Oliver v. Merlak
Memorandum Opinion and Order For the reasons stated in the Order, Mr. Oliver's § 2241 petition is denied and this action is dismissed. The Court further certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. (Related document 1 ) Signed by Judge Dan Aaron Polster on 11/14/2017. (K,K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
DWAYNE A. OLIVER,
WARDEN STEVEN MERLAK,
CASE NO. 4:17 CV 1409
JUDGE DAN AARON POLSTER
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Pro se petitioner Dwayne A. Oliver has filed this action seeking a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and has paid the filing fee. His petition challenges a career
offender sentence enhancement imposed on him under § 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing
Guidelines in United States v. Oliver, 4: 13 CR 284 (N. D. Ohio). He seeks to vacate that
Mr. Oliver originally filed a motion challenging the sentence enhancement in a motion
he filed in this court, with the assistance of counsel, under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on June 20, 2016.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals authorized this court to consider that motion, instructing the
court to hold the motion in abeyance pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Beckles v. United
States, 136 S. Ct. 2510 (2016), which presented the issue of whether the career offender
enhancement in the Sentencing Guidelines was void for vagueness.
On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Beckles and held that the Sentencing
Guidelines, including § 4B1.2(a)’s residual clause, are not subject to vagueness challenges under
the Due Process Clause. Beckles v. United States, No. 15-8544, 2017 WL 855781, at *5–6,
(U.S. Mar. 6, 2017). In light of that decision, this court ordered Mr. Oliver to show cause why
his motion under § 2255 should not be dismissed.
Mr. Oliver did not demonstrate that he had a valid constitutional claim to vacate his
enhanced sentence after Beckles. Instead, he voluntarily dismissed his § 2255 motion.
Now, he purports to seek relief from his enhanced sentence under § 2241.
The petition must be dismissed. Federal district courts must deny a habeas corpus
petition on initial review if it plainly appears from the face of the petition that the petitioner is
not entitled to relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 2243; Alexander v. Bureau of Prisons, 419 F. App’x 544,
545 (6th Cir. 2011).
In Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2016), the Sixth Circuit held that a prisoner
may raise a sentence-enhancement claim under § 2241 in very limited circumstances, which the
Court defined as
a narrow subset of § 2241 petitions: (1) prisoners who were sentenced under the
mandatory guidelines regime pre-United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 125 S.
Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed. 621 (2005), (2) who are foreclosed from filing a successive
petition under § 2255, and (3) when a subsequent, retroactive change in statutory
interpretation by the Supreme Court reveals that a previous conviction is not a
predicate offense for a career-offender enhancement.
Id. at 599-600.
Mr. Oliver’s petition on its face does not suggest any of these circumstances. Mr. Oliver
was not sentenced under the mandatory guideline regime pre-United States v. Booker, but was
sentenced post-Booker, on May 8, 2014. (See Doc. No. 1 at 10.) In addition, he was not
foreclosed from filing a successive petition under § 2255, and his petition does not demonstrate
that a change in statutory interpretation by the Supreme Court applies retroactively to invalidate
his enhanced sentence.
Accordingly, Mr. Oliver’s § 2241 petition is denied and this action is dismissed. The
Court further certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision
could not be taken in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Dan Aaron Polster
DAN AARON POLSTER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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