Franklin v. Keyes

Decision Date04 April 2022
Docket Number19-1758
Citation30 F.4th 634
Parties Nino Alonzo FRANKLIN, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Randy KEYES, Warden, Respondent-Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit

Peter W. Henderson, Attorney, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Urbana, IL, Thomas W. Patton, Attorney, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Peoria, IL, for Petitioner-Appellant.

W. Scott Simpson, Attorney, Office of the United States Attorney, Springfield, IL, for Respondent-Appellee.

Before Sykes, Chief Judge, and Ripple and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.

Sykes, Chief Judge.

This appeal raises yet another procedurally complex question about a federal prisoner's access to habeas review under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 via the "saving clause" in 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) as interpreted in In re Davenport , 147 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 1998). We have addressed a cluster of similar cases in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Mathis v. United States , 579 U.S. 500, 136 S. Ct. 2243, 195 L.Ed.2d 604 (2016), which clarified how courts should classify prior convictions for purposes of the enhanced penalties in the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA" or "the Act"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Two of our Mathis -based saving-clause cases are especially important here: Chazen v. Marske , 938 F.3d 851 (7th Cir. 2019), and Guenther v. Marske , 997 F.3d 735 (7th Cir. 2021).

Nino Franklin was convicted and sentenced in 2014 in the District of Minnesota for a federal firearms offense. The court imposed an enhanced sentence under the ACCA based on six of Franklin's prior convictions, including three for Minnesota burglary and two for Illinois residential burglary. Franklin neither appealed nor pursued § 2255 collateral relief in the sentencing court within a year of the date on which the judgment became final. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(1).

Soon after Mathis , however, he filed a petition for habeas corpus under § 2241 in the Central District of Illinois, where he was confined. Relying on Mathis , he argued that he was wrongly sentenced as an armed career criminal. He was on solid ground about the Minnesota burglary convictions: as Mathis clarified, they should not have been counted as ACCA predicates. See Guenther , 997 F.3d at 741–42 ; Chazen , 938 F.3d at 859–60. But three qualifying convictions remained—enough to support his enhanced sentence—so the district judge denied relief. After Franklin appealed, we held in United States v. Glispie that an Illinois conviction for residential burglary does not qualify as an ACCA predicate. 978 F.3d 502, 503 (7th Cir. 2020) (per curiam). That knocked out two of the remaining predicates, leaving Franklin with only one.

The government now concedes that Franklin's sentence is unlawful. But it opposes § 2241 relief, arguing that he has not satisfied Davenport 's requirements to pass through the saving-clause gateway because his claim relies not on Mathis but on Glispie . The government maintains that Franklin could have challenged the use of his two Illinois burglary convictions as ACCA predicates on direct appeal or in a timely § 2255 motion in the sentencing court.

We disagree and reverse the judgment. Though our decision in Glispie is important to Franklin's ultimate entitlement to relief on the merits, his claim rests fundamentally on Mathis , which corrected the Eighth Circuit's misunderstanding of the method for classifying convictions under the ACCA and other recidivist provisions. Before the Supreme Court's corrective action, any challenge to the use of his Minnesota or his Illinois burglaries as ACCA predicates was foreclosed in that circuit.

The only lingering question after Chazen , Guenther , and Glispie is whether Franklin's claim falls within the Davenport line of cases in the first place. Davenport dealt with a prisoner who was blocked from using § 2255 because of § 2255(h)'s bar on successive motions, which made the remedy by motion "inadequate or ineffective" within the meaning of the saving clause. 147 F.3d at 610–11. Here, the limitations period in § 2255(f) —not § 2255(h)'s bar on successive motions—blocked a Mathis -based motion in the sentencing court. But the critical point under Davenport is that § 2255 never gave Franklin an opportunity to challenge his status as an armed career criminal. At all times within Franklin's one-year window under § 2255(f), a challenge to his sentence was destined to fail given Eighth Circuit precedent. Mathis clarified that his sentence is unlawful, but § 2255 never permitted him to make that claim, through no fault of his own.

Accordingly, Franklin has satisfied the Davenport criteria to access § 2241 habeas review through the § 2255(e) saving clause. We remand with instructions to grant appropriate habeas relief.

I. Background
A. Franklin's Case in the District Court in Minnesota

In October 2013 Franklin pleaded guilty in the District of Minnesota to unlawfully possessing a firearm as a felon, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The offense normally carries a 10-year maximum and no minimum sentence, id. § 924(a)(2), but Franklin agreed that he qualified as an armed career criminal under the ACCA, which requires a 15-year minimum sentence and lifts the 10-year maximum to life in prison if the offender has three or more prior convictions for a "violent felony" or a "serious drug offense," § 924(e). Only the "violent felony" definition is at issue here.

The Act defines "violent felony" as any crime punishable by a prison term "exceeding one year" that (1) "has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another," § 924(e)(2)(B)(i) (the "elements clause"); or (2) "is burglary, arson, or extortion," § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) (the "enumerated-offenses clause"); or (3) "otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another," id. (the "residual clause").

Franklin's presentence report ("PSR") identified six potentially qualifying convictions in his criminal record:

• Two 1995 Illinois convictions for separate residential burglaries, 720 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/19-3 (1995) (amended 2001), committed in 1993 and 1994;
• One 1995 Illinois conviction for aggravated kidnapping/armed robbery, id. §§ 5/10-2, 5/18-2;
• One 2006 Minnesota conviction for second-degree burglary, MINN. STAT. § 609.582(2) ;
• One 2006 Minnesota conviction for third-degree burglary, id. § 609.582(3) ; and
• One 2012 Minnesota conviction for second-degree burglary, § 609.582(2).

Franklin's case proceeded to sentencing in May 2014. Consistent with the recommendations in the PSR, the judge found that Franklin qualified for the ACCA's enhanced penalties and imposed a 200-month sentence. Franklin did not appeal. Nor did he seek collateral relief in the sentencing court under § 2255 within the statutory limitations period—that is, within a year of the date on which the judgment became final. § 2255(f)(1). A § 2255 motion is the default—and usually the exclusive—vehicle for federal prisoners to seek collateral relief.

B. New Legal Developments

The developments that knocked out Franklin's Minnesota and Illinois burglary convictions as ACCA predicates began two years after he was sentenced but proceeded on slightly different tracks. It started with the doctrinal shift for Minnesota burglary in response to Mathi s, which we discussed in depth in Chazen , 938 F.3d at 857–60. Guenther provides a shortened version of this history, 997 F.3d at 739–41, and here we can be even more abbreviated.

The crimes of second-and third-degree burglary in Minnesota are enumerated in "a single statute and start from the same basic definition" but vary based on "different sets of aggravating circumstances." Id. at 739. The statute defines second-degree burglary to cover anyone who "enters a building without consent and with intent to commit a crime, or enters a building without consent and commits a crime while in the building, either directly or as an accomplice," provided that he either uses burglary tools or the entry occurs at one of several enumerated locales. MINN. STAT. § 609.582(2). Third-degree burglary is defined almost identically but without the aggravating circumstances, covering anyone who "enters a building without consent and with intent to steal or commit any felony or gross misdemeanor while in the building, or enters a building without consent and steals or commits a felony or gross misdemeanor while in the building." Id. § 609.582(3).

Whether a prior conviction counts as an ACCA predicate hinges on the application of what the Supreme Court has called the "categorical approach," which originated in its decision in Taylor v. United States , 495 U.S. 575, 602, 110 S.Ct. 2143, 109 L.Ed.2d 607 (1990). The categorical approach requires an analysis of the statutory definition of the crime of conviction rather than the particular facts of the underlying case. Id. at 600–01, 110 S.Ct. 2143. As applied to the enumerated-offenses clause of the violent-felony definition, the categorical approach compares the statutory definition of the crime to the "generic" version of the offense enumerated in the ACCA. Id. at 598, 110 S.Ct. 2143. As Taylor held, generic burglary for ACCA purposes consists of the following elements: "an unlawful or unprivileged entry into, or remaining in, a building or other structure, with intent to commit a crime." Id.

Accordingly, under the categorical approach, Franklin's three Minnesota burglary convictions qualify as violent-felony ACCA predicates only if the statutory elements of the second-and third-degree crimes categorically match (or are narrower than) those of generic burglary. When he was sentenced in May 2014, "Eighth Circuit precedent supported a categorical match." Guenther , 997 F.3d at 739 (citing United States v. LeGrand , 468 F.3d 1077, 1081 (8th Cir. 2006) ).

Two years later, however, the Supreme Court's decision in Mathis laid the groundwork for a change in course.1 Mathis provided crucial guidance on how to classify convictions...

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    ...and the decision applies retroactively; and (3) the error is grave enough to be deemed a miscarriage of justice. Franklin v. Keyes , 30 F.4th 634, 643 (7th Cir. 2022), quoting Chazen v. Marske , 938 F.3d 851, 856 (7th Cir. 2019). Watkins argued that these conditions were satisfied because M......
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