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Davis v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 29, 2017




         Before the Court is Movant Jonathan Hale Davis's motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence (ECF No. 1) and supplements thereto (ECF Nos. 21, 22). The Government has filed responses (ECF Nos. 19, 25) and Movant has filed a reply (ECF No. 20). Also before the Court are Movant's motion for an evidentiary hearing (ECF No. 3), motion to compel (ECF No. 10), and motion to supplement the motion under § 2255 (ECF No. 26). For the reasons that follow, all motions will be denied.


         In 2011, Movant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Count 1), possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) 841(b)(1)(C) (Count 2), and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i) (Count 3). (Indictment, United States v. Davis, No. 1:11-cr-245 (W.D. Mich.), ECF No. 1.) The indictment was filed after officers found Movant in a vehicle in possession of a pistol, ten individually-wrapped packages of crack cocaine, a razor blade, rubber gloves, and a digital scale. United States v. Davis, 533 F. App'x 576, 579 (6th Cir. 2013). The pistol was located in Movant's waistband. Shortly before Movant's arrest, officers had tracked a suspect involved in an armed home invasion to a hotel. Id. at 578-79. When the police found Movant, he was waiting for the suspect outside the hotel, at night, with his engine running. Id. at 579.

         Before trial, Movant's counsel filed an unsuccessful motion to suppress the evidence found in Movant's possession, including the gun and the drugs. After the Court denied the motion, Movant conditionally pleaded guilty to all three counts in the indictment, reserving the right to appeal the Court's ruling on the suppression motion, and the right to withdraw his guilty plea if his appeal was successful. The plea agreement made clear that Movant was subject to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on Counts 1 and 3:

Count 1. The defendant acknowledges that he is subject to the enhanced penalties provided in 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), because the defendant has been convicted of three or more violent felonies and/or serious drug offenses. Accordingly, the defendant is subject to a sentence of at least fifteen years' up to life imprisonment . . . .
. . .
Count 3. The statutory sentence the Court shall impose for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i) is the following: a mandatory minimum of five years up to life imprisonment, to be served consecutively to the sentence imposed for Counts 1 and 2 . . . .

(Plea Agreement, Davis, No. 1:11-cr-245, ECF No. 22, PageID.114 (emphasis added).) In addition, Movant signed the following statement:

I have read this agreement and carefully discussed every part of it with my attorney. I understand the terms of this agreement, and I voluntarily agree to those terms. My attorney has advised me of my rights, of possible defenses, of the sentencing provisions, and of the consequences of entering into this agreement. No promises or inducements have been made to me other than those contained in this agreement.

(Id. at PageID.118.)

         Before sentencing, the Government prepared a report indicating that Movant had several prior convictions that might qualify as a “violent felony” or a “serious drug offense” under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), including: two juvenile convictions in 1994 and 1995[1] for possession with intent to deliver cocaine, Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.7401(2)(a)(iv); a juvenile conviction in 1995 for second-degree home invasion, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.110a(3); a conviction in 1998 for delivery and manufacture of less than 50 grams of cocaine base; a conviction in 2002 for delivery and manufacture of marijuana; and a conviction in 2005 for assaulting a prison employee, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.197c. (Presentence Report, Davis, No. 1:11-cr-245, ECF No. 29.) Movant's counsel submitted written objections arguing that Movant did not qualify as an armed career criminal under the ACCA. Specifically, counsel argued that juvenile adjudications should not count as a serious drug offense, and that the conviction for home invasion should not count as a violent felony. Counsel acknowledged that Movant qualified for the career-offender enhancement in § 4B1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines, but counsel asked the Court to sentence Movant as if he was not a career offender.

         At the sentencing hearing, Movant's counsel raised the same objections to the ACCA enhancement, but the Court found that Movant was an armed career criminal because of the two juvenile adjudications for possession with intent to deliver cocaine in 1994/1995, the adult drug conviction in 1998, and the juvenile conviction for home invasion, which the Court found was a “violent felony” under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2). (Sent. Tr. 11-13, 38-40, 46-49, Davis, No. 1:11-cr-245, ECF No. 39.) The Court also found that Movant was a career offender under the Sentencing Guidelines, and sentenced Movant to a total of 264 months of imprisonment for Counts 1 and 2, and a consecutive 60 months of imprisonment for Count 3, for a total of 324 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release. The sentence for Counts 1 and 2 was near the bottom of the range determined by the Guidelines, and accounted for a three-point reduction in Movant's offense level due to the fact that he pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility for his actions.

         Movant filed an appeal and the Court's judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Among other things, Movant challenged his classification as an armed career criminal, claiming that his juvenile adjudications for drug offenses and his conviction for home invasion do not qualify as prior convictions under the ACCA. The Court of Appeals declined to rule on the issue because Movant's sentence was determined by the Guidelines rather than the statutory minimum in the ACCA. Thus, any error in determining that Movant was an armed career criminal was harmless. Davis, 533 F. App'x at 583. Movant then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, which was denied by the Supreme Court on December 16, 2013.

         In his motion under § 2255, Movant asserts the following grounds for relief:

I. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel during Pre-Trial Stage.
II. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel during Plea Process.
III. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel during the Sentencing Stage.
IV. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel during the Appeal ...

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