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Muller v. J. A. Terris

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

September 9, 2019

MICHAEL SLOAN MULLER, Petitioner,
v.
J.A. TERRIS, Respondent.

          ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (ECF No. 6)

          MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner Michael Sloan Muller is a federal prisoner incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan (“FCI Milan”). On September 7, 2018, Muller filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (“Section 2241”). (See Pet., ECF No. 1.) Muller argues that the district court incorrectly calculated his sentencing guidelines. (See id.) Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that Muller waived his right to challenge his sentence as part of a plea agreement. (See Mot., ECF No. 6.) The Court agrees. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Respondent's motion and DISMISSES the petition.

         I

         In 2008, a grand jury in this district indicted Muller on three counts of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) & (d), and three counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). (See Indictment, United States v. Muller, E.D.

         Mich. Case No. 08-cr-20009, ECF No. 10.) On December 17, 2018, pursuant to a Rule 11 Plea Agreement, Muller pleaded guilty to one count of armed bank robbery and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, and the remaining charges were dismissed. In that plea agreement, Muller waived his right to challenge both his conviction and his sentence in any post-conviction proceeding:

Defendant understands that defendants generally have the right collaterally to attack their convictions and sentencing by filing post-conviction motions, petitions, or independent civil actions. As part of this agreement, however, defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives that right and agrees not to contest his/her conviction or sentence in any post-conviction proceeding, including - but not limited to - any proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

(Rule 11 Plea Agreement, E.D. Mich. Case No. 08-cr-20009, ECF No. 40, PageID.134; first emphasis in original; second and third emphasis added).

         On January 28, 2009, a Judge of this court sentenced Muller to 108 months' imprisonment for bank robbery and a consecutive term of 60 months' imprisonment for using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm. (See Judgment, E.D. Mich. Case No. 08-cr-20009, ECF No. 42.)

         In September 2012, Muller filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under Section 2241 in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.[1] He raised a single ground for relief: the sentencing judge erroneously calculated the sentencing guidelines range. The Pennsylvania district court dismissed the petition because, among other things, under the terms of Muller's plea agreement, Muller waived his right to challenge his sentence in a Section 2241 petition:

Thus, Petitioner's plea agreement bars any collateral attack on Petitioner's sentence, as the waiver is “not limited to” proceedings under § 2255, but applies to all petitions for habeas corpus. This waiver, provided by Petitioner, expressly prohibits Petitioner from filing any collateral proceeding pertaining to his conviction and sentence.

Muller v. Sauers, 2012 WL 12895897, at *2 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 29, 2012).

         Muller appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed. See Muller v. Sauers, 523 Fed.Appx. 110 (3d Cir. 2013). Like the district court, the Third Circuit concluded, among other things, that the waiver provision of Muller's plea agreement “foreclose[d] relief” under Section 2241. Id. at 112-13. The Third Circuit also saw “no indication that the waiver should not be enforced.” Id. at 112 n. 1.

         Six years after losing in the Third Circuit, Muller filed his Section 2241 petition in this action. He filed here because he is now held in custody at FCI Milan, in this judicial district. Muller again claims that his sentence is invalid as a result of a sentencing guidelines calculation error - specifically, the purported failure of the sentencing judge to apply U.S.S.G. Amendment 599. (See Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.)

         On January 22, 2019, Respondent moved to dismiss the petition on the basis that the waiver in Muller's plea agreement precludes him from challenging his ...


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