United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ceasar Limon-Pacias, an inmate in the Bureau of Prisons,
filed a Petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. (Doc. 1). In November 2013, Limon-Pacias was
sentenced to 77 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to
illegally re-entering the United States in violation of 8
U.S.C. § 1326(b)(2). His United States Sentencing
Guidelines range was enhanced after the sentencing judge
found he had unlawfully remained in the United States after a
conviction for a drug trafficking offense for which the
sentence imposed exceeded 13 months. U.S.S.G. §
2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(i) (2013). United States v.
Limon-Pacias, 13-cr-0356-SS, Doc. 29 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 1,
2013). Limon-Pacias is now in custody at the Federal
Correctional Institution in Hinton, Oklahoma (“FCI
now invokes Mathis v. United States, ___U.S. ___,
136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), to challenge his sentence and argue
that he is entitled to be resentenced without this Guidelines
enhancement. Specifically, Limon-Pacias argues that because
the Texas controlled substance statute of his conviction
criminalizes the “sale” and
“delivery” of marijuana, but the Sentencing
Guidelines' definition of a “drug trafficking
offense” under Section 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(i) refers to
“distribution” and “dispensing”
instead of “sale” or “delivery, ”
this conviction can no longer support the Guidelines
enhancement under Mathis. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6).
opposes issuance of the writ on multiple grounds. Respondent
argues that Limon-Pacias cannot satisfy the requirements of
Section 2255(e)'s savings clause because his
Mathis argument was not foreclosed by binding
precedent before Mathis was decided, and
Limon-Pacias' alleged harm cannot be deemed a
“miscarriage of justice” because his sentence
fell within the statutory maximum penalty for his crime of
conviction notwithstanding his Guidelines enhancement. (Doc.
8, pp. 7-13). Respondent also argues that Limon-Pacias
procedurally defaulted on his current habeas claim by failing
to raise it on direct appeal. (Id. at pp. 13-15).
replied to Respondent's response. (Doc. 10). This matter
is now ripe for resolution. For the reasons discussed below,
Limon-Pacias's Section 2241 Petition (Doc. 1) will be
Facts and Procedural History
pleaded guilty to one count of illegal reentry into the
United States pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1326 on August 12,
2013. United States v. Limon-Pacias, No.
13-cr-0356-SS, Doc. 18 (W.D. Tex. Aug. 15, 2013). His
potential sentence was up to twenty years' (240
months') imprisonment pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §
1326(b)(2). Id. at Doc. 30, ¶ 70. The
sentencing court determined that Limon-Pacias' criminal
history included one drug trafficking offense for which the
sentence imposed exceeded 13 months, id. at ¶
37, as well as two other prior felonies and at least three
prior misdemeanors. Id. at ¶¶ 38-40,
44-45. During the sentencing hearing, the judge pointed to
Limon-Pacias's lengthy criminal record, as well as his
multiple deportations and subsequent illegal reentries in
support of the sentence he was imposing, and ultimately
sentenced Limon-Pacias to 77 months'
filed a direct appeal, arguing that the use of his prior drug
conviction violated the Sixth Amendment under Apprendi v.
New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), and Alleyne v.
United States, 133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013). His appeal was
denied by the Fifth Circuit. United States v.
Limon-Pacias, No. 13-51042, Doc. 512763754 (5th Cir.
Sept. 10, 2014). Limon-Pacias then filed a motion under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 in the Western District of Texas, arguing
his counsel was ineffective for, among other things, failing
to object to his Guidelines enhancement under Taylor v.
United States, 495 U.S. 575 (1990). United States v.
Limon-Pacias, No. 13-cr-0356-SS, Doc. 43, p. 3 (W.D.
Tex. Jan. 5, 2016). This motion was denied by the district
court, id., and the denial was affirmed on appeal by
the Fifth Circuit. Id. at Doc. 52, pp. 2-3.
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.
from the direct appeal process, 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 Section 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). And, a prisoner is generally limited to
only one challenge of his conviction and sentence
under Section 2255. A prisoner may not file a “second
or successive” Section 2255 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).
possible, however, under very limited circumstances, for a
prisoner to challenge his federal conviction or sentence
under Section 2241. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) contains a
“savings clause” which authorizes a federal
prisoner to file a Section 2241 petition where the remedy
under Section 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
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
Section 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).
Davenport, the Seventh Circuit has made it clear
that “there must be some kind of structural problem
with section 2255 before section 2241 becomes available. In
other words, something more than a lack of success with a
section 2255 motion must exist before the savings clause ...