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Hobbs v. Julian

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

August 23, 2016

CHARLES V. HOBBS, Petitioner,
v.
STEPHEN JULIAN, Respondent.

          ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge

         For the reason explained in this Entry, petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Charles Hobbs must be denied.

         I.

         “A federal prisoner may use a § 2241 petition for a writ of habeas corpus to attack his conviction or sentence only if § 2255 is ‘inadequate or ineffective.’” Hill v. Werlinger, 695 F.3d 644, 645 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e)). Whether § 2255 is inadequate or ineffective depends on “whether it allows the petitioner ‘a reasonable opportunity to obtain a reliable judicial determination of the fundamental legality of his conviction and sentence.’” Webster v. Daniels, 784 F.3d 1123, 1136 (7th Cir. 2015) (en banc)(quoting Davenport, 147 F.3d at 609). To properly invoke the Savings Clause of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e), a petitioner is required to show “something more than a lack of success with a section 2255 motion, ” i.e., “some kind of structural problem with section 2255.” Id. Thus, it is the inefficacy of the remedy, not the personal inability to use it, which is determinative. Garris v. Lindsay, 794 F.2d 722, 727 (D.C.Cir. 1986). The Seventh Circuit has reviewed the circumstances in which the Savings Clause is properly invoked:

In the wake of [In re] Davenport, [147 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 1998), ] we distilled that holding into a three-part test: a petitioner who seeks to invoke the savings clause of § 2255(e) in order to proceed under § 2241 must establish: (1) that he relies on “not a constitutional case, but a statutory-interpretation case, so [that he] could not have invoked it by means of a second or successive section 2255 motion, ” (2) that the new rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review and could not have been invoked in his earlier proceeding, and (3) that the error is “grave enough . . . to be deemed a miscarriage of justice corrigible therefore in a habeas corpus proceeding, ” such as one resulting in “a conviction for a crime of which he was innocent.” Brown v. Rios, 696 F.3d 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2012); see also Davenport, 147 F.3d at 611 (referencing the procedure as one to correct “a fundamental defect” in the conviction or sentence).

Montana v. Cross, No. 14-3313, 2016 WL 3910054, at *6 (7th Cir. July 19, 2016).

         II.

         Hobbs was charged in August 2005 with drug offenses in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Following the denial of his motion to suppress, Hobbs entered a plea of guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than fifty grams of cocaine base and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Hobbs had sought suppression of evidence obtained during a search of his rental car and the subsequent search of his residence was unlawful. He also argued that police lacked probable cause for his arrest. The denial of his motion to suppress was affirmed in United States v. Hobbs, 509 F.3d 353 (7th Cir. 2007). More specifically, the Court of Appeals first assessed the existence of probable cause for the arrest:

Based on the totality of these circumstances-a record of violent crime, an opportunity to commit the crime, a false exculpatory statement, a confession to a former girlfriend, nervous and bizarre behavior surrounding the news of Hardges possibly surviving the shooting, and the corroboration of the former girlfriend's report to the police-the district court properly concluded that the officers had probable cause to arrest Hobbs for murder.

Id., at 360. The Court of Appeals added that “the officers also had probable cause to arrest Hobbs for driving with a suspended license. The district court properly denied Hobbs's motion to suppress the evidence obtained from Hobbs's car.” Id., at 361.

         The Court of Appeals then assessed the search of the residence, which occurred pursuant to a search warrant issued by an Illinois state judge after a protective sweep of the house by police had revealed an off-white powdery substance on a bedroom dresser:

The complaint for the search warrant included statements that Hobbs was known to be a drug dealer in the community, that he was caught carrying a substantial amount of cocaine immediately after leaving his house, and that drug dealers tend to keep drugs in their houses. This alone was sufficient to establish probable cause.”

Id., at 361.

         In summary, therefore, the Court of Appeals “agree[d] with the district court's conclusion that the officers had probable cause to arrest Hobbs both for the murder of Jason Hardges and for driving with a suspended license. We also agree that the complaint for the search warrant was not dependent on the evidence obtained during the protective sweep. We believe the legally obtained evidence ...


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