United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
WILLIAM H. THOMPSON, Petitioner,
J.A. TERRIS, Respondent,
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge.
William H. Thompson, Jr., a federal prisoner confined at the
Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan, seeks
habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Thompson
challenges his sentence as a career offender under U.S.S.G.
§ 4B1.1. For the reasons stated below, the Court will
deny the petition.
pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 90
grams of cocaine base, 18 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and
(b)(1), in the United States District Court for the District
of Minnesota. The Court recites the relevant facts from the
opinion and order denying Thompson's motion to vacate
Thompson first pled guilty on February 28, 2003. At that
time, Thompson and the Government stipulated to an adjusted
base offense level of 31, which represented a base level of
32, plus 2 offense levels for the presence of a firearm,
minus 3 levels for acceptance of responsibility. (Plea Agree.
¶¶ 6-11.) At that time, the parties contemplated a
criminal history category of III, but stipulated that
"if the defendant's Criminal History Category, as
finally computed with the aid of the PreSentence Report, is
greater than Category III, the parties may not withdraw from
the agreement and agree that the defendant shall be sentenced
in accordance with the applicable Sentencing
Guidelines." (Id. ¶ 10.) Assuming an
adjusted offense level of 31 and criminal history category
III, the resulting Guideline range was 135-168 months.
(Id. ¶ 11.) In addition, the Government agreed
to "refrain from filing a sentencing enhancement motion
. . . based on the defendant's previous felony narcotics
conviction." (Id. ¶ 5.) If Thompson agreed
to provide substantial assistance to the Government in its
investigation of drug trafficking and other criminal
activity, the Government also agreed to file a motion for a
downward departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 and 18
U.S.C. § 3553(e). (Id. ¶¶ 4-5.)
Thompson was released on bond pending sentencing so he could
assist the Government with its investigations. (Tr. Feb. 28,
2003 Hr'g at 19-20.)
After accepting Thompson's plea, the Court ordered the
Probation Office to conduct a presentence investigation.
Probation issued its report ("PSI") on June 18,
2003. According to the PSI, Thompson was a career offender
based upon three prior convictions for drug trafficking and
violent crimes. (June 18, 2003 PSI ¶ 21.) Thompson's
status as a career offender and his criminal history changed
the Guideline range applicable to his sentencing.
Specifically, Thompson's criminal history category was
increased to VI, and his total offense level was increased to
34, resulting in an applicable Guideline range from 262 to
327 months. (Id. ¶ 105.)
On September 8, 2003, a warrant was issued for Thompson's
arrest because he failed to report and absconded from
justice. Thompson was finally arrested in Detroit on April 1,
2004. Prior to absconding, Thompson was charged with a new
state crimes-trespassing and driving after cancellation.
(April 30, 2004 Revised PSI ¶ 2.)
Based on these actions, Probation issued a revised PSI and
recommended a two level enhancement for obstruction of
justice under U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1, and no downward
adjustment for acceptance of responsibility since Thompson
engaged in obstructive behavior while on bond. (Id.
¶¶ 18-20.) According the revised PSI,
Thompson's new offense level was 37, with a criminal
history category of VI, resulting in a revised Guideline
imprisonment range of 360 months to life. (Id.
On May 13, 2004, Thompson appeared before this Court on his
motion to withdraw his guilty plea. At that hearing, the
Government indicated that it had no objection to Thompson
withdrawing his plea, but cautioned Thompson that he could
get an even longer sentence, 360 months to life, if found
guilty by a jury. (Tr. May 13, 2004 Hr'g at 4-5.) The
Government indicated that if Thompson pled guilty, the
Government would not insist on adding offense level points
for obstruction, and would not object to allowing Thompson to
receive a deduction for accepting responsibility.
(Id. at 3, 7.) The Court, Thompson's counsel
("Counsel"), and the Government's counsel
engaged in a colloquy wherein they informed Thompson that if
he was found guilty by a jury, the Court would be bound to
sentence him in the 360 months to life range, and he would
not be allowed to accept responsibility. (Id. at
2-10.) Counsel was concerned that Thompson was
"hesitant" regarding his plea withdrawal, and the
Court continued the hearing for over two weeks to give
Thompson time to fully consider his decision. (Id.
B. Thompson's Sentencing
On May 28, 2004, Thompson informed the Court that he did not
want to withdraw his guilty plea. (Tr. May 28, 2004 Hr'g
at 2.) The Court proceeded immediately to sentencing, and
Counsel requested that the Court not add an obstruction of
justice enhancement on the ground that Thompson's
absconding did not actually hurt the case because Thompson
had already pled guilty. (Id. at 3.) Counsel also
asked the Court to give Thompson a reduction for acceptance
of responsibility, and requested that Thompson be given the
minimum sentence under the Guidelines. (Id.) The
Government did not object to these requests. (Id. at
After allowing both Thompson and Counsel to make statements
on Thompson's behalf, the Court granted Counsel's
request and gave Thompson a 3 level decrease for acceptance
of responsibility, and declined to assign an enhancement
based on obstruction of justice. The Court then sentenced
Thompson to the minimum sentence under the Guidelines: 262
months followed by five years supervised release.
(Id. at 8.)
United States v. Thompson, No. CIV 05813MJD, 2005 WL
1923733, at *1-2 (D. Minn. Aug. 11, 2005).
did not file a direct appeal from his conviction. He did,
however, file a motion to vacate sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255, which was denied. Id. at *3-6.
Also, Thompson filed two additional motions for reduction of
sentence, which were likewise denied. See United States
v. Thompson, Crim. No. 02-308(MJD/JGL), 2010 WL 2545407
(D. Minn. June 18, 2010). Thompson has twice been denied
permission by the United States Court of Appeals for the
Eighth Circuit to file a successive motion to vacate
sentence. Thompson v. United States, No. 15-3219