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Seventh Circuit Decides 2241 Appeal and Savings Clause Issue: Franklin v. Keyes

The Seventh Circuit Decided a 2241 case in Franklin vs. Keyes and in doing so, explained how to apply their Savings Clause test.

Facts:  Serial Burglar Gets Challenges ACCA Conviction

Franklin was sentenced in the District of Minnesota for a federal firearms offense.  He was enhanced under the Armed Career Criminal Act for three prior convictions of Minnesota burglary and two Illinois residential burglary cases.  He did not appeal or file a 2255 within the normal one-year timeframe.

After Mathis vs. United States, Franklin first filed a 2255 motion that was dismissed without prejudice on Franklin’s motion as it was untimely.  He then filed a 2241 in the Central District of Illinois (which is in the Seventh Circuit, 2241 petitions must be filed in the district of confinement).  He argued that he was wrongly sentenced as an armed career criminal.  The District Court held that post-Mathis “the Minnesota crimes of second- and third-degree burglary sweep more broadly than generic burglary, and further, that the alternatives listed in each statute are different factual means of committing the crime rather than different elements of separate crimes.” As such, Franklin’s Minnesota burglary convictions should not have been counted as ACCA predicates under the categorical approach, but that three more qualifying convictions remained and his motion should be denied.

Franklin appealed.  After his appeal the Seventh Circuit held in in United States v. Glispie, that his Illinois convictions for residential burglary no longer qualified as an ACCA predicate.  This meant that there was only one ACCA predicate left, which was not enough.

The government conceded that Franklin’s enhanced sentence was unlawful but opposed 2241 relief indicating that Frankin did not satisfy the savings-clause test:

“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 (it should be noted however that at the time of when his appeal or 2255 would have been denied as the law was not favorable to Franklin at the time).”

ISSUE:  Should the court grant Franklin’s 2241 motion?  Does he meet the Savings Clause Criteria?

HOLDING:  yes.

The Savings Clause

A 2241 is not something that you just do because you want to or feel like it, you must prove that a 2255 is an inadequate remedy at law.  However, the term “inadequate or ineffective remedy at law” is a term that means different things in different jurisdictions.  This is commonly referred to as the “Savings Clause.”  The Seventh Circuit “Savings Clause” Test is explained in in re Davenport.  As synthesized in Chazen v. Marske:

To pursue relief under  2241, a petitioner must establish that “(1) the claim relies on a statutory interpretation case, not a constitutional case, and thus could not have been invoked by a successive  2255 motion; (2) the petitioner could not have invoked the decision in his first  2255 motion and the decision applies retroactively; and (3) the error is grave enough to be deemed a miscarriage of justice.”

The court determined that he met the first requirement:

“Starting with the first, Franklin's  2241 petition “relies at least in part on Mathis, a statutory-interpretation case that ‘is “new” as a functional and practical matter’ because it ‘injected much-needed clarity and direction into the law’ regarding the application of the categorical approach.” …As things now stand, it's clear that the Minnesota crimes of second-and third-degree burglary cannot serve as ACCA predicates because the statutes are indivisible and categorically broader than generic burglary.

Similarly, the court determined that Franklin had met the second requirement:

Because Franklin's petition is based on Mathis, he likewise satisfies the second Davenport requirement in the same manner as in Chazen … Any attempt at collateral review would have been futile until after Mathis because Eighth Circuit precedent was squarely against him, foreclosing relief... And here, as in …Chazen, the government “does not dispute that Mathis applies retroactively to cases on collateral review.”

Finally, the court determined (and the government conceded) that “the error [was] enough to be deemed a miscarriage of justice.”  “A “‘fundamental sentencing defect’—including an erroneous ACCA-enhanced sentence—amounts to a ‘miscarriage of justice.’”

Finally, the court had to determine “whether Davenport applies where  2255(f)'s time bar blocks a new statutory claim.”  The court determined that Franklin met the criteria of Davenport:

Franklin confronted precisely those circumstances here. Eighth Circuit precedent squarely supported his ACCA-enhanced sentence until well after the  2255(f)(1) statute of limitations expired. A timely  2255 thus would have been futile. In his situation,  2255 never gave him an opportunity to correct a fundamental defect in his sentence. Mathis changed Eighth Circuit law after his one-year time limit expired but did not restart the limitations clock under  2255(f)(3), leaving him no remedy in the sentencing court to correct the Mathis error.

The court further noted that Franklin did not have to file frivolous 2255 motions, potentially abusing the judicial process and clogging the pipes in order to preserve his 2241 or pass savings clause muster.

The Seventh Circuit Reversed Franklin’s savings clause matter and Remanded the case back down to the district court so the district court could grant relief. No. 19-1758

NOTES: As we have previously said, the Savings Clause test is different in each circuit.  Each circuit has their own savings clause test, which is important as a person goes from one prison to another as a 2241 motion is filed in the district where the person is being housed.

If anything here applies to you, contact us today.

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