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Jackson v. Williams

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

August 23, 2017

GAYLEN JACKSON, Petitioner,
v.
LOUIS WILLIAMS, II, Respondent.

          OPINION & ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON District Judge.

         Pro se petitioner Gaylen Jackson is a prisoner in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) currently housed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford, Wisconsin (FCI-Oxford). He is serving a sentence for a 1998 conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jackson has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging his sentence under Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016).

         The petition is before the court for preliminary review, pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.[1] Under Rule 4, I will dismiss the petition only if it plainly appears that Jackson is not entitled to relief. As discussed below, Jackson is not entitled to the relief that he seeks, so I will dismiss the petition.

         ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

         I draw the following facts from Jackson's petition, Dkt. 1, and publicly available case records.

         Following a 1998 jury trial, Jackson was found guilty of one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The court record is unclear, but Jackson states that he was sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924, which imposes a mandatory minimum 15-year sentence of imprisonment on defendants convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm who have three or more previous convictions for a violent felony. (Without the ACCA sentencing enhancement, the felon-in-possession statute sets only a 10-year maximum sentence with no minimum. See § 924(a)(2).) Jackson has several previous felony convictions. He indicates that the sentencing judge found that the ACCA applied to him because of prior Minnesota convictions for robbery and burglary.[2] The court sentenced Jackson to 20 years of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. His conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

         In 2000, Jackson moved to vacate or set aside his conviction under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the District of Minnesota. The motion was denied. Jackson completed his period of imprisonment and reentered the community on supervised release. In 2016, his supervised release was revoked and he was sentenced to 11 months of imprisonment followed by two years of supervised release. Jackson then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under § 2241 in this court.

         ANALYSIS

         Although postconviction relief to federal prisoners generally must proceed under § 2255, Jackson brings this challenge under § 2241. To obtain relief under § 2241, a habeas petitioner must satisfy three conditions. First, the prisoner must show that he relies on a judicial decision in “a ‘statutory-interpretation case, ' rather than a ‘constitutional case.'” Brown v. Caraway, 719 F.3d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012)). “Second, the prisoner must show that he relies on a retroactive decision that he could not have invoked in his first § 2255 motion.” Id. Third, the prisoner must demonstrate that there was “a grave enough error to be deemed a miscarriage of justice corrigible therefore in a habeas corpus proceeding.” Id. (quoting Rios, 696 F.3d at 640). Jackson plainly cannot satisfy the third condition, so I must dismiss his petition.

         Jackson, who was sentenced under the ACCA, challenges his sentence under Mathis, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. Mathis interpreted the enumerated offense clause within the ACCA, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). The enumerated offense clause defines “violent felony” to include “burglary, arson, or extortion.” In Mathis, the Court reaffirmed the proper process for determining whether a defendant's prior state-law conviction is one of the enumerated violent felonies under § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii): the “categorical approach.” 136 S.Ct. at 2248. Under the categorical approach, the sentencing court should compare the elements of the state law under which the defendant was convicted to the elements of the generic version of the enumerated violent felony. If the state law “define[s] multiple crimes” by listing “elements in the alternative, ” the sentencing court should use the “modified categorical approach, ” which permits a court to look at a “limited class of documents [from the record of a prior conviction] to determine what crime, with what elements, a defendant was convicted of” and then “compare that crime . . . with the relevant generic offense.” Id. at 2249. Upon comparison, if the state law is “the same as, or narrower than, the relevant generic offense, ” it qualifies as an enumerated violent felony. Id. at 2257.

         Jackson satisfies the first condition, because Mathis is a statutory-interpretation case. Dawkins v. United States, 829 F.3d 549, 551 (7th Cir. 2016). As for the second condition, Mathis “appears to be a substantive rule that applies retroactively.” Pulliam v. Krueger, No. 16-cv-1379, 2017 WL 104184, at *2 (C.D. Ill. Jan. 10, 2017); see also Holt v. United States, 843 F.3d 720, 722 (7th Cir. 2016) (“noting that “substantive decisions such as Mathis presumptively apply retroactively on collateral review”). But see Robinson v. Krueger, No. 17-cv-1187, 2017 WL 2407253, at *5 (C.D. Ill. June 2, 2017) (“Mathis is not retroactive.”).

         But Jackson cannot obtain relief under § 2241 because he cannot satisfy the third condition. That is, he cannot demonstrate that there was any error in his sentencing, let alone a grave enough error to be deemed a miscarriage of justice. I take Jackson to contend that under Mathis, the sentencing court erroneously found that three of his prior Minnesota convictions for second-degree burglary, attempted first-degree burglary, simple robbery, and attempted aggravated robbery were violent felonies.

         Beginning with the two 1994 robbery convictions, The Seventh Circuit has held, under the categorical approach required by Mathis, that a conviction under Minnesota's simple robbery statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.24, is a violent felony under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines' force clause, which is identical to the ACCA's force clause: both define violent felony to include crimes that have “as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another.” See United States v. Maxwell, 823 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 401 (2016). Minnesota's aggravated robbery statute, § 609.245, is based on the simple robbery statute, therefore a conviction under the first-degree aggravated robbery statute-including a conviction for attempted first-degree aggravated robbery-is necessarily a violent felony under the force clause, too.

         The 1988 second-degree burglary conviction is a violent felony under the ACCA's enumerated offense clause. “Generic” burglary is “an unlawful or unprivileged entry into, or remaining in, a building or other structure, with intent to commit a crime.” Taylor v. UnitedStates, 495 U.S. 575, 598 (1990). The 1986 version of Minn. Stat. ...


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