Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Whitsell v. United States

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

January 8, 2018

Quenton Thomas Whitsell, Sr., Petitioner,
v.
United States of America, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO VACATE SENTENCE [# 138]

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the Court is Petitioner Quenton Thomas Whitsell, Sr.'s Motion to Vacate Sentence. Dkt. No. 138. Petitioner argues that new precedent requires this Court to resentence him. Id. at pg. 7 (Pg. ID 1217). For the reasons that follow, this Court will deny Petitioner's Motion to Vacate Sentence.

         II. Factual Background

         On July 21, 2010, Petitioner pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Dkt. No. 63, pg. 1 (Pg. ID 441). On January 3, 2011, this Court sentenced him to 322 months of imprisonment. Dkt. No. 76, pg. 2 (Pg. ID 610). On January 7, 2013, Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate Sentence. Dkt. No. 99. This Court denied his Motion on April 23, 2015. Dkt. No. 126. Thereafter, the Fair Sentencing Act was amended and the guideline sentencing range for Petitioner's offense was lowered. The Fair Sentencing Act lowered Petitioner's sentence based on the amount of crack cocaine Petitioner was in possession of. Dkt. No. 93, pg. 4 (Pg. ID 747). On June 16, 2015, this Court resentenced Petitioner to 216 months of imprisonment. Dkt. No. 131. On August 16, 2017, Petitioner filed a second Motion to Vacate Sentence. Dkt. No. 138. Petitioner argues that the ruling in Dean v. United States requires this Court to resentence him. 137 S.Ct. 1170 (2017); id. at pg. 7 (Pg. ID 1217). In Dean, the Supreme Court held that sentencing courts can consider the mandatory firearm sentence imposed under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) when calculating a sentence for a predicate violent or drug trafficking offense. Dean, 137 S.Ct. at 1178. Respondent opposed the Motion on October 2, 2017. Dkt. No. 141. Petitioner replied on October 31, 2017. Dkt. No. 143.

         III. Legal Standard

         If a petitioner wishes to file a second or successive application for writ of habeas corpus, he must “move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244 (2016).

         A Court will grant relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 if there was: “(1) an error of constitutional magnitude; (2) a sentence imposed outside the statutory limits; or (3) an error of fact or law that was so fundamental as to render the entire proceeding invalid.” U.S. v. Doyle, 631 F.3d 815, 817 (6th Cir. 2011).

         IV. Discussion

         Second or Successive Application

         Respondent argues that the present Motion is Petitioner's second or successive application for writ of habeas corpus. Dkt. No. 141, pg. 3 (Pg. ID 1227). Respondent claims that Petitioner is actually challenging his initial sentencing because Petitioner references his original sentencing in his Motion. Id. at pg. 4 (Pg. ID 1228); Dkt. No. 138, pg. 7 (Pg. ID 1217). Therefore, Petitioner must get an order from the Sixth Circuit so that this Court can consider the present Motion. Id. Petitioner argues that his Motion is not a second or successive application because he is not challenging his original sentencing that occurred on January 3, 2011. See Dkt. No. 143, pg. 7 (Pg. ID 1241). He is challenging his resentencing that occurred on June 16, 2015. See id.

         A second or successive application “must be interpreted with respect to the judgment challenged.” Magwood v. Patterson, 561 U.S. 320, 332-33 (2010). Therefore, an application that challenges a new or different judgment is not second or successive. See Id. at 332-43. Accordingly, an application that challenges a resentencing is not second or successive. See Magwood v. Patterson, 561 U.S. at 331. The resentencing is a new judgment. See id.; In re Stansell, 828 F.3d 412, 417 (6th Cir. 2016) (“final judgment in a criminal case means sentence. The sentence is the judgment.”) (quoting Berman v. U.S., 302 U.S. 211, 212 (1937)). Therefore, if Petitioner's Motion is challenging his resentencing, then it is not a second or successive application.

         The Sixth Circuit has elaborated on the significance of a court's resentencing on the second or successive analysis that the Supreme Court created in Magwood. In In re Stansell, the Sixth Circuit considered whether an application for writ of habeas corpus was second or successive. In re Stansell, 828 F.3d 412, 416-17 (6th Cir. 2016). In Stansell, the state trial court sentenced the petitioner to twenty years to life in prison. Id. at 414. The petitioner unsuccessfully challenged his sentence in federal district court. Id. The state trial court then resentenced Petitioner, instituting a sentence of five years of post-release control in addition to the original twenty years. Id. The petitioner then filed a second habeas petition, claiming that the trial court erred when it classified him as a sexually violent predator during his first sentencing hearing. Id. This was the only claim in the petitioner's second application, and it was the same claim that he raised in his first petition. Id.

         The Sixth Circuit held that the petitioner's partial resentencing, which added a term of post-release control, constituted a new judgment. Id. at 416. Therefore, Petitioner's second habeas petition was not second or successive. Id. The Court reasoned that “the sentence that matters in a habeas case . . . is the one pursuant to which an individual is held in custody.” Id. The Court stated that before his resentencing, the judgment that kept the petitioner in custody was the sentence of twenty years. Id. However, after his resentencing, what kept the petitioner in custody was a sentence of twenty years and five years of post-release control. Id. Therefore, the partial resentence was a new judgment and the petitioner's second habeas application was not second or successive. Id. at 416-17. Here, Petitioner is in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.