United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, Pikeville
JONATHAN H. DAVIS, Petitioner,
GREGORY KIZZIAH, Warden, Respondent.
OPINION & ORDER
E. WIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se Petitioner Jonathan Davis-a federal inmate-seeks a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. DE
1. The Court screens this matter under 28 U.S.C. § 2243
and the applicable standards. Davis, for the following reasons,
is not entitled to the writ.
December 2012, Davis pleaded guilty to possessing crack
cocaine with distributive intent in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1) (Count II) and possessing a firearm as a
convicted felon (Count I) and in furtherance of a drug
trafficking offense (Count III) in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 922(g)(1) & 924(c)(1). United States v.
Davis, No. 1:11-CR-245-PLM-1 (W.D. Mich. 2011)
(Davis I), ECF No. 23. In his plea agreement, Davis
acknowledged that he faced an ACCA-enhanced “sentence
of at least fifteen years' up to life imprisonment”
because he had three (or more) prior convictions for serious
drug offenses or violent felonies. Id. at ECF No. 22
at 3. Davis further agreed that he was subject to a sentence
of “five years up to life imprisonment” for the
§ 924(c) offense. Id.
the plea agreement, Davis, at sentencing, disputed the ACCA
enhancement. Davis conceded that he had two qualifying
predicates. Davis I, ECF No. 39 at 13. Davis's
juvenile criminal history included two candidates for the
third § 924(e) predicate: a 1994 Michigan conviction for
possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, M.C.L. §
333.7401(2)(a)(iv), and a 1995 Michigan conviction for second
degree home invasion. See Davis I, ECF No. 39 at 15
& 39. At the conclusion of a lengthy sentencing hearing,
the trial court found that Davis had “three or possibly
four” ACCA predicate convictions. Id. at 59.
Ultimately, the trial court sentenced Davis to 324 total
months based on the Sentencing Guidelines, which
far exceeded the ACCA's mandatory minimum. See Davis
v. United States, 533 Fed.Appx. 576, 583 (6th Cir.)
(Davis II), cert. denied, 571 U.S. 1114
direct appeal, the Sixth Circuit did not reach the merits of
Davis's challenge to the sentencing enhancement, noting
instead that even if the trial court erred in applying the
ACCA, such error was harmless because the sentence fell
within the applicable Guideline range and, being “well
more than the 15-year mandatory minimum established by the
ACCA, ” was based upon the Guidelines rather than the
statutory mandatory minimum. Id.; see also
Brief of Appellee United States of America, 2013 WL 635493,
at *44-46 (6th Cir. Feb. 12, 2013) (noting that, with or
without the ACCA enhancement, Davis faced a 262-327 month
Guideline range based on an uncontested career-offender
Davis first argues that his 264-month sentence for Counts I
and II exceeded the applicable statutory maximum. Per Davis,
the statutory maximum was 240 months on Count II because he
was not sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal on Count I.
See DE 1 at 6; DE 1-1 at 5; DE 5. However, the
record conclusively shows that Davis is simply incorrect.
discussed, Davis agreed that he was an Armed Career Criminal,
and the sentencing court explicitly found that Davis had
sufficient predicate offenses. The Sixth Circuit, on direct
appeal, specifically noted that the trial court
“appl[ied] the ACCA's mandatory minimum.”
Davis II, 533 Fed.Appx. at 583. In truth, it seems
that Davis simply misunderstands the Sixth Circuit's
ruling. The Sixth Circuit did not say that the trial court
did not sentence Davis under the ACCA, or that the sentencing
court was wrong to apply it. Rather, the Court of
Appealsfound that even if the ACCA was inapplicable, the
undisputed effect of the career offender enhancement would
have given him the same Guideline range and, based on the
sentencing court's findings, the same ultimate
total sentence. See Davis II, 533
Fed.Appx. at 583; Davis v. United States, No.
1:14-CV-1300 (Davis III), 2017 WL 1159807, at *2
(W.D. Mich. Mar. 29, 2017) (“[T]he Court found that
[Davis] was an armed career criminal[.]”).
had and lost his shot on ACCA application. Count 1 carried a
possible life term, so the total Count 1 & 2 264-month
sentence did not exceed the Count 1 max, which is
Petitioner's current complaint.
Davis challenges his career offender enhancement in light of
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), and
United States v. Hinkle, 832 F.3d 596 (5th Cir.
2016). Per Davis, his Michigan convictions for possession
with intent to deliver cocaine no longer qualify as
“controlled substance offenses” because the
Michigan statute criminalizes a broader range of conduct than
a generic controlled substance offense as defined in U.S.S.G.
§ 4B1.2(b). DE 1-1 at 5-8. Because the argument
challenges the validity of his sentence (rather than the
manner of its execution), Davis needed to assert this claim
in a § 2255 motion in the court that convicted and
sentenced him. Capaldi v. Pontesso, 135 F.3d 1122,
1123-24 (6th Cir. 2003). Under a narrow exception to this
rule, a prisoner may challenge the enhancement of his federal
sentence in a § 2241 petition if: the petitioner was
foreclosed from asserting the claim in a successive petition
under § 2255; and after the petitioner's sentence
became final, the Supreme Court issued a retroactively
applicable decision invalidating-as a matter of statutory
interpretation-an enhancement predicate. Hill v.
Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 595, 599-600 (6th Cir. 2016).
Davis fails to qualify for the Hill
issued on June 23, 2016, more than a month before Davis moved
to supplement his then-pending § 2255 motion and more
than six months before the trial court denied § 2255
relief. See Davis III, No. 1:14-CV-1300, at ECF Nos.
26 & 28. Stated otherwise, Davis had “meaningful
time to incorporate” any Mathis argument into
his § 2255 filings. See Hill, 836 F.3d at
594-95. Thus, Davis, facing the burden, failed to show that
the § 2255 remedy was inadequate as to his
Mathis challenge. See Id. at 594. The
procedural sequence forecloses savings clause relief.
Davis, to the extent he relies on the Fifth Circuit's
Hinkle decision, fails to satisfy Hill.
Hill mandates reliance on Supreme Court decisions.
836 F.3d at 599-600.In sum, and as to both the Mathis
& Hinkle bases, Davis's career offender
challenge does not qualify under the § 2255(e) savings
clause and, thus, it is not cognizable on § 2241
the Court notes that even if it were to find a
Mathis challenge cognizable and that the Michigan
manufacturing charge was too broad to qualify as a § 4B
1.2(b) “controlled substance offense, ” that
conclusion would not render the career offender enhancement
improper. The Guidelines require only
“two prior felony convictions of
either a crime of violence or a controlled substance
offense” for career offender status. See
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. Davis does not, here, challenge any of
the other cited convictions that serve as career offender
predicates. D ...