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Hanson v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

October 22, 2019

James B. Hanson, Petitioner-Appellant,
United States of America, Respondent-Appellee.

          Argued September 4, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. No. 3:16-cv-00428-JPG - J. Phil Gilbert, Judge.

          Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and BAUER and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.


         Following a six-year investigation into a methamphetamine operation, James Hanson was indicted on May 5, 2009, with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine in excess of 500 grams. The Government established Hanson's three prior drug offenses and Kentucky felony third-degree residential burglary conviction. On December 10, 2009, Hanson pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement. Per the agreement, the government listed only one prior felony drug conviction under 21 U.S.C. § 851, instead of all three potentially qualifying convictions, and relied in part on Hanson's prior burglary conviction for a lesser recommended sentencing range under the Guidelines.

         In the Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR"), the Probation Officer calculated Hanson's total offense level as 34, with a criminal history of VI, for a Sentencing Guidelines range of 262 to 327 months. U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(c)(3). After conducting a sentencing hearing where the district court heard from both parties, the district court adopted the PSR, sentencing Hanson to 262 months in prison followed by ten years of supervised release. On appeal, Hanson challenges the district court's denial of his collateral challenge to his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. We conclude that the district court did not commit any reversible errors and affirm.


         Hanson argues that the district court erred when it included his third-degree burglary as a crime of violence, enhancing Hanson's status to a career offender. We review the district court's legal conclusions de novo. Hrobowski v. United States, 904 F.3d 566, 569 (7th Cir. 2018).

         Postconviction sentences may be changed if the sentence "was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or [if] the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or [if] the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law ... ." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). "[N]ot every error is corrigible in a post-conviction proceeding, even if the error is not harmless." Hawkins v. United States, 706 F.3d 820, 823 (7th Cir. 2013). Even errors that are not harmless may not be cognizable under a § 2255 proceeding. Id.

         We have held that "relief under § 2255 is available 'only in extraordinary situations, such as an error of constitutional or jurisdictional magnitude or where a fundamental defect has occurred which results in a complete miscarriage of justice.'" United States v. Coleman, 763 F.3d 706, 708 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Blake v. United States, 723 F.3d 870, 878-79 (7th Cir. 2013)). A defendant may file a § 2255 motion within one year of the latest of four dates, including the date of final judgment and "the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review." 28 U.S.C. §§ 2255(f)(1) and (3).

         Under § 2255(f)(1), a defendant has one year from the final judgment to file a § 2255 motion. This court dismissed Hanson's appeal on August 25, 2010. The conviction became final on November 23, 2010. Hanson failed to file a § 2255 motion within one year. The statute of limitations to file a § 2255 motion for Hanson's final conviction ended on November 23, 2011. Therefore, Hanson's motion under § 2255(f)(1) is untimely.

         Alternatively, Hanson argues the Supreme Court in Mathis recognized a new right on June 23, 2016, allowing him to file a § 2255 motion by June 23, 2017. However, the Supreme Court stated in Mathis that the rules being applied came from precedent. Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). "Our precedents make this a straightforward case. For more than 25 years, we have repeatedly made clear that application of ACCA involves, and involves only, comparing elements." Id. at 2257. Instead, the Supreme Court distinguished between "elements" and "means," where "elements" are "constituent parts" of a crime and "means" are "various factual ways of committing some component of the offense." Id. at 2249. Hanson has failed to show that the Supreme Court in Mathis intended to create a new rule upon which the statute of limitations may run.

         We briefly address Hanson's letter to the court, which confuses the Government's argument that Mathis must be declared retroactive "by the Supreme Court." Rather, the Government states in its brief: "[nevertheless, the measuring period begins when the Supreme Court declares a new right, not when the courts acknowledge the right to be retroactive." We understand the Government's position as not requiring the right to be declared retroactive by the Supreme Court, but rather the Supreme Court must declare a new right for the courts to apply retroactivity.

         Hanson argues the district court misapplied the career offender enhancement under the advisory Guidelines, resulting in a "miscarriage of justice." Sentencing errors that can be raised on direct appeal are generally not cognizable upon collateral review. Cognizable sentencing errors include sentencing decisions rendered unlawful by a clarification in the law or sentencing decisions that exceed the statutory maximum. See Narvaez v. United States,674 F.3d 621, 627 (7th Cir. 2011) (granting relief under the pre-Booker mandatory guidelines); and see Welch v. United ...

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