United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HORN BOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
Donaveon Lightbourn has filed a pro se petition for
a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
[R. 1] This matter is before the Court to conduct the initial
screening of the petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243.
Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419
Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).
petition will be denied “if it plainly appears from the
petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief.” Rule 4 of the Rules Governing
§ 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts
(applicable to § 2241 petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b)).
The Court evaluates Lightbourn's petition under a more
lenient standard because he is not represented by an
attorney. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007); Franklin v. Rose, 765 F.2d 82, 84-85 (6th
Cir. 1985) (noting that “allegations of a pro se habeas
petition, though vague and conclusory, are entitled to a
liberal construction” including “active
interpretation” toward encompassing “any
allegation stating federal relief”) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted).
October 2008, a federal jury in Miami, Florida, found
Lightbourn guilty of possessing a firearm and ammunition
after having been convicted of a felony in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). During the sentencing hearing,
Lightbourn did not object to information in the Presentence
Investigation Report (“PSR”) indicating that he
had one prior juvenile conviction, ten prior adult
misdemeanor convictions, eleven arrests, and seven prior
adult felony convictions. These offenses involved the use of
marijuana, the brandishing or use of a gun, an assault upon a
police officer, carrying a concealed firearm, and second
degree murder. Of those, the trial court concluded that at
least three qualified as violent felonies or serious drug
offenses within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1),
rendering him subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15
years imprisonment as an armed career criminal. Specifically,
six prior offenses qualified as predicate offenses for
purposes of the §924(e) enhancement:
(1) a 1997 conviction for the possession of cocaine with
intent to sell;
(2) a separate 1997 conviction for the sale of cocaine;
(3) a 1997 conviction for battery upon a law enforcement
(4) a 1999 conviction for possession of cocaine with intent
(5) a 2000 conviction for battery upon a law enforcement
(6) a 2000 conviction for escape.
December 2008, the trial court imposed a sentence of 293
months imprisonment at the upper end of the range established
by the advisory Sentencing Guidelines. United States v.
Lightbourn, No. 1: 08-CV-20367-WPD-1, (S.D. Fla. 2008).
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed both Lightbourn's
conviction and the enhancement of his sentence on direct
appeal. United States v. Lightbourn, 357 Fed.Appx.
259 (11th Cir. 2009).
Supreme Court denied Lightbourn's petition for a writ of
certiorari on May 25, 2010, two months after it had
issued its decision in Johnson v. United States, 559
U.S. 133 (2010). Lightbourn filed a timely motion to vacate
his conviction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on May 10,
2011, which the trial court denied one week later without
requiring a response from the government. The Eleventh
Circuit denied a certificate of appealability.
2015, Lightbourn filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the Middle District of
Florida. In that petition, Lightbourn argued that in light of
the Supreme Court's decisions in Johnson (2010)
and Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135
S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015), his two prior Florida
convictions for battery upon a law enforcement officer did
not qualify as “violent felonies” to enhance his
sentence under § 924(e)(1). He further argued based upon
decisional law predating his conviction and sentencing that
one of his convictions for drug trafficking and one of his
convictions for assaulting a police officer did not
constitute valid predicates because he had pled nolo
contendre to each. That court denied the petition,
finding that Lightbourn's claims were not cognizable in a
habeas corpus petition under § 2241. Lightbourn v.
Warden, No. 5: 15-CV-416-WTH-PRL (M.D. Fla. 2015).
§ 2241 petition before this Court, Lightbourn simply
reiterates a slightly-truncated version of the same arguments
he asserted unsuccessfully in his prior habeas petition. [R.
1 at p. 5] Although Lightbourn set forth in his petition the
required procedural history of his criminal case and initial
collateral review proceedings [R. 1 at pp. 2-3], he omits any
reference to the habeas corpus proceedings which squarely
rejected the same claims he presents here. Were the
respondent to raise the issue, Lightbourn's claims would
plainly be barred as an abuse ...