United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Lorenzo Clark, a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at
FCI-Greenville, brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241 to challenge the constitutionality of
his confinement. He asserts that in light of Rehaif v.
United States, __ U.S. __, 139 S.Ct. 2191 (June 21,
2019), he was sentenced to an illegal term of imprisonment
and that his conviction and sentence for being a felon in
possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2) should be vacated.
(Doc. 1, pp. 4, 5).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in United States District Courts. Rule 4 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
pled guilty in the Eastern District of Missouri (No.
16-cr-00158) and was sentenced on November 2, 2016 to 70
months incarceration; he did not file an appeal or a motion
under § 2255. (Doc. 1, p. 1). Petitioner claims that
neither the indictment nor the plea agreement in his case
indicated that he had knowledge of his felony status when he
possessed the firearm, and that as a result, the government
did not prove every essential element of the crime.
Id. at pp. 1, 4. In Rehaif, the Supreme
Court held that:
[I]n a prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and §
924(a)(2), the Government must prove both that the defendant
knew he possessed a firearm and that he knew he belonged to
the relevant category of persons barred from possessing a
firearm. We express no view, however, about what precisely
the Government must prove to establish a defendant's
knowledge of status in respect to other § 922(g)
provisions not at issue here.
Rehaif v. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2191, 2200 (2019)
(defendant's conviction for illegal possession of firearm
and ammunition was based on his status of being illegally or
unlawfully in the United States; reversing/remanding because
the Government had not been required to prove at trial that
defendant knew he was unlawfully in the country).
the limited record and the still-developing application of
Rehaif, it is not plainly apparent that Petitioner
is not entitled to habeas relief. Accordingly, without
commenting on the merits of Petitioner's claims, the
Court concludes that the Petition survives preliminary review
under Rule 4 and Rule 1(b) of the Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in United States District Courts, and a response
will be ordered.
IS HEREBY ORDERED that Respondent shall answer or
otherwise plead within thirty days of the date this order is
entered (on or before December 18, 2019). This preliminary
order to respond does not, of course, preclude the Government
from raising any objection or defense it may wish to present.
Service upon the United States Attorney for the Southern
District of Illinois, 750 Missouri Avenue, East St. Louis,
Illinois, shall constitute sufficient service.
accordance with footnote 1, the Clerk of Court is
DIRECTED to substitute the Warden of
FCI-Greenville as Respondent in this action and terminate USA
as a party.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this entire matter be
REFERRED to a United States Magistrate Judge
for disposition, as contemplated by Local Rule 72.2(b)(2) and
28 U.S.C. § 636(c), should all the parties consent
to such a referral.
is ADVISED of his continuing obligation to
keep the Clerk (and the Respondent) informed of any change in
his whereabouts during the pendency of this action. This
notification shall be done in writing and not later than
seven (7) days after a transfer or other change in address
occurs. Failure to provide such notice may result in
dismissal of this action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b).