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United States v. Adams

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

March 31, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
D-14 Raymond Adams, Defendant/Petitioner.

          OPINION & ORDER DENYING § 2255 MOTION (Doc. # 417), DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (Doc. # 388), AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          Sean F. Cox U.S. District Judge

         In Criminal Case Number 12-20218, Petitioner Raymond Adams (“Petitioner”) pleaded guilty, pursuant to a Rule 11 Plea Agreement, to one count of Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 and one count of Using or Carrying a Firearm During a Federal Crime of Violence; Aiding and Abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). (Doc. # 374, Rule 11 Plea Agreement). This Court sentenced Petitioner to a total term of 90 months. (Doc. # 387).

         The matter is now before the Court on Petitioner's pro se letter, construed by the Court as a Motion to Vacate Sentence brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. # 417, Pet. Br.). Petitioner's request for relief is based upon the Supreme Court's decisions in Rosemond v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 1240 (2014), which clarified what is necessary to aid and abet a violation of § 924(c) and Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2251 (2015), which held that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) was unconstitutionally vague. The Government has filed a response opposing Petitioner's motion. (Doc. # 409, Gov't Resp.). Petitioner has not filed a reply to the Government's response and time to do so has passed.

         Because the files and records of the case conclusively establish that Petitioner is not entitled to relief as to any of the claims set forth in this § 2255 motion, an evidentiary hearing is not necessary. The motion is therefore ready for a decision by this Court. For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's motion to vacate will be DENIED and Petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED AS MOOT. Moreover, the Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability.

         BACKGROUND

         On December 10 2014, Petitioner pleaded guilty, pursuant to a Rule 11 Plea Agreement, “to Counts One and Two of the Sixth Superseding Indictment, which charge Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Using or Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Federal Crime of Violence.” (Rule 11 Plea Agreement, at ¶ 1A).

         This Court sentenced Petitioner to 6 months on Count 1 and to 84 months on Count 2, to run consecutively with the sentenced imposed on Count 1. (Doc. # 387). Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.

         January 25, 2016, Petitioner filed a pro se letter, titled “Motion to be Appointed Counsel.” (Doc. # 388). Petitioner requested counsel in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in Johnson v. United States. On May 19, 2016, Petitioner filed a second pro se letter, which the Court has construed as a Motion to Vacate Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc. # 417). In it, Petitioner asserts that his § 924(c) aiding and abetting conviction must be vacated in light of Rosemond v. United States and Johnson v. United States. The Government filed a brief in opposition to the motion on September 29, 2016. (Doc. # 409).

         STANDARD

         Petitioner's motion is brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides:

A prisoner in custody under a sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence imposed was in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). To prevail on a § 2255 motion, “a petitioner must demonstrate the existence of an error of constitutional magnitude which has a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict.” Humphress v. United States, 398 F.3d 855, 858 (6th Cir. 2005). A movant can prevail on a § 2255 motion alleging non-constitutional error only by establishing a “fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice, or an error so egregious that it amounts to a violation of due process.” Watson v. United States, 165 F.3d 486, 488 (6th Cir. 1999).

         The Court must hold an evidentiary hearing on a § 2255 motion “[u]nless the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); Blanton v. United States, 94 F.3d 227, 235 (6th Cir. 1996) (“evidentiary hearings are not required when . . . the record conclusively shows that the petitioner is entitled to no relief.”). Because the files and records of the case conclusively show that Petitioner is not entitled to ...


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