United States District Court, C.D. California
MELVIN D. LOCKETT, Petitioner,
RICHARD B. IVES, Warden, Respondent
Melvin D. Lockett, Petitioner, Pro se, Adelanto, CA.
For Richard B. Ives, Warden, Respondent: Justin R Rhoades, LEAD ATTORNEY, AUSA - U.S. Attorney's Office, Los Angeles, CA; Assistant U.S. Attorney LA-CV, AUSA - Office of U.S. Attorney, Civil Division, Los Angeles, CA.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
HON. MICHAEL R. WILNER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
This Report and Recommendation is submitted to the Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States District Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and General Order 05-07 of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
I. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATION
This is a habeas action brought by a federal prisoner. Petitioner seeks review of the sentence -- and the armed career criminal designation -- that a federal court in Minnesota imposed on him in 2004. Petitioner contends that he is entitled to pursue habeas relief in this Court under the " escape hatch" provisions of 28 U.S.C. § § 2241 and 2255.
However, Petitioner has made numerous previous attempts to challenge his federal sentence in the charging district. As a result, he has had what the Ninth Circuit describes as " an unobstructed procedural shot" at bringing this claim in his court of conviction. Petitioner does not present an " exceptional case" that would allow him to challenge his sentence again a decade later. The Court therefore recommends that the action be dismissed.
A. Petitioner's Federal Criminal Conviction and Direct Appeal
In late 2003, a federal jury in the District of Minnesota convicted Petitioner of firearm and felon-in-possession charges. (Docket # 7-1 at 2.) The trial court sentenced Petitioner to a term of 262 months in prison in early 2004. (Docket # 7-2 at 3.) In imposing sentence, the district court concluded that Petitioner's prior criminal convictions made him an armed career criminal under federal law. (Id.) The district court sentenced Petitioner to the low end of the Sentencing Guidelines.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed Petitioner's conviction on direct appeal. United States v. Lockett, 393 F.3d 834 (8th Cir. 2005). The appellate decision did not address the calculation of Petitioner's sentence. However, after the Supreme Court's then-recent ruling in
United States v. Booker, the parties submitted post-decision briefs addressing Petitioner's sentence. The court denied further relief. (Docket # 7-4 at 3.) The United States Supreme Court subsequently denied certiorari. Lockett v. United States, 546 U.S. 1198, 126 S.Ct. 1395, 164 L.Ed.2d 98 (2006).
B. Petitioner's Later Habeas Actions
In late 2006, Petitioner filed a motion in the Minnesota district court to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Petitioner expressly challenged the adequacy of his lawyer's performance at sentencing and the district judge's analysis of the prior convictions used to establish that he qualified as an armed career criminal. (Docket # 7-2 ...