Lindsey v. USA
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER, The Court DENIES the petitioner's § 2255 motion (Doc. 1); DISMISSES this action; DECLINES to issue a certificate of appealability; and DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge J. Phil Gilbert on 1/23/2017. (jdh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Civil Case No. 16-cv-878-JPG
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Crim. Case No. 14-cr-40034-JPG
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on petitioner Sarah Lindsey’s Motion to Vacate, Set
Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 1). A response from the
Government is not required by the Court. For the following reasons, the Court denies Lindsey’s
On September 17, 2014, Lindsey pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture
methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) and 846. See United States v. Lindsey,
Case No. 14-cr-40034-JPG (Doc. 25, 14-cr-40034-JPG). On March 3, 2015, the Court sentenced
Lindsey to 110 months of imprisonment (120 months with 10 months’ credit), 3 years on
supervised release, a $100 special assessment, and a $100 fine1 (Doc. 43, 14-cr-40034-JPG).
The Court found that there were no aggravating or mitigating role adjustments (Doc. 38, 14-cr40034-JPG).
The sole argument in petitioner’s § 2255 motion is that United States Sentencing
Guideline Manual (“U.S.S.G.”) Amendment 794, which became effective November 1, 2015,
The 2014 United States Sentencing Guidelines, incorporating all guideline amendments, were
used to calculate defendant’s offense level and recommended sentencing range.
and amended the commentary and notes to U.S.S.G. § 3B1.2 regarding the mitigating role
reduction, should be applied retroactively to reduce her sentence.
The Court must grant a § 2255 motion when a defendant’s “sentence was imposed in
violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255. However,
“[h]abeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is reserved for extraordinary situations.” Prewitt
v. United States, 83 F.3d 812, 816 (7th Cir. 1996). “Relief under § 2255 is available only for
errors of constitutional or jurisdictional magnitude, or where the error represents a fundamental
defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.” Kelly v. United States, 29
F.3d 1107, 1112 (7th Cir. 1994) (quotations omitted). It is proper to deny a § 2255 motion
without an evidentiary hearing if, “the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively
demonstrate that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); see Sandoval v.
United States, 574 F.3d 847, 850 (7th Cir. 2009). No evidentiary hearing has been conducted in
this matter as the records and files clearly demonstrate that the petitioner is not entitled to any
Amendment 794 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines became effective on
November 1, 2015. Although Amendment 794 has been applied retroactively on direct appeal, it
has not been held retroactive on collateral review. See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(d) (listing retroactive
amendments); United States v. Quintero-Leyva, 823 F.3d 519, 521 n. 1 (9th Cir. 2016) (holding
that Amendment 794 applies retroactively in direct appeals, but declining to determine whether
“a defendant who has exhausted his direct appeal can move to reopen sentencing proceedings”).
The petitioner has not cited to any controlling case law that Amendment 794 applies
retroactively on collateral review. As Amendment 794 is not retroactive on collateral review, it
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cannot provide a basis for relief under § 2255.2 The Court properly used the sentencing
guideline manual in effect on the date of the petitioner’s sentencing with regard to the
petitioner’s participation in the offense. See U.S.S.G. § 1B1.11.
Certificate of Appealability
Having denied the petitioner’s motion, the Court must grant or deny a certificate of
appealability. See Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United
States District Courts; 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c). Section 2253(c)(2) provides that a certificate of
appealability may issue only if a petitioner has made a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right. The petitioner has made no such showing. Therefore, the Court declines to
issue a certificate of appealability. Pursuant to Rule 11(a), the petitioner may not appeal the
denial of a certificate of appealability, but she may seek a certificate from the Court of Appeals
for the Seventh Circuit.
Based on the above, this Court:
DENIES the petitioner’s § 2255 motion (Doc. 1);
DISMISSES this action;
DECLINES to issue a certificate of appealability; and
DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to enter judgment accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: January 23, 2017
s/ J. Phil Gilbert
J. PHIL GILBERT
Should Amendment 794 become applicable on collateral review and have the effect of lowering
the petitioner’s sentencing guideline range, she may seek a reduction under 18 U.S.C.
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