Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sullivann v. True

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 27, 2017

MATTHEW SULLIVAN, Petitioner,
v.
B. TRUE, Warden, U.S. Penitentiary-Marion, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Herndon, United States District Judge

         Petitioner Matthew Sullivan filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §2241 (Doc. 1) challenging the enhancement of his sentence as a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. He purports to rely on Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). Now before the Court is Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 7. Petitioner responded to the motion at Doc. 10.

         Respondent argues that the petition must be dismissed because petitioner waived his right to file a collateral attack in his plea agreement.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         Pursuant to written plea agreement, Sullivan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 280 grams of crack cocaine in the Central District of Illinois. United States v. Sullivan, Case No. 12-cr-10115-JES. The agreement provided that he would be sentenced to 312 months imprisonment. Plea Agreement, Doc. 7, Ex. 1.[1]

         Before the plea agreement was entered into, the government filed notice of its intent to seek an enhanced sentence pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851. The notice cited two prior conviction for felony drug offenses, which meant that petitioner was facing a mandatory life sentence under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). Case No. 12-cr-10115-JES, Doc. 41. In the plea agreement, the government agreed to withdraw the § 851 notice and to rely on only one of petitioner's prior convictions to enhance his sentence. Ex. 1, ¶8. Using only one prior conviction resulted in a statutory sentence range of 20 years to life imprisonment. At sentencing, the court found petitioner to be a career offender and calculated the advisory Guidelines range as 360 months to life. However, in accordance with the plea agreement, the court sentenced petitioner to 312 months. Transcript of Sentencing Hearing, Case No. 12-cr-10115-JES, Doc. 251, pp. 43-44.

         The plea agreement also contained a waiver of the right to appeal or file a collateral attack:

12. The defendant also understands that he has a right to attack the conviction and/or sentence imposed collaterally on the grounds that it was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; that he received ineffective assistance from his attorney; that the Court was without proper jurisdiction; or that the conviction and/or sentence was otherwise subject to collateral attack. The defendant understand that such an attack is usually brought through a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The defendant and the defendant's attorney have together reviewed § 2255, and the defendant understands his rights under this statute. Understanding those rights, and having thoroughly discussed those rights with the defendant's attorney, the defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives his right to collaterally attack the conviction and/or sentence with one exception: the defendant may raise on collateral attack only those discrete claims which relate directly to the negotiation of this waiver.

Ex. 1, pp. 4.

         Petitioner filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 arguing that his guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary because of his counsel's ignorance of relevant law. The court denied the motion, finding that counsel had not been ineffective and that his guilty plea was valid. The court also denied a certificate of appealability. Doc. 7, Ex. 3.

         Analysis

         Ostensibly relying on Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), Sullivan argues that his two prior convictions for drug offenses under Illinois law do not qualify as controlled substance offenses for purposes of the career offender enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1.[2] This argument would likely fail under United States v. Redden, 875 F.3d 374 (7th Cir. 2017), holding that a conviction for violation of 720 ILCS 570/401 is a “controlled substance offense” for purposes of the career offender Guideline. However, it is unnecessary to decide the substantive merits of his argument because the petition must be dismissed for several other reasons.

         First, although petitioner was found to be a career offender, he was not sentenced in accordance with the career offender Guidelines range. His advisory Guidelines range was 360 months to life, but he was sentenced to 312 months in accordance with his plea agreement.

         Secondly, even if he were sentenced pursuant to the Guidelines, he could not bring a Mathis claim in a § 2241 petition. There are some errors that can be raised on direct appeal but not in a collateral attack such as a § 2255 motion or a § 2241 petition. Sullivan was sentenced in 2014, long after the Supreme Court declared the Sentencing Guidelines to be merely advisory and not mandatory. A claim that a defendant was erroneously treated as a career offender under the advisory Sentencing Guidelines is one such claim. Hawkins v. United States, 706 F.3d 820 (7th Cir. 2013), supplemented on denial of rehearing, 724 F.3d 915 (7th Cir. 2013). See also, United States v. Coleman, 763 F.3d 706, 708-09 (7th Cir. 2014)(“[W]e held in Hawkins that the error in calculating the Guidelines range did not constitute a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.