United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
currently incarcerated in the FCI-Greenville, Illinois,
brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2241 to challenge the constitutionality of his confinement.
He asserts that in light of Mathis v. United States,
-- U.S. --, 136 S.Ct. 2243, 2250 (2016), he should not have
been subject to the career-offender enhancement under the
United States Sentencing Guidelines (“USSG”). He
was classified as a career offender based on previous
convictions in Missouri and California, and sentenced
accordingly. (Doc. 1, p. 2).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in United States District Courts.
was convicted in the Eastern District of Missouri, Case No.
02-cr-506-CDP, after he pled guilty to 4 drug-distribution
counts and 1 count of assaulting/resisting/impeding a U.S.
Marshal. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 2-3). On August 20, 2004, he was
sentenced to a total of 262 months, with sentences running
concurrently. According to petitioner, his guideline range
with the career-offender enhancement was 262-327 months,
based on a total offense level of 34 and criminal history
category of VI. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). Absent the enhancement, his
guideline range would have been only 168-210 months, based on
an offense level of 31 and criminal history category of V.
Id. He further asserts that under the current
sentencing guidelines, his total offense level would be only
27, yielding a range of 120-150 months. Id. As of
the date he filed his Petition, he had served approximately
166 months of his sentence. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2; note 1).
notes that his PSR did not “itemize” his prior
convictions upon which the career-offender classification was
based. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). He states that he has prior Missouri
convictions for (1) possession with intent to distribute
cocaine; (2) second degree assault; and (3) more than one
conviction for burglary. He also has a previous California
conviction for transportation of cocaine. Id.
did not appeal his conviction or sentence. He did
unsuccessfully move for reduction of his sentence pursuant to
Amendments 706 and 782. On June 27, 2016, he filed a §
2255 motion for the first time, invoking Johnson v.
United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) to challenge his
career-offender status. (Case No. 16-cv-1016-CDP (E.D. Mo.)).
He was denied relief on June 6, 2017. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3).
argues that under Mathis, his Missouri burglary
convictions no longer qualify as predicate offenses for
career-offender status, because the Missouri statute
criminalizes unlawful entry to a ship, airplane, or other
vehicle - which goes beyond the “generic
burglary” definition of entry into a building or
structure. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 10-11). Similarly, he argues that
the California statute under which he was convicted of
“transportation” of a controlled substance
includes elements that go beyond the definition of a
“controlled substance offense” in the United
States Sentencing Guidelines. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 11-16). He
challenges the Missouri state drug convictions on similar
grounds. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 16-19).
commenting on the merits of Petitioner's claims, the
Court concludes that the Petition survives preliminary review
under Rule 4 and Rule 1(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2254
Cases in United States District Courts. Given the limited
record and the still-developing application of
Mathis, it is not plainly apparent that Petitioner
is not entitled to habeas relief.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that Respondent shall answer or
otherwise plead within thirty days of the date this order is
entered (on or before March 28, 2018). This preliminary
order to respond does not, of course, preclude the Government
from raising any objection or defense it may wish to present.
Service upon the United States Attorney for the Southern
District of Illinois, 750 Missouri Avenue, East St. Louis,
Illinois, shall constitute sufficient service.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Local Rule
72.1(a)(2), this cause is referred to United States
Magistrate Judge Clifford J. Proud for further pre-trial
proceedings. Plaintiffs pending motion for bond (Doc. 2) is
also referred to United States Magistrate Judge Proud for
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this entire matter be
REFERRED to United States Magistrate Judge
Proud for disposition, as contemplated by Local Rule
72.2(b)(2) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), should all the
parties consent to such a referral
is ADVISED of his continuing obligation to
keep the Clerk (and each opposing party) informed of any
change in his whereabouts during the pendency of this action.
This notification shall be done in writing and not later than
seven (7) days after a transfer or other change in address
occurs. Failure to provide such notice may result in
dismissal of this action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).