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Veysada v. True

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 10, 2019

MICHAEL VEYSADA, #02451-424, Petitioner,
v.
B. TRUE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner Michael Veysada, an inmate in the Bureau of Prisons, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on May 9, 2017. (Doc. 1). Veysada was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment in 2010 after pleading guilty to two counts of bank robbery by force or violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). United States v. Michael Veysada, No. 09-cr-0697, Doc. 33 (N.D. Ill. May 5, 2010). His sentence was enhanced after the sentencing judge found him to be a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, based on three prior felony convictions for crimes of violence - two separate bank robbery convictions in 1992, and a 2003 bank robbery conviction, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a).

         Veysada now invokes Mathis v. United States, ___U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016) to challenge his designation as a career offender based on the prior bank robbery convictions and contends he is entitled to be resentenced without that designation. Specifically, Veysada argues that bank robbery as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) criminalizes more behavior than the generic definition of robbery under federal law, and that § 2113(a)'s criminalization of bank robbery “by force and violence, or by intimidation, ” does not meet the definition of a “crime of violence” under the Sentencing Guidelines because it does not require “violent force” to sustain a conviction. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-9).

         Respondent opposes issuance of the Writ on several grounds. Respondent first argues that Veysada cannot satisfy the requirements of § 2255(e)'s savings clause because his argument was not foreclosed by binding precedent before Mathis was decided and his alleged harm cannot be deemed a “miscarriage of justice” because his sentence fell within the statutory maximum penalty for his crimes of conviction notwithstanding his career offender designation. (Doc. 10, pp. 4-10). Respondent further argues that Veysada procedurally defaulted his current habeas claim by failing to raise it on direct appeal. (Id. at pp. 11-14). Finally, Respondent argues that Veysada's claim fails on the merits because his prior bank robbery convictions meet the Sentencing Guidelines' definition of “crime of violence” as they both (1) have as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force, and (2) fit the generic definition of robbery in the enumerated clause of U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2). (Id. at pp. 14-18). Veysada replied to Respondent's response. (Doc. 14).

         This matter is now ripe for resolution. For the reasons discussed below, Veysada's § 2241 Petition (Doc. 1) will be DENIED.

         Procedural History and Relevant Facts

         Veysada pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) on December 11, 2009. United States v. Michael Veysada, No. 09-cr-0697, Docs. 23, 24 (N.D. Ill. December 11, 2009). He entered into a formal plea greement in which he agreed that he was properly considered a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a) due to his three prior federal bank robbery convictions in 1992 and 2003. Id. at Doc. 24, pp. 9, 12-14. He also acknowledged in the Plea Agreement that each bank robbery count carried maximum sentences of 20 years (240 months) imprisonment. Id. at p. 6; 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). Veysada did not object to the Plea Agreement or sentencing proceedings and was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment on May 5, 2010. United States v. Michael Veysada, No. 09-cr-0697, Doc. 33 (N.D. Ill. May 5, 2010).

         Veysada did not file a direct appeal. He did, however, file a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the Northern District of Illinois seeking to be resentenced without the career offender designation. United States v. Veysada, No. 16-cv-9090, Doc. 1 (N.D. Ill. September 19, 2016). His § 2255 motion raised arguments similar to those in his Petition in this case, but invoked Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. 254 (2013) instead of Mathis. Veysada's § 2255 motion was not ruled on by the Northern District of Illinois because he voluntarily withdrew it on March 16, 2017. Id. at Doc. 3.

         Applicable Legal Standards

         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 instead limited to challenges regarding the execution of a sentence. See Valona v. United States, 138 F.3d 693, 694 (7th Cir. 1998). Aside from the direct appeal process, a § 2255 motion is ordinarily the “exclusive means for a federal prisoner to attack his conviction.” Kramer v. Olson, 347 F.3d 214, 217 (7th Cir. 2003). A prisoner is generally limited to one challenge of his conviction and sentence under § 2255. A prisoner may not file a “second or successive” § 2255 motion unless a panel of the appropriate court of appeals certifies that such motion either 1) contains 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) invokes “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).

         Under very limited circumstances, however, it is possible for a prisoner to challenge his federal conviction or sentence under § 2241. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) contains a “savings clause” under which a federal prisoner can file a § 2241 petition when the remedy under § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). See United States v. Prevatte, 300 F.3d 792, 798-99 (7th Cir. 2002). 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.”

         Following Davenport, a petitioner must meet three conditions to trigger the savings clause. 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 deemed a miscarriage of justice. Brown v. Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013). See also Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012). In other words, something more than a lack of success with a Section 2255 motion must exist before the savings clause is satisfied.” See Webster v. Daniels, 784 F.3d 1123, 1136 (7th Cir. 2015).

         Analysis

         Veysada argues that Mathis v. United States, ___U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016) dictates that his prior felony bank robbery convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) do not qualify as predicate crimes of violence for purposes of the career offender enhancement found in the Sentencing Guidelines. (Doc. 1, pp. 6-11). Before reaching the merits of this argument, the Court must first consider whether Veysada's claim can be brought within the narrow scope § 2255's savings clause. The Court agrees with Respondent that Veysada cannot demonstrate the existence of a fundamental defect in his conviction or sentence that is grave enough to ...


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