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United States v. Locklear

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

June 7, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
HUEL LOCKLEAR, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE SENTENCE UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 113)

          AVERN COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I.

         This is a criminal case. In 2004, defendant was indicted on a charge of bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). A First Superseding Indictment later added a count of felon in possession, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Defendant proceeded to trial on both counts. A jury found him guilty as charged. In 2007, defendant was sentenced to 24 months on the bank robbery count, which was subject to an enhancement under the career offender guideline provisions. Defendant was also sentenced to a mandatory minimum 180 month consecutive sentence, under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), as a result of his armed career criminal status.

         Before the Court is defendant's motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in light of Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). (Doc. 113). The government as filed a response (Doc. 118) and supplemental response (Doc. 119), contending that the motion should be denied for lack of merit. The Court agrees. The reasons follow.

         II.

         Title 28 U.S.C. § 2255 provides:

"A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, ... 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."

         To prevail under § 2255, Petitioner must show a “fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice." U.S. v. Timmreck, 441 U.S. 780, 783 (1979) (quoting Hill v. U.S., 368 U.S. 424, 428 (1962)).

         III.

         Defendant seeks relief under based on the new, retroactively applicable right recognized by the Supreme Court in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). In Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), the Court held that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. §924(e)(2)(B)(ii), which defines the term “violent felony” to include an offense that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another, ” is unconstitutionally vague. In Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), the Supreme Court held that Johnson announced a substantive rule of constitutional law that applies retroactively to ACCA cases on collateral review.

         A.

         First, to the extent defendant challenges his career offender designation under the sentencing guidelines based on Johnson, i.e. vagueness, he cannot prevail. The Supreme Court has held that the sentencing guidelines are “not amenable to vagueness challenges.” Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886, 894 (2017). As a result, the Johnson decision does not provide a basis for vacating, setting aside, or correcting defendant's career offender designation under Section 4B1.1.

         B.

         Additionally, defendant argues that his prior convictions for bank robbery (federal), assaulting a federal officer, as well as the instant bank robbery conviction, were not crimes of violence, under U.S.S.G.§ 4B1.1(a) and § 4B1.2(a), to trigger the career offender enhancement and make him a career offender. Defendant is mistaken because, as will be explained, his prior ...


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