Sep 20, 2017

In Re Conzelmann, No. 17-3270 (Gibbons, Sutton, Thapar).

In re Conzelmann, No. 17-3270 (Gibbons, Sutton, Thapar).

The petitioner is a federal prisoner seeking leave to file a successive collateral attack on his sentence as a career offender. He argues that he should not have been classified as a career offender because his prior conviction for possessing chemicals to manufacture drugs no longer qualifies as a predicate conviction for career offender purposes after Mathis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016). A second or successive collateral attack is permissible under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h) if it is based on “a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable.”

The Sixth Circuit held that Mathis did not announce a new rule of constitutional law, and denied the petitioner permission to file a successive petition. Agreeing with the conclusions of several sister circuits, the Court reasoned that the holding in Mathis was dictated by prior precedent and therefore was not “new” as that word was defined in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989). Moreover, the Court found that Mathis was a statutory-interpretation case, not a constitutional-law case, and the Supreme Court did not make Mathis retroactive to cases on collateral review.