United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood, Senior U.S. District Judge.
inmate Kevin Norris Guyton has filed a pro se
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241. Guyton contends that in light of the Sixth
Circuit's recent decision in Raines v. United
States, 898 F.3d 680 (6th Cir. 2018), his 2006 federal
sentence was improperly enhanced based upon a prior Florida
conviction for extortion. [R. 1] This matter is before the
Court to screen the petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2243. Alexander v. Northern Bureau of Prisons, 419
Fed.Appx. 544, 545 (6th Cir. 2011).
March 2006, a federal jury in Florida found Guyton guilty of
trafficking in cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(a). Over Guyton's objection, the trial court
concluded that his prior Florida conviction for second-degree
extortion constituted a “crime of violence” under
the Sentencing Guidelines. Because Guyton had at least one
other predicate offense,  he qualified as a career offender under
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a). In July 2006 the trial court
imposed a 262-month sentence at the bottom of the guidelines
range. United States v. Guyton, No. 9:
05-CR-80135-DTKH-2 (S.D. Fla. 2005) [R. 3, 24, 73, 87, 94-99,
111 therein]. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed Guyton's
conviction and sentence on direct appeal.
2008 Guyton filed a motion to vacate his conviction and
sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Guyton contended,
among other things, that his counsel was ineffective because
he did not argue that extortion under Florida law was not a
“crime of violence” for purposes of the
Sentencing Guidelines. The trial court rejected that
argument, noting that “the offense of
‘extortion' is one of the specifically enumerated
‘crimes of violence' under U.S.S.G.
§§4B1.1, 4B1.2(a)(2).” The Eleventh Circuit
agreed and affirmed on appeal. Guyton v. United
States, No. 9:08-CV-80816-DTKH (S.D. Fla. 2008),
aff'd, 447 Fed.Appx. 136 (11th Cir. 2011).
Guyton has filed four additional motions under § 2255
and four habeas corpus petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
present § 2241 petition, Guyton asserts that his prior
Florida conviction for extortion is not a “crime of
violence” in light of the Sixth Circuit's decision
in Raines. [R. 5] In that decision, the Sixth
Circuit held that a conviction for collecting credit by
extortionate means in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 894(a)(1)
is not a “violent felony” under the Armed Career
Criminal Act because it does not necessarily entail the
“use of force” required by 18 U.S.C. §
924(e)(2)(B)(i) and because the statute proscribes a broader
range of conduct than the “generic” offense of
extortion specifically enumerated in § 924(e)(2)(B)(2).
Raines, 898 F.3d at 688-89.
this Court must deny Guyton's petition because his claim
under Raines is not cognizable in a habeas corpus
petition filed under § 2241. Resort to a § 2241
petition as a vehicle to challenge the enhancement of a
federal sentence is only permissible where (1) the
petitioner's sentence was imposed when the Sentencing
Guidelines were mandatory before the Supreme Court's
decision in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220
(2005); (2) the petitioner was foreclosed from asserting the
claim in an initial or successive petition under § 2255;
and (3) after the petitioner's sentence became final, the
Supreme Court issued a retroactively applicable decision
establishing that as a matter of statutory interpretation a
prior conviction used to enhance his federal sentence no
longer qualified as a valid predicate offense. Hill v.
Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 595, 599-600 (6th Cir. 2016).
claim under Raines fails to satisfy at least the
first and third criteria. Guyton was sentenced in July 2006,
after Booker rendered the Sentencing Guidelines no
longer mandatory. Guyton was thus sentenced at the very
bottom of an advisory guidelines range of 262 to 327 months.
In addition, Guyton's claim is not based upon a
retroactively applicable decision of the United States
Supreme Court as required to invoke § 2241. Charles
v. Chandler, 180 F.3d 753, 755 (6th Cir. 1999) (per
curiam); Wooten v. Cauley, 677 F.3d 303, 308-09
(6th Cir. 2012); Williams v. Warden, Federal Bureau of
Prisons, 713 F.3d 1332, 1342-44 (11th Cir. 2013). Nor
does the decision in Raines provide a basis for
relief because its discussion is limited to a prior offense
committed under a distinct federal statute, 18 U.S.C. §
894(a)(1), not the Florida statute under which Guyton was
convicted, Fla. Stat. 836.05.
Guyton could pursue his claim in a § 2241 petition, it
is substantively without merit. As this Court explained in
addressing a § 2241 petition Guyton filed in 2013,
Guyton v. Quintana, No. 5: 13-CV-322-KKC (E.D. Ky.
2013), the Florida extortion statute qualifies as an
enumerated offense under the Sentencing Guidelines'
career offender provision. A prior offense will qualify as a
valid predicate if the statute of conviction defines the
offense in a manner commensurate with the
“generic” version of the offense, meaning as
“now used in the criminal codes of most States.”
Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575, 598-99
Taylor, the Supreme Court derived its
“generic” definition of burglary by drawing upon
the definition provided by the Model Penal Code.
Taylor, 495 U.S. at 598 n.8. The offense of
“theft by extortion” under the Model Penal
compares appropriately to Florida's statutory offense of
extortion and hence qualifies as an enumerated
offense under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2). Both provisions
refer to threats to commit bodily injury, making criminal
accusations, and exposing sensitive nonpublic information.
Indeed, in several regards the offence conduct described in
the Model Penal Code is broader, including several types of
conduct not expressly proscribed by the Florida statute.
Supreme Court indicated in Taylor, if the defendant
is convicted of an enumerated offense in a state utilizing a
generic definition of the offense but with only minor
variations in terminology, the court “need find only
that the state statute corresponds in substance to the
generic meaning” of the enumerated offense.
Taylor, 495 U.S. at 598. In addressing a prior
collateral attack by Guyton the Eleventh Circuit noted that
his Florida extortion conviction appeared to qualify as a
valid predicate offense:
[T]he Florida extortion statute, which makes it a crime to
“maliciously threaten” another person with both
physical and nonphysical harm, may well fall within the
generic definition the Supreme Court has given to extortion
in other contexts - “obtaining something of value from
another with his consent induced by the wrongful use of
force, fear, or threats.”
Guyton, 447 Fed.Appx. at 140 (citing Scheidler
v. Nat'l Org. for Women, Inc., 537 U.S.
393, 409 (2003)). The Court agrees: the Florida statute
defines extortion in a manner that “substantially
corresponds” to the generic version of the offense for
purposes of § 4B1.2(a)(2). Guyton's claim for habeas
relief from his sentence is therefore also substantively
IT IS ...