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Price v. United States

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

March 29, 2017

James Dennis Price, Petitioner,
v.
United States of America, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO VACATE SENTENCE [24]

          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge

         I. Introduction

         On July 21, 1999 James Dennis Price (“Price” or “Petitioner”) was indicted on a charge of bank robbery, 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). Dkt. No. 1. Price pleaded guilty on March 28, 2000 and was sentenced to 170 months imprisonment. Dkt. No. 15. Presently before the Court is Petitioner's Motion to Vacate Sentence [24], filed July 14, 2016. For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES Petitioner's motion.

         II. Factual Background

         Judgment was entered on Price's guilty plea to Count One, Bank Robbery, 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) on March 22, 2000. Dkt. No. 15. His sentence was pursuant to the Career Offender guideline of the United States Sentencing Guidelines § 4B1.1, which allows for sentence enhancement based on prior convictions of a “crime of violence, ” defined under § 4B1.2(a). Dkt. No. 24, p. 1 (Pg. ID 52). Price's sentence enhancement was based on two prior convictions: a 1974 Robbery conviction out of Seneca County, Ohio and a 1982 Armed Robbery conviction from Lansing, Michigan. Id. Price argues that his prior for Michigan Armed Robbery no longer qualifies as crimes of violence under the Career Offender guidelines under the holdings in Johnson v United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) and United States v. Pawlak, No. 15-3566, 2016 WL 2802723 (6th Cir. May 13, 2016).

         III. Legal Standard

         Title 28 U.S.C. § 2255 permits a prisoner in federal custody to challenge the legality of his or her detention. See Wooten v. Cauley, 677 F.3d 303, 306 (6th Cir. 2012). A federal prisoner may do this by filing a motion with the imposing court, seeking to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). To prevail on a § 2255 motion for constitutional error, the petitioner must show that the error had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the proceedings. Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 637-38 (1993); Humphress v. United States, 398 F.3d 855, 860 (6th Cir. 2005). The “substantial and injurious effect” standard is in essence an assessment of the prejudicial impact of the constitutional violation. See McCary v. Lewis, 255 F. App'x 78, 79 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Fly v. Pliler, 551 U.S. 112 (2007)).

         IV. Discussion

         A. The Career Offender Guidelines

         The United States Sentencing Guidelines allow a defendant to be adjudged a career offender if:

(1) the defendant was at least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed the instant offense of conviction;
(2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and
(3) the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled ...

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