United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON, District Judge.
Albert Edwards is a pro se prisoner in the custody of the
federal Bureau of Prisons. Petitioner seeks a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, challenging his
1994 conviction in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois. Petitioner contends that he
should not have received an enhanced sentence as a career
offender under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. I
conclude that petitioner cannot proceed with this claim under
§ 2241, and so I will dismiss his petition.
the following background from the petition and from publicly
available information about petitioner’s underlying
is serving a term of 440 months of imprisonment. He is
currently incarcerated at FCI-Oxford, which is within the
Western District of Wisconsin.
1993, the United States charged petitioner and three other
defendants with conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and
using firearms in relation to a drug trafficking offense.
Petitioner proceeded to trial, and a jury ultimately
convicted him on both counts.
trial, the sentencing court concluded that petitioner was a
career offender. That enhancement is the subject of this
petition. Petitioner had three qualifying predicate
convictions-two relating to controlled substances and one
relating to mob activity-any two of which would have
qualified him as a career offender pursuant to USSG §
4B1.1. The guideline range for petitioner’s conspiracy
charge was 360 months to life, and the sentencing court
sentenced him to 380 months of imprisonment for this charge.
The sentencing court also sentenced petitioner to a mandatory
consecutive term of 60 months of imprisonment on the charge
of using a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking offense.
appealed, challenging only an evidentiary ruling. The Seventh
Circuit affirmed petitioner’s conviction on January 20,
petitioner began serving his sentence, he has filed several
postconviction motions in the Northern District of
Illinois. On May 7, 1997, petitioner filed a motion
to vacate his sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
The court denied petitioner’s motion, and he appealed.
The Seventh Circuit denied petitioner’s request for a
certificate of appealability. On August 11, 2009, petitioner
filed another motion to vacate his sentence, pursuant to
§ 2255. The court dismissed the petition for lack of
jurisdiction, concluding that it was an unauthorized second
or successive § 2255 petition. On February 24, 2016,
petitioner filed a third motion to vacate his sentence,
pursuant to § 2255. The petition invoked Johnson v.
United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), and so the court
referred the case to the Federal Defender. After the Federal
Defender withdrew, petitioner filed a brief on the merits of
his petition, and the United States filed a reply. The court
ultimately dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction,
concluding that it was an unauthorized second or successive
§ 2255 petition.
27, 2016, about a month after the Northern District of
Illinois dismissed petitioner’s third § 2255
petition, he applied to this court for a writ of habeas
corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
cover letter accompanying his petition to this court,
petitioner writes that his filing is timely because it is
“within the one year decision of
Johnson.” Dkt. 1-3. He further writes that his
“issue is actual innocence of [his] sentencing
enhancement as a career offender under the mandatory
guidelines that are now advisory.” Id. The
petition itself confirms that petitioner is pursuing at least
some relief pursuant to Johnson. He contends that
his enhanced sentence as a career offender is based on a
felony drug conviction in Oklahoma and on a felony conviction
for mob action in Illinois. Dkt. 1, at 11. Petitioner argues
that after Johnson, his mob action conviction no
longer qualifies as a conviction for a crime of violence
under the residual clause in USSG § 4B1.2. Petitioner
acknowledges that he has a second drug conviction from
Arkansas, which would mean that he is still a career offender
even if the mob action conviction no longer qualifies as a
crime of violence. But according to petitioner, that
conviction was for a misdemeanor, not for a felony.
Id. at 12.
are two problems with petitioner’s attack on his
sentence. First, even assuming that he is correct that his
conviction for mob action no longer qualifies as a crime of
violence, he cannot pursue this argument under § 2241.
He must use § 2255. Second, Johnson might make
petitioner’s challenge to the mob action conviction
timely, but it does not make his challenge to the Arkansas
drug conviction timely. Thus, even if petitioner succeeded in
removing the mob action conviction from his list of
qualifying predicate offenses, he would still qualify as a
career offender. I will therefore dismiss petitioner’s
§ 2241 petition.
collaterally attack a sentence, federal prisoners must
ordinarily file a petition under § 2255. Brown v.
Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013). But a
federal prisoner “may petition under section 2241
instead if his section 2255 remedy is ‘inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his
detention.’” Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d
638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e)).
The Seventh Circuit has established three conditions that
must be present for the “inadequate or
ineffective” exception to apply. First, the petitioner
must be relying on a statutory-interpretation case-rather
than on a constitutional case- because § 2255 offers
relief to prisoners who rely on constitutional cases. Second,
the petitioner must be relying on a retroactive decision that
he could not have invoked in his first § 2255 motion.
Third, the ...