United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
Jane Magnus-Stinson, United States District Court Chief Judge
Michael Winters is an inmate currently housed at the United
States Penitentiary, located in Terre Haute, Indiana. He
brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241. For the following reasons,
Winters' habeas petition must be denied.
was indicted in the Western District of Michigan and pleaded
guilty to one count of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d). United States v.
Winters, 1:05-cr-99-JTN-1 (W.D. Mich. Jan. 26, 2006)
(“Crim. Dkt.”). Under the terms of his written
plea agreement, Winters agreed that the court would make the
final determination of the Guideline range that applies in
his case, and may impose a sentence within, above, or below
the guideline range, subject to the statutory maximum
penalties. Crim. Dkt. 40. No. Guidelines were identified in
the plea agreement.
sentencing, Winters' offense level under the Guidelines
was adjusted in a number of ways. At issue here is the
enhancement for being found to be a career offender. Because
Winters has three prior convictions for breaking and
entering, he was determined to be a career offender within
the meaning of U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 and his total offense
level became 34. PSR ¶ 58. These felonies included three
convictions in Michigan for Breaking and Entering a Building
with Intent - on November 13, 1992, December 18, 1992, and
January 8, 1993. Dkt. 1 at 14.
on a total offense level of 34 and a criminal history
category of VI, Winters' Guideline range for imprisonment
was 262 to 327 months, but pursuant to U.S.S.G. §
5G1.2(c)(1), the Guideline range became 262 to 300 months.
PSR ¶ 120. At the hearing, the sentencing judge
recognized that the Guidelines “are presumed to be of
guidance only” and that he could “go up and down
anywhere you want to under [§] 3553.” Crim. Dkt.
58 at 57; e.g., Crim. Dkt. 58 at 29 (recognizing
that the Guidelines are “advisory”). The judge
noted the Guideline calculation and stated that the
“Court's duty is to impose a sentence sufficient
but not greater than is necessary to comply with the purposes
of [§] 3553 (a).” Crim. Dkt. 58 at 63. After
discussing the appropriate factors, the judge sentenced
Winters to 264 months' imprisonment, concluding that the
sentence was “not greater than necessary to comply with
the purposes of Section 3553 (a)” and was consistent
with the Guideline range. Crim. Dkt. 58 at 66; Crim. Dkt 54.
raised two sentencing issues on direct appeal. Winters argued
that he should have received a reduction for acceptance of
responsibility and that the enhancement for use of a
dangerous weapon was improper. The Sixth Circuit disagreed
and affirmed Winters' sentence. See United States v.
Winters, 247 Fed.Appx. 665 (6th Cir. 2007).
30, 2008, Winters filed a motion to vacate his sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 claiming ineffective
assistance of counsel. Crim. Dkt. 68. Winters' §
2255 motion was denied, and he was denied a certificate of
appealability. On August 14, 2014, the Sixth Circuit granted
Winters authorization to file a successive habeas motion in
the district court pursuant to Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). In light of Beckles
v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 889, 895 (2017),
Winters' § 2255 motion was denied. Winters v.
United States, No. 1:16-cv-986 (W.D. Michigan 2016).
now seeks relief pursuant to § 2241 arguing that under
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), his
sentence should not have been enhanced based on his state
succeed on a motion for relief under § 2241, a motion
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 must be “inadequate
or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.”
28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Section 2255 is inadequate or
ineffective if the following three requirements are met:
“(1) the petitioner must rely on a case of statutory
interpretation (because invoking such a case cannot secure
authorization for a second § 2255 motion); (2) the new
rule must be previously unavailable and apply retroactively;
and (3) the error asserted must be grave enough to be deemed
a miscarriage of justice, such as the conviction of an
innocent defendant.” Davis v. Cross, 863 F.3d
962, 964 (7th Cir. 2017).
parties agree that Winters has met the first two requirements
to bring a § 2241 case.But the parties disagree regarding
whether Winters' petition satisfies the third requirement
for relief under § 2241 - that the error is grave enough
to be a miscarriage of justice. The respondent argues that
Mathis does not apply to Winters' claims. The
respondent argues that there was no error in sentencing
Winters and therefore no manifest injustice. Winters argues
that his burglary convictions are not sufficient to enhance
his sentence and his sentence was therefore improperly
enhanced. For the following reasons, the Court finds that
Mathis does apply to Winters' claims, but that
Winters has not demonstrated a miscarriage of justice as
required to warrant relief.
Supreme Court held in Mathis that a crime counts as
“burglary” under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”) only “if its elements are the same
as, or narrower than, those of the generic offense.”
Mathis, 136 S.Ct. at 2248. “But if the crime
of conviction covers any more conduct than the generic
offense, then it is not an ACCA ‘burglary'-even if
the defendant's actual conduct (i.e., the facts of the
crime) fits within the generic offense's
boundaries.” Id. The generic offense of
burglary contains “the following elements: an unlawful