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United States v. Andrews

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

May 28, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
D-3 JEROME ANDREWS, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO VACATE SENTENCE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Dkts. 294, 305)

          Mark A. Goldsmith, United States District Judge.

         Defendant Jerome Andrews pleaded guilty to four counts of interference with commerce by robbery, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), and four counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). He was sentenced on October 17, 2013, and did not appeal his conviction. Now, he seeks relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in light of the Supreme Court's holdings in Dimaya v. Sessions, 138 S.Ct. 1204 (2018), and Dean v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 1170 (2017). For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Andrews' request.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On May 21, 2018, Defendant Jerome Andrews filed a letter with the Court, wherein he requested the appointment of an attorney and also referenced the Supreme Court's recent decision in Dimaya, 138 S.Ct. 1204. See 5/21/2018 Request for Appointment of Counsel (Dkt. 294). On June 14, 2018, recognizing that Andrews' request could be characterized as a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, this Court issued an order requiring Andrews to inform the Court whether he would like his filing to be construed as such a motion. See 6/14/2018 Order regarding Defendant's request (Dkt. 298).

         Andrews subsequently filed a letter stating that he “would like to amend both fillings [sic] as a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion.” See 8/8/2018 Letter (Dkt. 305). The Court therefore construed his May 21, 2018 filing as a motion for relief under § 2255. The Government then filed a response to the motion (Dkt. 309).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         This motion is brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides in pertinent part:

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 court was without jurisdiction to impose such 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.

         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). Non-constitutional errors are generally outside the scope of § 2255 relief. See United States v. Cofield, 233 F.3d 405, 407 (6th Cir. 2000). 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, 175 F.3d 486, 488 (6th Cir. 1999).

         A court should grant a hearing to determine the issues and make findings of fact and conclusions of law 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). No. evidentiary hearing is required if the petitioner's allegations “cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or conclusions rather than statements of fact.” Valentine v. United States, 488 F.3d 325, 333 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting Arredondo v. United States, 178 F.3d 778, 782 (6th Cir. 1999)). “If it plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving party is not entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the motion.” Rules Governing § 2255 Cases, Rule 4(b).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Andrews' filings contain only passing references to Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S.Ct. 1204 (2018), and Dean v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 1170 (2017). In Dimaya, the Supreme Court analyzed the definition of “aggravated felony” in the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43). An “aggravated felony” includes a “crime of violence, ” as defined in section 16 of title 18, which covers:

(a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or ...

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