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Leonard v. Ormon

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

December 19, 2017

BRYAN G. LEONARD PETITIONER
v.
J. RAY ORMOND, Warden, RESPONDENT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DAVID L. BUNNING UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Inmate Bryan Leonard has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. # 1). This matter is before the Court to conduct an initial screening of Leonard's petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419 F. App'x 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         In April 2008, Leonard was indicted for his leadership role in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine in Kansas City, Missouri. Four months later, Leonard signed a written agreement to plead guilty to five of the counts, including:

1. Conspiracy to manufacture and distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846;
2. Creating a substantial risk of harm to human life (by detonating a claymore mine to destroy his meth lab) in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 858;
3. Discharging a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A);
4. Forcibly assaulting Deputy United States Marshall Scott A. McGaha with a dangerous weapon while he was engaged in his official duties in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1); and
5. Maliciously destroying a building by means of fire and explosive materials in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i).

         The plea agreement further recited the sentences Leonard faced under the pertinent statutes and under the sentencing guidelines, as well as his prior conviction for felony drug possession that could subject him to enhanced penalties. Finally, Leonard expressly waived his right to appeal or collaterally attack his convictions or any sentence imposed within the statutory range.

         Because Leonard had two prior convictions for felony drug offenses, he was potentially subject to a mandatory minimum term of life imprisonment on the § 846 drug conspiracy count. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A). However, consistent with the terms of the plea agreement, in August 2008 the government filed a notice pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 851 relying upon only one prior felony drug offense, a 2004 conviction for possession of methamphetamine. As a result, 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A) required a statutory mandatory minimum of 20 years rather than life imprisonment.

         The presentence report concluded that Leonard had an offense level of 49, well above the maximum level of 43 set forth in the guidelines table, and a criminal history category of III. As a result, Leonard faced a statutory minimum of twenty years imprisonment on the drug trafficking conviction, with an advisory guidelines range of life imprisonment.

         In August 2009, the trial court sentenced Leonard to:

1. Life imprisonment on the drug trafficking conviction under ...

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