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Humpherys v. Terris

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 29, 2018

James Humpherys, Petitioner,
v.
J.A. Terris, Respondent.

          ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT [4]

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner James Humphreys, [1] on November 6, 2017, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Dkt. No. 1. The Court dismissed the petition on January 24, 2018. See Dkt. No. 2. Presently before the Court is Petitioner's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment [4]. For the reasons that follow, the Court will DENY the motion [4].

         I. Background

         Petitioner was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm after a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. See United States v. Humphreys, 468 F.3d 1051 (7th Cir. 2007). The district court concluded that Humphreys had three prior felony convictions for violent crimes; thus, on June 28, 2005, the district court sentenced Petitioner to 15.5 years in prison pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), and to five years of supervised release. Id. at 1052 (citing 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1)). Humphreys appealed his conviction and sentence to no avail. See id., reh'g and reh'g en banc denied Jan. 9, 2007.

         Petitioner subsequently filed two motions for relief from judgment under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the Northern District of Illinois. Both motions were unsuccessful. See United States v. Humphreys, No. 12-cv-07689 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 18, 2013), ECF 11; United States v. Humphreys, No. 08-cv-88 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 6, 2008), ECF 29. In 2011, Humphreys filed a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, arguing that the armed career criminal offender provision no longer applied to him because his prior state convictions had expired and his civil rights had been restored. The district court held that Humphreys should have filed the petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and even if he had filed it under that statute, it would have been denied as untimely. United States v. Humphreys, No. 11-cv-5350, 2012 WL 1080526, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 28, 2012).

         In 2012, Humphreys filed a petition for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, this time in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The district court held that the petition was not properly filed under § 2241. Humphreys v. Maye, No. 12-3088 (D. Kan. June 7, 2012).

         In September 2015, Humphreys filed an application for an order authorizing the district court to consider a successive petition under § 2255, which the Seventh Circuit denied. Humphreys v. United States, No. 15-2948 (7th Cir. Oct. 5, 2015).

         Petitioner then filed a habeas corpus petition in this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. There, he argued that under Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), one of the felonies supporting his enhancement under ACCA no longer constitutes a predicate offense. The Court denied the petition finding that it was not properly filed, as it was filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Dkt. No. 2. On February 22, 2018, Petitioner filed the present motion asking the Court to reconsider its decision. Dkt. No. 4.

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) governs motions to alter or amend a judgment. A court may alter a judgment under Rule 59 based on: “(1) a clear error of law; (2) newly discovered evidence; (3) an intervening change in controlling law; or (4) a need to prevent manifest injustice.” Leisure Caviar, LLC v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 616 F.3d 612, 615 (6th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Intera Corp. v. Henderson, 428 F.3d 605, 620 (6th Cir. 2005)). In sum, this rule “allow[s] the district court to correct its own errors, sparing the parties and appellate courts the burden of unnecessary appellate proceedings.” Howard v. United States, 533 F.3d 472, 475 (6th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting York v. Tate, 858 F.2d 322, 326 (6th Cir. 1988)).

         III. Discussion

         Petitioner argues that the Court should alter its February 22, 2018 judgment based on an allegedly clear error of law. See Dkt. No. 4, pg. 3 (Pg. ID 24). Humphreys maintains that the Court erred in finding that he was not permitted to proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. According to Humphreys, he may challenge his sentence under § 2241 because (1) his sentence was imposed pre-Booker, when the Sentencing Guidelines were mandatory; (2) he cannot assert the claim in a successive petition under § 2255; and (3) Mathis applies retroactively on collateral review, meaning his aggravated burglary conviction is no longer a predicate offense. See Id. at pp. 3-4.

         A federal prisoner may challenge a sentence under § 2241 pursuant to § 2255(e)'s savings clause if the prisoner can establish that § 2255 is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Until recently, a sentencing challenge, even one alleging actual innocence of a sentencing enhancement, could not be raised under § 2241. See Jones v. Castillo, 489 Fed.Appx. 864, 866 (6th Cir. 2012). Yet in Hill v. Masters, 836 F.3d 591, 599- 600 (6th Cir. 2016), the Sixth Circuit carved a narrow exception that authorized challenges to sentences in § 2241 petitions. But this exception only applies where (1) a petitioner's sentence was imposed under the mandatory guidelines regime before Booker v. United States, 543 U.S. 220 (2005); (2) the petitioner was foreclosed from filing a successive motion under ...


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