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Madrigal v. Woods

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

November 2, 2018

HECTOR MADRIGAL, Reg. No. 58420-179, Petitioner,
v.
WALTER WOODS, Respondent.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          GRAY M. BORDEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case is before the court on a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition for writ of habeas corpus and “Memorandum of Law” in support of this petition filed on June 6, 2018 by Hector Madrigal, a federal inmate currently confined at the Montgomery Federal Prison Camp. Docs. 1 & 2.[1] Madrigal is incarcerated on concurrent sentences of 20 years of imprisonment for drug trafficking offenses imposed upon him by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on July 20, 2007. Doc. 1 at 1. Due to a prior drug conviction, the court enhanced the sentencing range for each of these convictions in accordance with the provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 851. On August 2, 2018, the respondent filed a motion to dismiss this case. Doc. 14.

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND RELEVANT FACTS

         A concise procedural history and recitation of relevant facts are set forth by the respondent in his motion dismiss.[2]

In January of 2006, in Case No. 5:06-CR-121-3 and Case No. 5:06-CR-122, Petitioner Hector Madrigal was indicted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas for drug trafficking offenses. In June 2006, Petitioner pleaded guilty in both cases to the charge of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity in excess of 1, 000 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846. [Under the terms of his plea agreements, Petitioner waived the right to collaterally attack his sentences under both 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and 28 U.S.C. § 2255.] Because he had a prior felony drug conviction, at sentencing Petitioner faced a minimum mandatory term of imprisonment of ten years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life for Case No. 5:06-CR-121-3, and a minimum mandatory term of imprisonment of twenty years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life for Case No. 5:06-CR-122.
On July 20, 2007, the district court sentenced Petitioner to twenty years imprisonment followed by ten years of supervised release in each case, with the sentences to run concurrently. Pursuant to his plea agreement[s], Petitioner did not appeal the sentences imposed.
On July 15, 2019, in Case No. 5:06-CR-121.3, Petitioner untimely filed a motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, attacking his sentence based upon the assertion that his prior state drug conviction was vacated. On July 23, 2010, the district court dismissed Petitioner's § 2255 motion and entered a final judgment. [On August 25, 2010, Petitioner sought reconsideration by the district court of its dismissal of his § 2255 motion but the court denied this request on August 31, 2010.] Petitioner sought a certificate of appealability from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to appeal the district court's dismissal of his § 2255 motion and the court denied his request.
On April 14, 2017, Petitioner was persistent and filed a motion seeking to amend his § 2255 motion using the relation back doctrine. The district court denied Petitioner's motion.
On June 6, 2018, Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner is presently incarcerated at the Montgomery Federal Prison Camp.

Doc. 14 at 1-3 (citations to record and footnotes omitted).

         III. CLAIMS AND ARGUMENTS

         Madrigal asserts factual innocence of his sentence enhancement under 21 U.S.C. § 851 due to a change of law-the new interpretation of statutory law set forth in Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. 524 (2013) and Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). He maintains that his “prior conviction may no longer qualify as a § 851 predicate [offense] under the proper application of the ‘modified categorical approach' as clarified in Descamps [and applied in Mathis].” Docs. 2 at 11 & 1 at 7 (arguing that in light of Descamps and Mathis the “prior conviction enhancement under 21 U.S.C. § 851 is null and void”). Madrigal requests that his “sentence . . . be vacated for resentencing without the § 851 enhancement.” Doc. 1 at 8. He seeks to invoke the “saving clause” contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) as a basis for seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 from the sentence imposed upon him by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Doc. 2 at 10. Madrigal relies on case law of the Eleventh Circuit issued prior to McCarthan v. Dir. of Goodwill Indus.-Suncoast, Inc., 851 F.3d 1076, 1087 (11th Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 502 (2017), [3] and the law of other circuits as support for his argument that he may proceed before this court on a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition for habeas relief pursuant to the saving clause of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). Doc. 2 at 10-11.

         On August 2, 2018, the respondent filed a motion to dismiss Madrigal's habeas petition. Doc. 14. In this motion, the respondent asserts that “Petitioner's argument that this Court has jurisdiction to hear his § 2241 petition is foreclosed by McCarthan.” Doc. 14 at 4. The court issued an order allowing Madrigal an opportunity to file a response to the respondent's motion to dismiss, Doc. 15, and Madrigal filed his response within the time allowed by the court. Doc. 16.

         In that response, Madrigal continues to argue that his “§ 2241 Petition may proceed under the savings clause, pursuant to retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision[s] in Descamps . . . and Mathis.” Doc. 16 at 5. Madrigal argues that because he “was sentenced on July 20, 2007, he could have not possibly raised his § 2241 claim at trial because Descamps and Mathis were decided on June 20, 2013 and June 23, ...


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