
case of statutory interpretation.” Id. (Doc.
2) (citing Dawkins v. United States, 829 F.3d 549,
551 (7th Cir. 2016)).
the Seventh Circuit denied the application on May 26, 2017.
instant § 2241 Petition, Baker now challenges his
enhanced sentence in light of the Supreme Court's
decision in Mathis v. United States, __ U.S.__, 136
S.Ct. 2243 (2016). He also points to the Fifth Circuit's
decision in United States v. Hinkle, 832 F.3d 569
(5th Cir. 2016), in support of his challenge. (Doc. 1, pp.
1-15). Baker maintains that his Illinois drug conviction(s)
pursuant to 720 ILCS § 570/401 no longer support his
enhanced sentence under Mathis and Hinkle.
Id. Because the Illinois state statute criminalizes
conduct that falls outside of the conduct proscribed by the
Sentencing Guidelines, Baker argues that his drug
conviction(s) cannot be used to support his sentence as a
career offender. Id. (citing Descamps v. United
States, __ U.S.__, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013)).
federally convicted person may ordinarily challenge his
conviction and sentence by bringing a motion pursuant to
§ 2255 in the court that sentenced him. Brown v.
Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing
Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012)). A
§ 2255 motion is ordinarily the “exclusive means
for a federal prisoner to attack his conviction.”
Kramer v. Olson, 347 F.3d 214, 217 (7th Cir. 2003).