United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Herndon, United States District Judge
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.
argues that the petition must be dismissed because petitioner
waived his right to file a collateral attack in his plea
Facts and Procedural History
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.
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.
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
Ex. 1, pp. 4.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 ...