United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Talwani, United States District Judge
Jermain Marvin Alexander, a prisoner incarcerated at Federal
Medical Center (“FMC”) Devens in Ayer,
Massachusetts, filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [#1]. Petitioner, who
was sentenced in the Western District of Michigan, asserts
that the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
no longer recognizes as crimes of violence the predicate
offenses for his career offender sentencing enhancement, and
requests that this court transfer his petition to the Sixth
Circuit. Presently at issue is Respondent's Motion to
Dismiss [#8]. For the reasons set forth below,
Respondent's motion is ALLOWED and the Petition is
December 2006, a grand jury in the Western District of
Michigan returned a one-count Indictment charging Petitioner
with possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams
of cocaine base pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1)
and 841(b)(1)(A)(iii). United States v. Alexander,
No. 1:06-cr-00312, Indictment, Docket 7 (W.D. Mich. Dec. 14,
2006). Petitioner pled guilty before a magistrate
judge in January 2007, and the district court accepted his
guilty plea approximately one month later. Id. at
Dockets 19, 22. In June 2007, Petitioner was sentenced as a
career offender, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2, to 30
years' imprisonment, to be followed by five years of
supervised release, and a $100 mandatory assessment.
Id at Docket 29; United States v.
Alexander, 543 F.3d 819, 821 (6th Cir. 2008).
direct appeal, Petitioner argued inter alia that the
district court erred by finding that he was a career offender
because one of the predicate offenses used to classify him as
a career offender, assaulting a police officer causing bodily
injury requiring medical attention, Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.
§ 750.81d(2), is not properly classified as a crime of
violence. Id. at 823. The United States Court of
Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concluded that because
“causing a bodily injury” is an element of the
crime defined by section 750.81d(2), and the record shows
that Petitioner was previously convicted of that offense, his
previous conviction was properly classified as a crime of
violence pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a). Id.
at 823-24. After concluding that Petitioner's sentence
was both procedurally and substantively reasonable, the Sixth
Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment.
Id. at 826.
2009, Petitioner filed his first motion to vacate, set aside,
or a correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Alexander v. United States, No. 1:09-cv-889, 2010 WL
2573372, at *1 (W.D. Mich. June 23, 2010). Petitioner argued
that his sentence should be set aside because, among other
reasons, his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to
object at sentencing to the court's determination that
Petitioner was a career offender pursuant to U.S.S.G. §
4B1.1. Id., at *2. The district court found that
Petitioner's trial counsel was not ineffective for
failing to object to Petitioner's designation as a career
offender considering the Sixth Circuit's finding that
Petitioner was correctly classified as such. Id., at
*5. The district court further noted that “a §
2255 motion may not be used to relitigate an issue that was
raised on appeal absent highly exceptional circumstances,
such as an intervening change in the law, ” and that
“[a]s a general rule, sentencing matters decided on
direct appeal may not be relitigated under §
2255.” Id. (citing DuPont v. United
States, 76 F.3d 108, 110-11 (6th Cir. 1996)). The court
denied Petitioner's § 2255 motion and denied
Petitioner a certificate of appealability. Id., at
2010, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal of the district
court's denial of his first habeas petition and moved the
district court for a certificate of appealability, which the
district court again denied. Alexander v. United
States, No. 1:09-cv-889, Dockets 12, 13, 15. In 2011,
Petitioner filed on the (civil) habeas docket a motion
challenging the district court's jurisdiction over his
criminal conviction. Id. at Docket 16. The district
court construed this filing as a motion for permission to
file a second and subsequent application for § 2255
habeas relief under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2244,
and, in March 2011, transferred the motion to the Sixth
Circuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631. Id. at
Docket 17. Petitioner also filed the same motion challenging
the district court's jurisdiction in his underlying
criminal case, which the district court similarly transferred
to the Sixth Circuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631.
United States v. Alexander, No. 1:06-cr-00312,
Dockets 42, 52.
Sixth Circuit construed Petitioner's notice of appeal of
the district court's denial of his first § 2255
motion as an application for a certificate of appealability
pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 22(b)(2), which it then denied.
Order, Alexander v. United States, No. 10-1888 (6th
Cir. March 29, 2012). The court found that Petitioner had not
made a substantial showing of the denial of a federal
constitutional right pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).
Id. The Sixth Circuit highlighted its ruling on
direct appeal that Petitioner's career offender status
was properly decided, and that the issue may not be
relitigated through a § 2255 motion. Id. The
Sixth Circuit also reviewed the referred motion for
permission to file a second or successive habeas petition or
motion to vacate under § 2255, sent Petitioner a letter
notifying him that his application was procedurally deficient
pursuant to Sixth Circuit Local Rule 22, and gave him a brief
extension to cure the defaults. In re Jermain
Alexander, No. 12-1136 (6th Cir. 2012), Docket 3-1.
Petitioner failed to correct the deficiency and the court
dismissed Petitioner's motion for want of prosecution.
Id. at Docket 4-2.
February 2017, while incarcerated at FMC Devens in Ayers,
Massachusetts, Petitioner filed in the Sixth Circuit a motion
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244(b), 2255(h), asking
the court to issue an order authorizing the district court to
consider a second or successive application. Alexander v.
United States, No. 17-1177 (6th Cir. Feb. 16, 2017). In
his motion, Petitioner asserted that his designation as a
career offender was unlawful in light of the Supreme
Court's ruling in Johnson v. United States, 135
S.Ct. 2251 (2015). He argued in his memorandum in support of
his motion that two of his prior convictions no longer
qualify as predicates for a career offender sentencing
enhancement after the Supreme Court's ruling in
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016).
Petitioner further argued that the Sixth Circuit held in
Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591 (6th Cir. 2016), that
Mathis was a new rule of statutory interpretation.
Alexander v. United States, No. 17-1177, Docket 12.
Sixth Circuit denied Petitioner's 2017 motion, holding
that Johnson has no effect on Petitioner's
sentence in light of Beckles v. United States, 137
S.Ct. 886 (2017), which concluded that U.S.S.G. §
4B1.2(a)(2)'s residual clause is not subject to
void-for-vagueness challenges, and that Mathis did
not establish a new rule of constitutional law that the
Supreme Court has made retroactive to cases on collateral
review. Id. at Order, Docket 13 (citing
Washington v. United States, 868 F.3d 64 (2nd Cir.
2017); Holt v. United States, 843 F.3d 720, 722 (7th
Cir. 2016); Dawkins v. United States, 829 F.3d 549,
551 (7th Cir. 2016)).
Petition [#1] and Respondent's Motion to
Dismiss [#8] followed.
collateral challenge to the length of a petitioner's
sentence generally must be brought before the sentencing
court under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Trenkler v. United
States, 536 F.3d 85, 97- 98 (1st Cir. 2008). Section
2255 “provides for post-conviction relief in four
instances, namely, if the petitioner's sentence (1) was
imposed in violation of the Constitution, or (2) was imposed
by a court that lacked jurisdiction, or (3) exceeded the
statutory maximum, or (4) was otherwise subject to collateral
attack.” David v. United States, 134 F.3d 470,
474 (1st Cir. 1998). Here, Petitioner's request for
habeas relief challenging the validity of his career offender
enhancement under the Sentencing Guidelines falls squarely
under § 2255. As Petitioner was convicted in the Western
District of Michigan, this court ...