Laluz v. Krueger
ORDER & OPINION entered by Chief Judge James E. Shadid on 2/12/2018: IT IS ORDERED that Laluz's Petition for Writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1 ) is DENIED. SEE FULL WRITTEN ORDER & OPINION.(JRK, ilcd)
Monday, 12 February, 2018 11:38:25 AM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Case No. 16-1459
ORDER AND OPINION
Now before the Court is Petitioner Laluz’s Petition for Writ of habeas corpus under 28
U.S.C. § 2241. Doc. 1. For the reasons set forth below, Laluz’s Petition (Doc. 1). is DENIED.
On November 4, 2008, Diego Laluz was charged in a two-count indictment in the
Northern District of Illinois with distribution of five or more grams of cocaine base, in violation
of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). United States v. Laluz, No. 08-CR-00825-1 (N.D. Ill.). The
Government subsequently filed a notice of intent to seek statutory enhanced penalties under 21
U.S.C. § 851 based on Laluz’s prior felony drug convictions in Cook County for manufacture or
delivery of cocaine, in violation of 720 ILCS 570/401(c)(2), and two convictions for
manufacture or delivery of a controlled or counterfeit substance in Schedules I or II, in violation
of 720 ILCS 570/401(d). Doc. 14, at 7. Laluz initially pleaded not guilty, but on May 21, 2009 he
withdrew his plea and entered a blind plea of guilty to both counts of the indictment. Doc. 14, at
The Court ordered the probation officer to prepare a presentence report (“PSR”). Doc. 14.
Based on the three prior drug convictions above, the probation officer determined that Laluz
qualified as a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. Id. at 7. Due to the career offender
enhancement, Laluz’s guideline range was 262 to 327 months. Id. at 29. Without the Chapter
Four enhancement, his guideline range would have been 168 to 210 months. On October 29,
2009, the sentencing court granted a defense motion for departure from the guidelines and
sentenced Laluz to 168 months of imprisonment. The court’s stated basis for the departure was
that Laluz’s criminal history category and the prior sentences imposed significantly overstated
the seriousness of his criminal history, and a guideline sentence would be grossly excessive. See
Doc. 14, at 42–43.
Laluz filed the instant petition on November 28, 2016. Doc. 1. Therein, he argues that
following Mathis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016), his prior convictions should not have
qualified as predicates for the career offender enhancement, and had he not been so designated,
the sentencing judge may have given him a lower sentence. The Government has filed a response
objecting to the petition because (1) Laluz never filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, (2) he
cannot challenge a guideline calculation on collateral review, and (3) Mathis does not invalidate
his prior drug offenses from qualifying as controlled substance offenses or crimes of violence
under the career offender guideline. Doc. 12, at 3. This Order follows.
Generally, federal prisoners who seek to collaterally attack their conviction or sentence
must proceed by way of motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, the so-called “federal prisoner’s
substitute for habeas corpus.” Camacho v. English, 16-3509, 2017 WL 4330368, at *1 (7th Cir.
Aug. 22, 2017) (quoting Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012)). The exception to this
rule is found in § 2255 itself: a federal prisoner may petition under § 2241 if the remedy under §
2255 “is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e).
Under the “escape hatch” of § 2255(e), “[a] federal prisoner should be permitted to seek habeas
corpus only if he had no reasonable opportunity to obtain earlier judicial correction of a
fundamental defect in his conviction or sentence because the law changed after his first 2255
motion.” In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 611 (7th Cir. 1998). Thus, the Seventh Circuit has held
that “alternative relief under § 2241 is available only in limited circumstances: specifically, only
upon showing that (1) the claim relies on a new statutory interpretation case; (2) the petitioner
could not have invoked the decision in his first § 2255 motion and the decision applies
retroactively; and (3) there has been a fundamental defect in the proceedings that is fairly
characterized as a miscarriage of justice.” Montana v. Cross, 829 F.3d 775, 779 (7th Cir.
2016), cert. denied sub nom. Montana v. Werlich, 137 S. Ct. 1813 (2017).
Two decisions from the Seventh Circuit, Hawkins v. United States, 706 F.3d 820 (7th Cir.
2013) (Hawkins I), and Hawkins v. United States, 724 F.3d 915 (7th Cir. 2013) (Hawkins II),
preclude relief for Laluz because together they hold a petitioner may not seek on collateral
review to revisit the district court’s calculation of his advisory guidelines range. The Court is
bound by the Hawkins decisions. Given the interest in finality of criminal proceedings, in
Hawkins I the Seventh Circuit held an erroneous interpretation of the guidelines should not be
corrigible in a postconviction proceeding so long as the sentence actually imposed was not
greater than the statutory maximum. Hawkins I, 706 F.3d at 823–25. It specifically distinguished
the advisory guidelines from the mandatory system in place at the time of Narvaez v. United
States, 674 F.3d 621 (7th Cir. 2011) (holding Narvaez’s improper sentence under the mandatory
guidelines constituted a miscarriage of justice). Hawkins moved for rehearing in light of Peugh v.
United States, 133 S. Ct. 2072 (2013), in which the Supreme Court held the Guidelines were
subject to constitutional challenges “notwithstanding the fact that sentencing courts possess
discretion to deviate from the recommended sentencing range.” Peugh, 133 S. Ct. at 2082. The
Seventh Circuit denied rehearing because Peugh was a constitutional case whereas Hawkins I
involved a miscalculated guidelines range, the legal standard in Peugh was lower than for
postconviction relief, and Peugh’s retroactivity was uncertain. Hawkins II, 724 F.3d at 916–18
(“[I]t doesn’t follow that postconviction relief is proper just because the judge, though he could
lawfully have imposed the sentence that he did impose, might have imposed a lighter sentence
had he calculated the applicable guidelines sentencing range correctly.”). Petitioner Laluz’s claim
is thus untenable, and the Court therefore DENIES his petition.
For the reasons set forth above, Laluz’s Petition for Writ of habeas corpus under 28
U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) is DENIED.
This matter is now terminated.
Signed on this 12th day of February, 2018.
s/ James E. Shadid
James E. Shadid
Chief United States District Judge
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