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Kennedy v. Warden

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 21, 2017

JUSTIN WESLEY KENNEDY, Petitioner,
v.
Warden, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          David R. Herndon, Judge.

         Petitioner Justin Wesley Kennedy (Petitioner), filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging the enhancement of his sentence as a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. (Doc. 1).[1] He purports to rely on Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). Now before the Court is Respondent's Motion to Dismiss Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 8). Respondent argues the petition must be dismissed because petitioner waived his right to file a collateral attack. Petitioner opposes the motion at Doc. 11.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         In 2010, Petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Manufacture a Substance Containing a Detectable Amount of Methamphetamine in the Eastern District of Missouri. United States v. Kennedy, No. 1:09-cr-170-CEJ.

         The District Court applied the career-offender enhancement pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (“USSG”) at § 4B1.1, based on Petitioner's prior convictions for attempted manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of ephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). Consequently, Petitioner's offense level increased from 23 to 29 and his guideline range increased from 91-115 months to 151-188 months incarceration. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 5-6). He ultimately received a sentence of 151 months, three years of supervised release, and a mandatory special assessment of $100. (Doc. 1-1, p. 7).

         Petitioner entered into a plea agreement with the Government in relation to his guilty plea. (Doc. 8-1). The agreement contained a waiver of the right to appeal or file a collateral attack:

(1) Appeal: The defendant has been fully apprised by defense counsel of the defendant's rights concerning appeal and fully understands the right to appeal the sentence under Title 18, United States Code, Section 3742.
(a) Non-Sentencing Issues: In the event the Court accepts the plea, as part of this agreement, both the defendant and the government hereby waive all rights to appeal all non-jurisdictional issues including, but not limited to, any issues relating to pre-trial motions, hearing and discovery and any issues relating to the negotiation, taking or acceptance of the guilty plea or the factual basis for the plea.
(b) Sentencing Issues: Both the defendant and the government hereby waive all rights to appeal all sentencing issues, including any issues related to the determination of the Total Offense Level, the Criminal History Category and Career Offender status.
(2)Habeas Corpus: The defendant acknowledges being guilty of the crime(s) to which a plea is being entered, and further states that neither defense counsel nor the government have made representations which are not included in this document as to the sentence to be imposed. The defendant further agrees to waive all rights to contest the conviction or sentence in any post-conviction proceeding, including one pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 2255, except for claims of prosecutorial misconduct or ineffective assistance of counsel at the time of sentencing.

(Doc. 8-1).

         Petitioner directly appealed his conviction, unsuccessfully. (Doc. 8-7). He then filed a § 2255 petition arguing ineffective assistance of counsel, which the District Court denied. (Doc. 8-10).

         Analysis

         Petitioner relies on Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016) to argue his prior drug convictions do not qualify as controlled substance offenses for purposes of the career offender enhancement under U.S.S.G. ยง 4B1.2. It is unnecessary to consider the substantive merits of his ...


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