United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
PAUL L. MALONEY JUDGE
the Court is a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct
sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and supplement thereto,
filed by Defendant William Hugh Wilson (ECF Nos. 99, 102).
The Government has filed a response to the motion, arguing
that the grounds for relief are meritless and/or procedurally
defaulted. The Court agrees with the Government. Accordingly,
the motion under § 2255 will be denied.
January 5, 2017, Michigan authorities executed a search
warrant at a residence in Kalamazoo, Michigan, after an
informant purchased cocaine from that location on two
occasions. The informant identified Defendant as the one who
sold him cocaine during the first purchase. After entering
the residence, police discovered four firearms-including two
shotguns, a revolver and a pistol-as well as 5 grams of
cocaine, digital scales, plastic baggies, a crack pipe, and
razor blades. At the time, Defendant was a convicted felon.
He had been convicted of possession with intent to deliver
less than 50 grams of controlled substances, in violation of
Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.7401(2)(a)(iv), on five previous
February 23, 2017, a grand jury returned an indictment
charging Defendant with being a felon in possession of a
firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Count
1), as well as possession with intent to distribute cocaine,
in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count 2).
1, 2017, Defendant pleaded guilty to Count 1 in exchange for
the dismissal of Count 2. Under a plea agreement, the
Government agreed to recommend a sentence at the low end of
the Sentencing Guidelines range, and to not oppose a
reduction in Defendant's offense level for acceptance of
responsibility. (Plea Agreement, ECF No. 46, PageID.94.)
Final Presentence Investigation Report (“PIR”)
calculated Defendant's recommended range of sentence
under the Sentencing Guidelines as 262 to 327 months, based
on a total offense level of 34 and a criminal history
category of VI. (PIR, ECF No. 61, PageID.246.) The PIR set
the offense level at 34 because Defendant is an “armed
career criminal” under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). See U.S.S.G. §
4B1.4 (2016) (setting the offense level at 34 for armed
career criminals). Defendant had at least three prior
convictions for a “serious drug offense, ” as
that term is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(A). All
five of his prior drug convictions are serious drug offenses
because each of them was punishable by up to 20 years in
prison. See Mich. Comp. Laws §
determined that Defendant was not eligible for any credit for
acceptance of responsibility (see PIR, PageID.220),
but Defendant's counsel objected to that determination
and the Court granted the objection. (Sentencing Tr., ECF No.
82, PageID.538.) Accordingly, the Court reduced the total
offense level to 31, resulting in a sentencing range of 188
to 235 months. The Court sentenced Defendant near the bottom
of the guidelines range to 204 months in prison.
appealed his sentence, arguing that the ACCA enhancement did
not apply because his prior drug convictions involved small
quantities of drugs and, thus, were not “serious drug
offenses.” The Court of Appeals rejected that argument
and affirmed this Court's judgment. See United States
v. Wilson, No. 17-2324 (6th Cir. July 16, 2018). It also
noted that Defendant had “knowingly and
voluntarily” waived his right to appeal. Id.
now raises the following grounds for relief in his motion
under § 2255 and supplement thereto:
I. This court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this
II. The plea in this matter is inadmissible evidence.
III. [Defendant's] prior state drug convictions do not
qualify as a serious drug offense for (ACCA) enhancement.
(§ 2255 Motion, ECF No. 99, PageID.642, 643; Mot. to
Supplement, ECF No. 102, PageID.711.)
prisoner who moves to vacate his sentence under § 2255
must show that the sentence was imposed in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States, that the court was
without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence, that the
sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or
that it is otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. To prevail on a § 2255 motion “a
petitioner must demonstrate the existence of an error of
constitutional magnitude which had 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) (quoting
Griffin v. United States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th
Cir. 2003)). Non-constitutional errors are generally outside
the scope of § 2255 relief. United States v.
Cofield, 233 F.3d 405, 407 (6th Cir. 2000). A petitioner
can prevail on a § 2255 motion alleging
non-constitutional error only by establishing a
“fundamental defect which inherently results in a