United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge
petitioner Larry Williams, a federal prisoner incarcerated at
the Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford, Wisconsin,
seeks a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
Williams challenges his sentence from the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, arguing
that the Supreme Court's decision in United States v.
Mathis, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), invalidates his sentence,
which was enhanced by his career-offender status under the
United States Sentencing Guidelines § 4B1.1.
petition is before the court for preliminary review under
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, which the
court may apply to Section 2241 petitions. See Rule
1(b), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. Under Rule 4, a
district court will dismiss the petition only if it plainly
appears that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. For
the reasons discussed below, I will dismiss Williams's
the following facts from Williams's petition, Dkt. 1, his
criminal proceeding, United States v. Williams, No.
04-cr-967 (N.D. Ill. filed Nov. 4, 2004); United States
v. Williams, No. 07-3004 (7th Cir. filed Aug. 23, 2007),
and his prior habeas proceeding, United States v.
Williams, No. 11-cv-607 (N.D. Ill. filed Jan. 24, 2011).
2004, Williams was charged with one count of possession of
cocaine base with the intent to distribute under 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(1)(1). He orally waived his right to a jury trial
in 2007 and proceeded to a bench trial. The court found him
guilty and sentenced him in July 2007. Williams had two
prior convictions that qualified him as a career offender
under § 4B1.1:
(1) a December 23, 1993 conviction for possession of a
controlled substance with intent to deliver under 720 Ill.
Comp. Stat. 570/401; and
(2) a December 23, 1993 conviction for unlawful delivery of a
controlled substance under 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 570/401.
2011, Willaims filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
with the sentencing court, contending that he had ineffective
assistance of counsel and that he was entitled to
resentencing under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. The court
denied his motion.
courts have already concluded that Mathis satisfies
the procedural requirements for a savings-clause § 2241
petition. See e.g., Pulliam v. Krueger,
Case No. 16-cv-1379, 2017 WL 104184, at *2 (C.D. Ill. Jan.
10, 2017); cf. Holt v. United States, 843
F.3d 720, 722 (7th Cir. 2016) (“[S]ubstantive decisions
such as Mathis presumptively apply retroactively on
collateral review.”). I have done the same. See
Edwards v. Williams, No. 17-cv-114, Dkt. 3 (W.D. Wis.
May 11, 2017). So I will screen the merits of Williams's
Taylor v. United States, and its successors,
Descamps v. United States and Mathis, a
district court must first apply the categorical approach when
enhancing sentences under § 924(e) and compare elements
of each prior offense with elements of a generic offense. 495
U.S. 575, 602 (1990); 133 S.Ct. 2276, 2281 (2013); 136 S.Ct.
at 2248. The elements of the offenses govern, and district
judges generally disregard the actual facts of the underlying
offense conduct. Yates v. United States, 842 F.3d
1051, 1052 (7th Cir. 2016).
rule has one exception, which Mathis clarified. When
the relevant statute has a “more complicated (sometimes
called ‘divisible') structure, ” listing
“multiple elements disjunctively, ” the court may
apply the modified categorical approach and examine “a
limited class of documents . . . to determine what crime,
with what elements, a defendant was convicted of.”
Mathis, 136 S.Ct. at 2249. But when the statute
lists multiple “means” to satisfy just one
element-as opposed to listing alternative elements of the
crime-the court cannot apply the modified categorical
approach. Id. at 2253.
contends that Mathis invalidates his career criminal
status under § 4B1.1. Under § 4B1.1, a criminal
defendant is a career ...