Helmer v. USA
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER, The Court DENIES Ms. Helmer's § 2255 Motion (Doc. 1) and DISMISSES this action. The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to enter judgment accordingly. The Court DENIES a certificate of appealability. Signed by Judge J. Phil Gilbert on 9/21/2016. (jdh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
LORI A. HELMER,
Case No. 16-cv-01039-JPG
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on petitioner Lori A. Helmer’s Motion to Vacate, Set
aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 1). The Government has not filed
a response and the time for doing so has not expired. However, a response from the government
is not required by the Court. For the following reasons, the Court denies Ms. French’s motion.
On November 15, 2013, Ms. Helmer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to
manufacture methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. See United States v. Helmer,
Case No. 13-cr-40089-JPG-3 (Doc. 65). On February 6, 2015, the undersigned Judge sentenced
Ms. Helmer to 87 months imprisonment, three years supervised release, a $100 special
assessment, and a $100 fine1. (Doc. 126, 13-cr-40089). The Court found that there were no
aggravating or mitigating role adjustments. (Doc. 128, 13-cr-40089).
Ms. Helmer’s § 2255 motion argues that Amendment 794 with regard to a mitigating
role reduction should be applied retroactively to her sentence. She states that she, “was a mere
‘peon’ in the entire scheme” and that her role was minor compared with other in the conspiracy.
The 2013 United States Sentencing Guidelines, incorporating all guideline amendments, was used to calculate
defendant’s offense level and recommended sentencing range.
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.
“[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 Ms. Helmer is not entitled to any
Amendment 794 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines became effective on
November 1, 2015. Although Amendment 794 has been held retroactive on direct appeal, it has
not been held retroactive for collateral review.
See U.S.S.G §§ 1B1.10(d)(listing covered
amendments for retroactivity); U.S. v. Quintero-Leyva, 823 F.3d. 519, 521 nt 1 (9th Cir.
2016)(holding that Amendment 794 applies retroactively in direct appeals, but declining to
determine whether the amendment applies to “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. As such, the Court properly used the
sentencing guideline manual in effect on the date of the petitioner’s sentencing. See U.S.S.G §
3. Certificate of Appealability
Having denied Ms. Helmer’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. Ms. Helmer has made no such showing. Therefore, the Court denies a
certificate of appealability. Pursuant to Rule 11(a), Ms. Helmer may not appeal the denial of a
certificate of appealability, but she may seek a certificate from the Court of Appeals for the
Accordingly, this Court DENIES Ms. Helmer's § 2255 Motion (Doc. 1) and
DISMISSES this action.
The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to enter judgment
accordingly. Further, the Court DENIES a certificate of appealability.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/J. Phil Gilbert
J. PHIL GILBERT
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