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Sanders v. Warden, FCI-Jesup

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 12, 2019

DEANGELO SANDERS, #06788-025, Petitioner,
WARDEN, FCI-Jesup, Georgia, Respondent.



         Petitioner DeAngelo Sanders, an inmate in the Bureau of Prisons, filed a Petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on November 15, 2016. (Doc. 1). Sanders was convicted of possession of an unregistered firearm[1] and possession of a firearm by a felon[2] following a jury trial in this District in 2006. United States v. DeAngelo Sanders, No. 05-cr-30200-MJR, Docs. 104, 105 (S.D. Ill. October 16, 2006). He was sentenced to a term of 295 months imprisonment (Id. at Doc. 127, p. 2) and is now in custody at the Federal Correctional Institution at Jesup, Georgia (“FCI-Jesup”).[3]

         Sanders' sentence was enhanced pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) based in part on a prior Illinois felony conviction; namely, a 1992 residential burglary conviction pursuant to Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 38 ¶ 19-3 (1985) and Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 38 ¶ 2-6 (1987).[4] 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). Sanders now invokes Mathis v. United States, __ U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016) to challenge the enhancement and asserts that he is entitled to be resentenced without the ACCA enhancement. Specifically, Sanders argues that the definition of “dwelling” contained in Illinois' residential burglary statute includes “house[s], apartment[s], mobile home[s], trailer[s], and other living quarters, ” which criminalizes more conduct than the “generic” definition of burglary as defined by the Supreme Court. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4; Doc. 15, pp. 2-4). Sanders also argues that the 1992 residential burglary conviction cannot be used as a predicate for his ACCA enhancement because his civil rights were restored to him via letter from the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) following his discharge from IDOC's custody in 1994 and parole in 1996. (Doc. 26, pp. 2-3).

         Respondent opposes issuance of the writ, arguing that while Illinois residential burglary does criminalize conduct involving several “types of locations that individuals might consider the sanctuary of their home, ” that does not in itself make it broader than generic burglary, which, as defined by the Supreme Court, criminalizes certain conduct relating to “building[s] or other structure[s].” (Doc. 12, pp. 8-11). Respondent also argues that Sanders has failed to meet his burden to establish the existence and contents of the alleged restoration of rights letter, let alone that Sanders actually received such a letter and was misled by it. (Doc. 27, pp. 6-8). Sanders filed a Reply (Doc. 15) and the parties submitted several additional briefs that included supplemental authority. (Docs. 16, 26, 27, 28, 29, 34). This matter is now ripe for resolution. For the reasons discussed below, Sanders' Section 2241 Petition (Doc. 1) will be DENIED.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         Sanders was found guilty on one Count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) on October 16, 2006.[5] United States v. Sanders, No. 05-cr-30200-MJR. The Presentence Report (“PSR”) listed three prior felony convictions that qualified Sanders as an armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) and U.S.S.G. § 4B1.4; a 1992 Illinois Residential Burglary conviction and 1999 and 2002 Illinois Aggravated Battery convictions. (Doc. 13, p. 7). Sanders does not dispute that the Aggravated Battery convictions were properly categorized as “violent felonies” under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). He did not object to that portion of the PSR, and was he sentenced to 295 months imprisonment on January 19, 2007. United States v. Sanders, No. 05-cr-30200-MJR, Docs. 117, 118, 127 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 19, 2007).

         Direct Appeal and First Petition for Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         On direct appeal, Sanders argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction, that the court erred in responding to a question from the jury during deliberations, and that the court erred in sentencing him to a greater term of imprisonment than the mandatory minimum sentence imposed by the ACCA. United States v. Sanders, 520 F.3d 699 (7th Cir. 2008). However, Sanders did not appeal the court's determination that his prior felony convictions, including the residential burglary conviction presently at issue, qualified him for a mandatory 15-year minimum sentence under the ACCA. Id. at pp. 699-703. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Sanders' conviction and sentence in their entirety. Id. at p. 703.

         Sanders filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in this District in March 2009. Sanders v. United States, No. 09-cv-0182-MJR, Doc. 1 (S.D. Ill. March 6, 2009). At that time he asserted, among other things, that his counsel provided ineffective representation both at trial and during his sentencing. Id. at Doc. 10, pp. 8-16. Sanders' objection to his representation during sentencing focused entirely on his claims that counsel failed to effectively argue for a downward departure under the sentencing guidelines (Id. at p. 13) and did not address the sentencing court's finding that he was subject to the ACCA's 15-year mandatory minimum sentence due to his prior felony convictions. Id. at pp. 1-17. The motion was denied in all respects. Id. at pp. 16-17. The Seventh Circuit then denied Sanders' request for a certificate of appealability, finding that Sanders failed to make a “substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” Sanders v. United States, No. 10-2302, Doc. 12 (7th Cir. October 5, 2010).

         Subsequent Applications for Authorization to File a Second or Successive Petition

         Starting in 2011, Sanders began filing applications for authorization to file a second or successive petition for collateral review with the Seventh Circuit. The first application was premised on alleged misrepresentations made by Sanders' trial attorney relating to a potential Brady motion about certain pieces of evidence at trial. Sanders v. United States, No. 11-1772, Doc. 1, p. 5 (7th Cir. April 1, 2011). Sanders did not make arguments relating to his status as an armed career criminal or his alleged restoration of rights relating to his 1992 residential burglary conviction. Id. This application was summarily dismissed. Id. at Doc. 2.

         Sanders' second application argued that Johnson v. United States, __ U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) invalidated his enhanced sentence under the ACCA. Sanders v. United States, No. 15-2875, Doc. 1 (7th Cir. August 31, 2015). Sanders again made no argument that his sentence enhancement was invalid because his residential burglary conviction did not fit the generic definition of burglary in the ACCA. He did for the first time argue that he was “actual[ly] innocen[t]” of his ACCA enhancement because his “civil rights were restored by a restoration of rights letter for a residential burglary from 1992, ” but he neither developed that argument further in his application nor addressed it in his reply to the Government's response. Id. at pp. 5-6; id. at Doc. 5. The Seventh Circuit denied this application in all respects and specifically found that Sanders' sentence enhancement was not made pursuant to the ACCA's residual clause and that his prior convictions for aggravated battery and burglary were violent felonies as defined by the ACCA. Id. at Doc. 6, pp. 1-2 (citing Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575, 598 (1990)).

         Sanders' final application for authorization to file a successive § 2255 petition was filed on June 29, 2016. Sanders v. United States, No. 16-2822, Doc. 1 (7th Cir. June 29, 2016). Sanders again attempted to rely on Johnson v. United States to invalidate his ACCA enhanced sentence, but also argued that Mathis v. United States, __ U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016) required the invalidation of the enhancement as well. Id. at p. 4. Sanders made no mention of his restoration of rights legal theory in this application. Id. The Seventh Circuit again denied Sanders' application, stating that “we concluded [in Sanders' previous application] that burglary in Illinois is equivalent to generic burglary, ” and noting that any argument Sanders wished to make under Mathis would have to be done via a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Id. at Doc. 7, pp. 1-2.

         Applicable ...

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