Pearce, David v. Werlinger
ORDER dismissing 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Signed by District Judge Barbara B. Crabb on 1/8/2014. (elc),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - DAVID PEARCE,
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Petitioner David Pearce, a federal inmate housed at the Federal Correctional
Institution in Oxford, Wisconsin, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28
U.S.C. § 2241 and has paid the required filing fee. The petition is somewhat difficult to
follow, but the picture becomes clearer after consulting the record of petitioner’s criminal
proceedings, United States v. Pearce, Case No. 06-cr-50031 (N.D. Ill.). Petitioner pleaded
guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon and was sentenced on April 27, 2007 to 180 months
of imprisonment after he was found to be an armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C. §
924(e)(1). In 2009, petitioner filed a post conviction motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 that
The petition is before the court for preliminary review pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases. (This rule also may be applied to habeas petitions not brought
under § 2254, such as this petition pursuant to § 2241. Rule 1(b), Rules Governing § 2254
Cases; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2243 (habeas court must award the writ or order respondent to show
cause why the writ should not be granted, unless the application makes it clear petitioner is not
entitled to relief)). Under Rule 4, I must dismiss the petition if it plainly appears from the
petition that petitioner is not entitled to relief; otherwise, I will order respondent to file an
I understand petitioner to be raising four arguments: (1) his due process rights were
violated when the district and appellate courts ignored constitutional violations he attempted
to raise; (2) he received ineffective assistance from his trial and appellate counsel; (3) his
prior burglary convictions relied on by the court for its finding that he qualified as an armed
career criminal were not violent felonies under the law at the time he was sentenced; and (4)
when applied retroactively to his case, Descamps v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013),
makes clear that his burglary offenses should not have counted as violent offenses.
Petitioner brings this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, which allows a court to grant
a writ of habeas corpus for a prisoner who is “in custody in violation of the Constitution or
laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Ordinarily, a federal prisoner
seeking to attack his conviction or sentence must do so on direct appeal or in a motion filed
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Unthank v. Jett, 549 F.3d 534, 534-35 (7th Cir. 2008); Kramer
v. Olson, 347 F.3d 214, 217 (7th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). A prisoner in petitioner’s
situation who has filed one § 2255 motion may pursue relief under § 2241 only if he can
satisfy the mandates of § 2255's so-called “savings clause,” which provides that a prisoner
can use § 2241 if he can show that “the remedy by motion [under § 2255] is inadequate or
ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e); Kramer, 347 F.3d at
217; Taylor v. Gilkey, 314 F.3d 832, 835 (7th Cir. 2002). To demonstrate that § 2255 is
inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention, a prisoner must show three
things: that he is seeking correction of a fundamental defect in his conviction or sentence;
his petition is based on a rule of law not yet established at the time he filed his first § 2255
motion; and that he is barred from bringing a successive § 2255 motion. United States v.
Prevatte, 300 F.3d 792, 799-800 (7th Cir. 2002); In re Davenport, 147 F.3d 605, 610-11
(7th Cir. 1998).
Regarding his first three claims, petitioner cannot show that § 2255 was inadequate
or ineffective to challenge the legality of his detention. These claims are not based on a legal
theory or rule of law that was not yet established at the time he filed his § 2255 motion or
that he could not have raised in his § 2255 motion. He was not prevented from making
these arguments in his initial § 2255 motion, and indeed, it appears that he made arguments
at that time about ineffective assistance of counsel and the court’s finding that his burglary
convictions qualified as violent offenses. Thus, he may not proceed on these claims.
Petitioner’s remaining claim is that Descamps should apply retroactively to his Armed
Career Criminal Act offenses.
Descamps held that courts may not use the “modified
categorical approach,” under which a court may look beyond the statutory elements to “the
charging paper and jury instructions used in a case,” for determining whether a prior
conviction constitutes a violent felony when the criminal statute violated describes a generic
offense rather than a nongeneric statute describing multiple, alternate versions of the crime.
133 S. Ct. at 2283-86 (quotation omitted). The problem for petitioner is that his Armed
Career Criminal Act offenses, two burglary convictions under 720 Ill. Comp. Stat.. 5/19-1(a)
in Bureau County, Illinois case no. 97-CF-34 and Putnam County, Illinois case no. 98-CF-2,
are convictions under a nongeneric burglary statute. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/19-1(a) (“A
person commits burglary when without authority he or she knowingly enters or without
authority remains within a building, housetrailer, watercraft, aircraft, motor vehicle, railroad
car, or any part thereof, with intent to commit therein a felony or theft.”); United States v.
Thornton, 463 F.3d 693, 701 (7th Cir. 2006) (Illinois burglary statute is nongeneric in “that
it criminalizes unlawful entry into structures other than buildings, such as cars, railroad cars,
Thus, even if Descamps did apply retroactively, it would not affect the
application of the Armed Career Criminal Act to petitioner’s convictions. Even after
Descamps, the “modified categorical approach” may be used in examining convictions such
as petitioner’s. Because petitioner is not entitled to relief on any of his claims, I will dismiss
IT IS ORDERED that petitioner David Pearce’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is DISMISSED.
Entered this 8th day of January, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
BARBARA B. CRABB
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