United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
currently incarcerated in Federal Correctional Institution
Greenville, brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 to challenge his sentence. Although the
Petition is brief, it appears that Petitioner is serving 108
months for violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). United
States v. Smith, 08-cr-00038-SEB-TAB-1 (S.D. Ind. 2013)
(“Criminal Case”). Petitioner was enhanced under
the sentencing guidelines due to gang activity and
obstruction of justice. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-7). Petitioner
requests that his sentence be vacated and that he be
resentenced. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
was sentenced on January 20, 2009 after a jury verdict
against him. (Criminal Case, Doc. 61). He filed a Notice of
Appeal on January 23, 2009. (Criminal Case, Doc. 62). The
Seventh Circuit dismissed the appeal on March 24, 2010.
(Criminal Case, Doc. 90); United States v. Smith,
364 Fed.Appx. 263 (7th Cir. 2010). Petitioner also filed a
motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the district
court; it was denied for lack of merit on July 26, 2013.
(Criminal Case, Doc. 94, 96).
of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in United States
District Courts provides that upon preliminary consideration
by the district court judge, “[i]f it plainly appears
from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court,
the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to
notify the petitioner.” Rule 1(b) of those Rules gives
this Court the authority to apply the rules to other habeas
corpus cases. After carefully reviewing the Petition in the
present case, the Court concludes that Petitioner is not
entitled to relief, and the Petition must be dismissed.
alleges that he relies on Mathis v. United States,
136 S.Ct. 2243 (U.S. 2016). (Doc. 1, p. 4). However, other
than a statement to that effect, the only argument Petitioner
makes is that the grounds for his enhancements-his gang
activity and the obstruction of justice-were never submitted
to a jury or proved beyond a reasonable doubt. (Doc. 1, pp.
purpose of this Order is not to address the merits of
Petitioner's arguments, but rather to determine whether
he has adequately triggered the savings clause. Ordinarily, a
prisoner may challenge his federal conviction or sentence
only by means of a § 2255 motion brought before the
sentencing court, and this remedy typically supersedes the
writ of habeas corpus. Brown v. Caraway,
719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Brown v.
Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012)). In this case,
Petitioner is clearly attacking his sentence.
“savings clause” under § 2255(e) allows a
federal prisoner to file a petition under § 2241, if the
remedy provided by § 2255 is “inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” See
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). In considering what it means to be
“inadequate or ineffective, ” the Seventh Circuit
has held that a federal prisoner should be permitted to seek
relief under § 2241 “only if he had no reasonable
opportunity to obtain earlier judicial correction of a
fundamental defect in his conviction or sentence because the
law changed after his first 2255 motion.” In re
Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 611 (7th Cir. 1998). A federal
prisoner must meet 3 criteria in order to invoke the Savings
Clause and obtain collateral relief pursuant to § 2241.
First, a prisoner “must show that he relies on a [new]
statutory-interpretation case rather than a constitutional
case;” second, he “must show that he relies on a
retroactive decision that he could not have invoked in his
first § 2255 motion;” and third, “[the]
sentence enhancement [must] have been a grave enough error to
be deemed a miscarriage of justice corrigible therefore in a
habeas corpus proceeding.” Brown v. Caraway,
719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
cannot satisfy the first Davenport requirement.
Although his Petition states that he relies on
Mathis, his arguments do not flow from that
decision. Mathis addressed a challenge to a sentence
under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C.
924(e)(“ACCA”). 136 S.Ct. at 2247. Courts have
also applied Mathis to the career offender
sentencing guidelines, § 4B1.1. See United States v.
Edwards, 836 F.3d 831, 834 n. 2 (7th Cir. 2016).
Petitioner was not sentenced under either the ACCA or the
career offender guidelines. Petitioner was sentenced pursuant
to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and enhanced under §
2K2.1(b)(6) and § 3C1.1. (Doc. 1, pp. 8, 10). Those
provisions were not discussed in Mathis. Thus,
Mathis is not applicable to his situation, and
Petitioner cannot use Mathis to trigger the savings
Petitioner's main argument here is that a jury should
have had to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that he was
eligible for the sentencing enhancements he received. The
Seventh Circuit specifically considered that argument during
Petitioner's direct appeal, and rejected it stating,
“[w]e have explained repeatedly, however, that
Booker holds that guideline adjustments are for the
sentencing court to decide, not the jury.”
Smith, 364 Fed.Appx. at 267. (citations omitted).
That means that the argument Petitioner raises here was
raised in an earlier proceeding, and was available to
Petitioner prior to the Mathis decision. Although
such a finding is beyond the scope of this order, it strongly
suggests that this entire action is frivolous.
Court finds that Petitioner has failed to establish that he
has triggered the savings clause in § 2255(e).
Accordingly, the § 2241 Petition shall be dismissed.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 ...