Thomas, Jacobie v. Williams, Louis

Filing 2

ORDER dismissing petitioner Jacobie Thomas's 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Signed by District Judge James D. Peterson on 1/11/2018. (jef),(ps)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN JACOBIE L. THOMAS, v. Petitioner, OPINION & ORDER 17-cv-468-jdp LOUIS WILLIAMS, II, Respondent. Federal prisoner Jacobie Thomas has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He challenges a “career offender” sentencing enhancement he received under § 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which applies under certain circumstances when a defendant has two prior felony convictions for a “crime of violence” or a “controlled substance offense.” Thomas contends that his prior conviction for residential burglary in Illinois under 720 ILCS 5/19–3 does not qualify as a “crime of violence” under United States v. Mathis, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016), so he does not qualify as a career offender. 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). 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 answer. See also 28 U.S.C. § 2243 (habeas court must award writ or order respondent to show cause why writ should not be granted, unless application makes it clear that petitioner is not entitled to relief). I will dismiss Thomas’s petition for two reasons, one procedural and one substantive. First, under Hawkins v. United States, 724 F.3d 915, 916 (7th Cir. 2013), “an error in calculating a defendant's guidelines sentencing range does not justify postconviction relief unless the defendant [was] sentenced in the pre-Booker era, when the guidelines were mandatory rather than merely advisory.” See also United States v. Coleman, 763 F.3d 706, 708–09 (7th Cir. 2014) (recognizing that Hawkins is “the law of this circuit”). Thomas was sentenced in 2010, several years after the Supreme Court held that the guidelines are advisory in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), so Hawkins bars his claim. Second, even if Thomas could bring a § 2241 petition to challenge an enhancement under the sentencing guidelines, his claim would fail on the merits. In Smith v. United States, 877 F.3d 720 (7th Cir. 2017), the court held that a violation of 720 ILCS 5/19-3 qualifies as a violent felony for the purpose of a sentencing enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). 1 Because a “violent felony” under the ACCA and a “crime of violence” under the sentencing guidelines have the same definition, Prevatte v. Merlak, 865 F.3d 894, 900 (7th Cir. 2017), the holding in Smith applies to Thomas’s claim as well. Under Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, the court must issue or deny a certificate of appealability when entering a final order adverse to a petitioner. But “federal prisoners proceeding under § 2241 need not obtain a certificate of appealability,” Sanchez-Rengifo v. Caraway, 798 F.3d 532, 535 n.3 (7th Cir. 2015), so I do not need to decide whether Thomas is entitled to a certificate. 1 Smith applies to individuals convicted under post-1982 versions of the Illinois statute. Thomas does not say in his petition when he was convicted of burglary, but the decision denying his motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 shows that he was charged with burglary in 2000. Thomas v. United States, No. 16-2056, 2016 WL 4596342, at *1 n.1 (C.D. Ill. Sept. 2, 2016). 2 ORDER IT IS ORDERED that petitioner Jacobie Thomas’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 is DISMISSED. Entered January 11, 2018. BY THE COURT: /s/ ________________________________________ JAMES D. PETERSON District Judge 3

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