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McCoy v. True

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 9, 2018

STEVEN L. MCCOY Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM TRUE, WARDEN Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Herndon, Judge.

         Petitioner Steven L. McCoy (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).[2] He purports to rely on Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). Id. Now before the Court is Respondent's Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 11). Petitioner did not file a responsive pleading. For the following reasons, Petitioner's petition for habeas relief is denied.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         In 2007, Petitioner executed a plea agreement and pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). United States v. McCoy, Case No. 07-CR-30012-MJR (S.D. IL) (hereinafter criminal case) (Doc. 37). The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois categorized Petitioner as a career offender based on his prior state felony convictions for unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, and robbery. (Doc. 37, p. 8, criminal case). The Court sentenced Petitioner to 200 months imprisonment to run consecutive to two state court sentences he was already serving.[3] (Doc. 40, criminal case).

         Petitioner's plea agreement contains provisions waiving his right to appeal:

1. The Defendant understands that by pleading guilty, he is waiving all appellate issues that might have been available if he had exercised his right to trial.
2. The Defendant is aware that Tile 18, Title 28, and other provisions of the United States Code afford every defendant limited rights to contest a conviction and/or sentence. Acknowledging all this, and in exchange for the recommendations and concessions made by the Government in this plea agreement, the Defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives his right to contest any aspect of his conviction and sentence that could be contested under Title 18 or Title 28, or under any other provision of federal law, except that if the sentence imposed is in excess of the Sentencing Guidelines as determined by the Court . . .
3. Defendant's waiver of his right to appeal or bring collateral challenges shall not apply to: 1) any subsequent change in the interpretation of the law by the United States Supreme Court or the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which is declared retroactive by those Courts, and which renders the Defendant actually innocent of the charges covered herein, and 2) appeals based upon Sentencing Guideline amendments which are made retroactive by the United States Sentencing Commission . . .

(Doc. 37, pp. 10-11, criminal case).

         Applicable Law

         Citing Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), Petitioner argues that his prior state convictions do not qualify as violent offenses or controlled substance offenses for purposes of the career offender enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2. It is unnecessary to consider the substantive merits of his argument because the appeal waiver bars this collateral attack.

         A plea agreement may include a valid waiver of the right to appeal and file a collateral attack, and such waivers are generally enforceable. Solano v. United States, 812 F.3d 573, 577 (7th Cir. 2016). Limited exceptions arise when the plea agreement itself was involuntary, the defendant argues ineffective assistance of counsel with regard to the negotiation of the plea, the sentencing court relied on a constitutionally impermissible factor such as race, or the sentence exceeded the statutory maximum. Keller v. United States, 657 F.3d 675, 681 (7th Cir. 2011).

         Analysis

         Petitioner asserts his appeals waiver is not applicable to his claims; dismissing his petition would result in a miscarriage of justice; and he ...


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