United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
DEANDRE L. DOUGLAS, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF
EVANS BARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
reasons explained in this Order, the motion of DeAndre L.
Douglas for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 must be
denied and this action dismissed
with prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that a
certificate of appealability should not issue.
§ 2255 Standard
motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is the presumptive
means by which a federal prisoner can challenge his
conviction or sentence. See Davis v. United States,
417 U.S. 333, 343 (1974). A court may grant relief from a
federal conviction or sentence pursuant to § 2255
“upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in
violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States,
or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such
sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral
attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). The scope of relief
available under § 2255 is narrow, limited to “an
error of law that is jurisdictional, constitutional, or
constitutes a fundamental defect which inherently results in
a complete miscarriage of justice.” Borre v. United
States, 940 F.2d 215, 217 (7th Cir. 1991) (internal
November 2004, Mr. Douglas was arrested as part of a sting
operation targeting a group that was planning to rob 20
kilograms of cocaine from a drug dealer. See dkt. 15
at 1; Presentence Report (“PSR”) (sealed) at
¶¶ 9-28. After being told about this group's
existence by a confidential informant, an undercover agent
approached the group with “information” about
cocaine that could be stolen. Id. at ¶¶
9-11. Mr. Douglas and his co-conspirators gathered firearms,
ski masks, duct tape, and other essential “tools”
to complete the robbery. Id. at ¶¶ 12-24.
The undercover agent led the group to a storage unit, where
law enforcement surrounded them, and took them into custody.
Id. at ¶¶ 24-28. Mr. Douglas was charged
in an eleven-count indictment as a result of this sting
operation. Id. at ¶ 1.
April 11, 2005, Mr. Douglas filed a petition to enter a
guilty plea along with a plea agreement. USA v. Mann et
al., No. 1:04-cr-00201-SEB-TAB-2 (hereinafter
“Crim. Dkt.”), Dkt. 32 at 4. The plea agreement,
entered pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(A) and
11(c)(1)(C), provided that Mr. Douglas would plead guilty to
two of the eleven counts: one count of conspiracy to possess
with intent to distribute and/or distribute 5 kilograms or
more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount
of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1),
(b)(1)(A)(ii); and one count of count of carrying a firearm
in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). Crim. Dkt. at JAMS Dkt. 33
(“Plea agreement”). As part of this bargain, the
parties agreed that Mr. Douglas would receive a sentence of
270 months' imprisonment. Id. at 2, ¶ 4.
Mr. Douglas agreed to expressly waive his right to appeal his
conviction and sentence. Id. at 3, ¶ 9. He also
agreed “not to contest, or seek to modify, his
conviction or sentence or the manner in which it was
determined in any collateral attack, including, but not
limited to, an action brought under 28 U.S.C. §
2255.” Id. at 3-4, ¶ 9. Mr. Douglas
stipulated in his plea agreement that he had two prior
convictions for crimes of violence and was a career offender
pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines
(“U.S.S.G.”) § 4B1.1. Id. at 4,
¶ 10(b). Specifically, those two prior convictions were:
(1) on October 8, 1998, for resisting law enforcement, a
class D Felony under Indiana law, in Marion County, Indiana,
No. 49F189802DF021329; and (2) on October 6, 2000, for child
molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor, in Marion
County, Indiana, No. 49G019906CF105408. Id.
Douglas appealed his conviction and sentence, although his
attorney later filed a motion to withdraw, asserting that the
appeal was frivolous pursuant to Anders v.
California, 386 U.S. 738, 744 (1967). United States
v. Douglas, 182 Fed.Appx. 558, 558-59 (7th Cir. May 30,
2006). The Seventh Circuit held that Mr. Douglas' guilty
plea was voluntary and therefore the appeal waiver was valid
and therefore any potential arguments were frivolous under
the appeal waiver. Id. at 559.
2015, the Supreme Court held that the so-called residual
clause of the ACCA (Armed Career Criminal Act) was
unconstitutionally vague. Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 2551, 2563 (2015). The ACCA defines “violent
felony” as “any crime punishable by imprisonment
for a term exceeding one year” that 1) “has as an
element the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical
force against the person of another;” 2) “is
burglary, arson, or extortion, [or] involves the use of
explosives;” or 3) “otherwise involves conduct
that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to
another.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B). These three
“clauses” are respectively known as 1) the
elements clause, 2) the enumerated clause, and 3) the
residual clause. In Johnson, the Supreme Court ruled
that the residual clause was unconstitutionally vague. In
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), the
Supreme Court discussed the appropriate analysis to use when
comparing past convictions to a generic offense listed under
the enumerated clause of the ACCA. The career offender
enhancement (§ 4B1.1) in the U.S.S.G. contains language
similar to the ACCA.
22, 2016, Mr. Douglas filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or
correct his conviction and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, alleging that, post-Johnson, he is no
longer a career offender because his prior convictions no
longer qualify as “crimes of violence.” Dkt. 1.
Douglas seeks relief pursuant to § 2255 arguing that his
prior Indiana resisting arrest conviction is not a predicate
offense in view of the Supreme Court decision under
Johnson. Dkt. 15 at 2; Dkt. No. 16 at 4. Mr. Douglas
does not dispute that his conviction for child molestation
remains a “crime of violence.” The United States
argues that Mr. Douglas is bound to his § 2255 waiver in
his plea agreement. Dkt. 20 at 3-5. Additionally, the United
States argues that Mr. Douglas' claim is foreclosed by
the Supreme Court's holding in Beckles v. United
States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). Id. at 6-7. In
reply, Mr. Douglas argues that his plea agreement should be
vacated as a result of a “mutual mistake” between
the parties, but actually requests that the Court exercise
its “equitable remedial power” to consider the
impact of Johnson to his sentence. Dkt. 25 at 2-7.
Mr. Douglas also argues that Beckles is not
applicable to his claim. Id. at 8-13.
order for a plea to be valid, it must be made voluntarily,
knowingly, and intelligently. United States v. Hays,
397 F.3d 564, 567 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing United States
v. Gilliam, 255 F.3d 428, 432-33 (7th Cir. 2001)).
“A defendant may validly waive both his right to a
direct appeal and his right to collateral review under §
2255 as part of his plea agreement.” Keller v.
United States, 657 F.3d 675, 681 (7th Cir. 2011);
see also Solano v. United States, 812 F.3d 573, 577
(7th Cir. 2016). Such waivers are upheld and enforced with
limited exceptions in cases in which (1) “the plea
agreement was involuntary, ” (2) “the district
court relied on a constitutionally impermissible factor (such
as race), ” (3) “the sentence exceeded the
statutory maximum, ” or (4) the defendant claims
ineffective assistance of counsel in relation to the
negotiation of the plea agreement. Id. (internal
quotations omitted); Gaylord v. United States, 829
F.3d 500, 505 (7th Cir. 2016). The Seventh Circuit has
specifically stated that both statutory and constitutional
rights can be waived in a plea agreement. Jones v. United
States, 167 F.3d 1142, 1144 (7th Cir. 1999); United
States v. Woolley, 123 F.3d 627, 631-32 (7th Cir. 1997);
United States v. Feichtinger,105 F.3d 1188, 1190
(7th Cir. 1997); see also United States v. Woods,
581 F.3d 531, 534 (7th Cir. 2009); United Statesv. Emerson, 349 F.3d 986, 988 (7th Cir. 2003);
United States v. Worthen, 842 F.3d 552, 554-55 ...