United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen United States Magistrate Judge
AND ORDER: (1) DENYING PETITIONER'S SECOND OR SUCCESSIVE
HABEAS PETITION ; (2) DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO
SUPPLEMENT ; (3) DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION UNDER
FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 60(B)(3) ; (4) DENYING
PETITIONER'S MOTIONS UNDER FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL
PROCEDURE 60(B)(5) [104, 105]; AND (5) GRANTING
PETITIONER'S MOTION TO STRIKE DOCKET ENTRY 106
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN United States District Court Judge
Joseph Sandlain, an incarcerated person proceeding pro
se, plead guilty to two felonies and is currently
serving his sentence in Leavenworth, Kansas. Pending before
the Court is Sandlain's second or successive habeas
petition, which was held in abeyance pending the Supreme
Court's decision in Beckles v. United States,
137 S.Ct. 866 (2017). On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court
decided Beckles. Since then, Mr. Sandlain has filed
six motions: a Motion to Supplement, which the Court
construes as a motion to amend his second or successive
habeas petition, and five motions involving Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 60(b)(3) and 60(b)(5). For the following
reasons, the Court will deny Mr. Sandlain's second or
successive habeas petition, deny Mr. Sandlain's Motion to
Supplement, and deny Mr. Sandlain's claims under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 60.
April 28, 2014, a federal grand jury indicted Blake Joseph
Sandlain (“Petitioner” or “Mr.
Sandlain”) for: (1) being a felon in possession of a
firearm; (2) possession with the intent to distribute a
controlled substance; (3) maintaining drug-involved premises;
and (4) using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking
crime. Dkt. No. 7. On January 8, 2015, Mr. Sandlain entered
into a plea agreement, which the Court accepted. Dkt. No. 44.
The Court sentenced Mr. Sandlain to 180 months imprisonment
and supervised release for three years. Dkt. No. 73. Mr.
Sandlain did not appeal.
August 7, 2015, Mr. Sandlain moved to vacate his sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Dkt. No. 55.
This Court dismissed Mr. Sandlain's Section 2255 motion
with prejudice and did not issue a certificate of
appealability. Dkt. No. 72. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit
denied Mr. Sandlain's application for a certificate of
appealability and denied his motion to appoint counsel. Dkt.
No. 80. In its opinion, the Sixth Circuit indicated that
“Sandlain's classification as a career offender
during his sentencing proceedings might be affected by
Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551
(2015)[.]” Id. On June 22, 2016, Mr. Sandlain
filed an Application for Leave to File a Second of Successive
habeas petition. Dkt. No. 87. Based on Johnson, the
Sixth Circuit authorized Mr. Sandlain to file a second habeas
motion because Mr. Sandlain “may be entitled to relief
from his career offender designation[.]” Dkt. No. 84.
Johnson, Beckles and Mr. Sandlain's Second or Successive
Sandlain's Application for Leave to File a Second or
Successive § 2255 Motion contained only one ground on
which he claimed that he was being held unlawfully: his
classification as a career offender. Dkt. No. 87, p. 5 (Pg.
ID 580). In support of his application, Mr. Sandlain
acknowledged that his renewed § 2255 Motion relied on
Johnson. Id. Mr. Sandlain argues that, in
light of Johnson, his classification as a career
offender was unconstitutional. Id. Therefore, Mr.
Sandlain moves the Court to grant his renewed § 2255
motion and conduct resentencing.
Supreme Court's opinion in Beckles, however,
forbids Mr. Sandlain's desired result. Mr. Sandlain was
sentenced in 2015. At that time, the Sentencing Guidelines
which were in effect, provided that, “[a] defendant is
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 substance offense.
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a), dated November 1, 2014 (emphasis
Guidelines define “crime of violence” as:
any offense under federal or state law, punishable by
imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, that-(1) has as
an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of
physical force against the person of another, or (2) is
burglary of a dwelling, arson, or extortion, involves use of
explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a
serious potential risk of physical injury to another.
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a), dated November 1, 2014 (emphasis
added). The clause beginning with “or otherwise”
in the § 4B1.2(a) definition above is the residual
clause. Mr. Sandlain was sentenced as a career offender based
in part on the residual clause in the Sentencing Guidelines.
is an identical residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal
Act (“ACCA”). Johnson held that the
residual clause in the ACCA was unconstitutionally vague in
the way it fixed a higher range of sentences for certain
defendants. See Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2555, 2563. As
of result of Johnson, defendants sentenced under the
now-void residual clause in the ACCA have been granted
resentencing. However, despite the identical language, the
Supreme Court in Beckles rejected adopting
Johnson's reasoning to the Sentencing
Guidelines. The Supreme Court distinguished the ACCA from the
Unlike the ACCA, however, the advisory Guidelines do not fix
the permissible range of sentences. To the contrary, they
merely guide the exercise of a court's discretion in
choosing an appropriate sentence within the statutory range.
Accordingly, the Guidelines are not subject to a vagueness
challenge under the Due Process Clause. The residual clause
in § 4B1.2(a)(2) therefore is not void for vagueness.
Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886, 892 (2017).
Mr. Sandlain was sentenced pursuant to the Sentencing
Guidelines, not pursuant to the ACCA. Therefore, because
Johnson does not apply to the Sentencing Guidelines,
Mr. Sandlain's reliance on Johnson (and
implicitly Beckles) is misplaced. ...