United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Don Juan Maxwell, an inmate in the Bureau of Prisons, filed a
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2241 on February 23, 2018. (Doc. 1). Maxwell was sentenced to
300 months imprisonment in 2006 after a jury found him guilty
of possessing with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of
cocaine base (also known as “crack cocaine”).
United States v. Don Juan Maxwell, No. 05-cr-0238,
Doc. 66 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 17, 2006). His Guidelines range was
enhanced after he was found to be a career offender under
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, based in part on Maxwell's three
prior burglary convictions. However, the sentencing court
varied downwards from the Guidelines' career offender
range of 360 months to life imprisonment and instead imposed
a sentence within the non-career offender Guidelines range.
Id. at Doc. 69, pp. 4, 24.
now invokes Mathis v. United States, ___ U.S. ___,
136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016) to challenge his designation as a
career offender based on his prior burglary convictions and
contends he is entitled to be resentenced without that
designation. Specifically, Maxwell argues that these prior
convictions do not qualify as “crimes of
violence” under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2) (2006)
because they criminalize a broader swath of conduct than the
generic definition of burglary as defined by the Supreme
Court. (Doc. 1, pp. 16-19).
opposes issuance of the Writ on multiple grounds. Respondent
argues that Maxwell cannot satisfy the requirements of §
2255(e)'s savings clause, noting his alleged harm cannot
be deemed a “miscarriage of justice” since his
sentence fell within the statutory maximum penalty for his
crimes of conviction, regardless of his career offender
designation. (Doc. 12, pp. 7-12). Respondent also argues that
Maxwell procedurally defaulted his current habeas claim by
failing to raise it on direct appeal or in his original
§ 2255 motion. (Id. at pp. 6-7). Maxwell
replied to Respondent's response, (Doc. 10), and the
parties each filed supplemental briefings discussing
additional legal authority. (Docs. 11, 12, 14, 15).
matter is now ripe for resolution. For the reasons discussed
below, Maxwell's § 2241 Petition (Doc. 1) will be
History and Relevant Facts
October 13, 2005, a jury found Maxwell guilty of one count of
possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of
cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1)
and (b)(1)(A)(iii). United States v. Don Juan
Maxwell, No. 05-cr-0238, Doc. 42 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 13,
2005). At the time of his conviction and
sentencing, Maxwell's statutory sentencing range included
a maximum of life imprisonment. Notably, even under the current
United States Code, possessing with intent to distribute or
dispense 28 grams or more of cocaine base carries a statutory
maximum penalty of forty years (480 months) imprisonment. 21
U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)(iii) (2018).
Presentence Report (“PSR”) applied the
Guidelines' career offender designation to Maxwell
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a) due to his prior
burglary convictions. However, at Maxwell's sentencing, the
judge explicitly stated his belief that “it [was] more
appropriate to sentence [Maxwell] in the range of a total
offense level of 34” instead of applying the greater
offense level set forth by the career offender designation.
Id. at Doc. 69, p. 24. The judge further stated that
“if [Maxwell] was not a career offender [under the
Guidelines] . . . the [Guidelines range] would be 262 months
to 327 months imprisonment” instead of 360 months to
life imprisonment. Id. at p. 4. Maxwell was
ultimately sentenced to 300 months imprisonment, which was
within the non-career offender Guidelines range and
represented a downwards variance from the career offender
Guidelines range of 360 months to life imprisonment.
Id. at p. 24.
filed a direct appeal relating to alleged racial
discrimination during his jury selection and the district
court's rulings regarding the same. The Eighth Circuit
affirmed the judgment on appeal in 2007. United States v.
Maxwell, 473 F.3d 868 (2007). Maxwell then sought relief
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. His first motion, filed in
January 2008, argued that his trial counsel was
constitutionally ineffective. This motion was denied by the
district court and no certificate of appealability was
issued. Maxwell v. United States, No. 08-cv-0062,
Doc. 7 (E.D. Mo. May 12, 2010). Maxwell's subsequent
application for leave to file a second or successive §
2255 motion, which like the instant Petition, was premised in
part on Mathis v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 136
S.Ct. 2243 (2016), was also denied by the Eighth Circuit,
Maxwell v. United States, No. 16-cv-1017- AGF, Doc.
2 (July 12, 2016); Maxwell v. United States, No.
16-2291, Doc. 8 (8th Cir. Nov. 22, 2017).
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 and 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).
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 § 2255 motion must exist before
the savings clause is satisfied.” See Webster v.
Daniels, 784 F.3d 1123, 1136 (7th Cir. 2015).
light of Mathis, Maxwell argues he was improperly
designated as a career offender under the Guidelines because
his prior burglary convictions criminalize more behavior than
the generic definition of burglary set forth by the Supreme
Court. (Doc. 1, pp. 15-19). Before reaching the merits of
this argument, the Court must first consider whether
Maxwell's claim can be brought within the narrow scope of
§ 2255's savings clause. The Court agrees with
Respondent that Maxwell cannot demonstrate the existence of a
fundamental defect in his conviction or sentence that is
grave enough to be deemed ...