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Mitchell v. True

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 9, 2018

RAYDALE MITCHELL, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM TRUE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HERNDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner Raydale Mitchell 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). See, Memorandum in Support, Doc. 5.

         Respondent filed a response at Doc. 11, and petitioner filed a reply at Doc. 16.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         Pursuant to a written plea agreement, Mitchell pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of heroin in the Western District of Wisconsin. The agreement did not include a waiver of appeal rights. On June 1, 2012, he was sentenced to 168 months imprisonment. United States v. Mitchell, Case No. 11-cr-00083-jdp, Docs. 25. & 51.

         Mitchell filed a direct appeal. In its non-precedential order affirming the conviction and sentence, the Seventh Circuit stated:

Two prior felony convictions involving a crime of violence made Mitchell a career offender, see U.S.S.G. §§ 4B1.1(a), (b)(3), which gave him an offense level of 29 after a 3-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility, see Id. § 3E1.1, and yielded a guidelines sentence of 151 to 188 months. The probation officer who prepared the presentence report determined that, without the career-offender analysis, Mitchell would be subject to an identical guidelines range based on the amount of heroin attributable to him, see Id. §§ 2D1.1(a)(5), (c)(5), and a 2-level increase because Mitchell had acted as an organizer by paying his brother to deliver some of the heroin for him, see Id. § 3B1.1(c).

United States v. Mitchell, 525 Fed.Appx. 479, 480 (7th Cir. 2013).

         Mitchell also filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He argued ineffectiveness of counsel and that his classification as a career offender was no longer valid after Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). The motion was denied in October 2016. Case No. 14-cr-00473-jdp, Doc. 12.

         Legal Standards Applicable to Section 2241

         Generally, petitions for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §2241 may not be used to raise claims of legal error in conviction or sentencing, but are limited to challenges regarding the execution of a sentence. See, Valona v. United States, 138 F.3d 693, 694 (7th Cir.1998).

         A prisoner who has been convicted in federal court is generally limited to challenging his conviction and sentence by bringing a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2255 in the court which sentenced him. A motion under §2255 is ordinarily the “exclusive means for a federal prisoner to attack his conviction.” Kramer v. Olson, 347 F.3d 214, 217 (7th Cir. 2003). And, a prisoner is generally limited to bringing only one motion under §2255. A prisoner may not file a “second or successive” motion unless a panel of the appropriate court of appeals certifies that such motion contains either 1) newly discovered evidence “sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have found the movant guilty of the offense, ” or 2) “a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable.” 28 U.S.C. §2255(h).

         However, it is possible, under very limited circumstances, for a prisoner to challenge his federal conviction or sentence under §2241. 28 U.S.C. §2255(e) contains a “savings clause” which authorizes a federal prisoner to file a §2241 petition where the remedy under §2255 is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” The Seventh Circuit construed the savings clause in In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 611 (7th Cir. 1998): “A procedure for postconviction relief can be fairly termed inadequate when it is so configured as to deny a convicted defendant any opportunity for judicial rectification of so fundamental a defect in his conviction as having been imprisoned for a nonexistent offense.”

         The Seventh Circuit has explained that, in order to fit within the savings clause following Davenport, a petitioner must meet three conditions. First, he must show that he relies on a new statutory interpretation case rather than a constitutional case. Secondly, he must show that he relies on a decision that he could not have invoked in his first §2255 motion and that case must apply retroactively. Lastly, he must demonstrate that there has been a “fundamental defect” in his conviction or sentence that is grave enough to be ...


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