Williams v. United States of America
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS Denying re 1 Motion to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct Sentence (2255) filed by Daniel Williams Objections to R&R due by 10/3/2016. Signed by Magistrate Judge G. R. Smith on 9/19/16. (jrb)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
DANIEL LEE WILLIAMS,
Case No. CV616-077
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Having pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), with his sentence enhanced by 18
U.S.C. § 924(a)(2), CR614-015, doc. 47 (judgment); doc. 46 (plea
agreement), Daniel Lee Williams moves under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 for
resentencing without that enhancement. Doc. 50. Preliminary review
under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings shows
that his motion must be denied.
Accepting as true Williams’ contention that his sentence was
enhanced under the U.S. Sentencing Guideline 4B1.1(a), doc. 50 at 5, his
argument that he is entitled to be resentenced because 4B1.1 is “void for
vagueness” under the reasoning set forth in Johnson v. United States ,
576 U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015),1 fails. See United States v. Matchett ,
802 F.3d 1185, 1194 (11th Cir. 2015) ( Johnson does not apply to
enhancements under the Guidelines), reh’g en banc denied, ___ F.3d ___,
2016 WL 475721 (11th Cir. Sept. 13, 2016); see also In re Griffin , 823
F.3d 1350, 1354 (11th Cir. 2016) (“The Guidelines -- whether mandatory
or advisory -- cannot be unconstitutionally vague because they do not
establish the illegality of any conduct and are designed to assist and limit
the discretion of the sentencing judge.”).
For that matter, defendant’s sentence was not enhanced by that
Guideline, and the PSR expressly noted that he “narrowly avoided being
classified as an armed career criminal.” PSR (Sentencing
Recommendation) at 1. Instead, Williams was sentenced under 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(a)(2), which provides: “Whoever knowingly violates subsection
He seeks to exploit the new rule that Johnson announced, and which was made
retroactive by Welch v. United States , ___ U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1257 (2016).
The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) -- the statute Johnson addressed -provides enhanced penalties for defendants who are (1) convicted of being felons in
possession of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g); and (2) have “three prior
convictions . . . for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both.” It defines
“violent felony” as, among other things, a felony that “otherwise involves conduct
that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”
§ 924(e)(2)(B). Johnson found that “residual” clause so vague that it violates due
process. See 135 S. Ct. at 2557. But crimes falling under ACCA’s other clauses,
known as the “elements and “enumerated crimes” clauses, are not affected by
Johnson’s holding. Id. at 2563.
(a)(6), (d), (g), (h), (i), (j), or (o) of section 922 shall be fined as provided
in this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.” Id.
In light of § 924(a)(2), the PSR recommended 115 months, based in
no small part on U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(a)(2) (supporting a base offense level
of 24 for violating § 922(g)(1) with at least two countable felony
convictions). PSR (Sentencing Recommendation) at 2. The district judge
sentenced him to 108. Doc. 47 at 2. Johnson , which invalidated another
part of § 924 ( i.e. , § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii)), is thus inapplicable.
United States , 2016 WL 4787280 at * 2 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 15, 2016). 2
Accordingly, Daniel Lee Williams’ § 2255 motion should be
DENIED . Applying the Certificate of Appealability (COA) standards set
forth in Brown v. United States , 2009 WL 307872 at * 1-2 (S.D. Ga. Feb.
9, 2009), the Court discerns no COA-worthy issues at this stage of the
litigation, so no COA should issue either. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1); Rule
[a]s the flood of post-Johnson, post- Welch § 2255 motions nationwide suggests,
[Williams] is not alone in his misunderstanding of the implications of Johnson .
So it bears stating that Johnson's holding, which specifically concerned the
ACCA's “residual clause,” was not a wholesale condemnation of the application
of the Guidelines or of garden-variety calculations of a defendant's criminal
history category like in this case. Indeed, the Supreme Court has subsequently
reaffirmed the significance of the Guidelines calculations in sentencing
proceedings. Molina-Martinez v. United States , 136 S. Ct. 1338, 1345 (2016).
United States v. Haslip , 2016 WL 4544329 at * 2 (D. Minn. Aug. 31, 2016).
11(a) of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases Under 28 U.S.C.
§2255 (“The district court must issue or deny a certificate of
appealability when it enters a final order adverse to the applicant.”)
(emphasis added). Any motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis
therefore is moot.
SO REPORTED AND RECOMMENDED this 19th day of
UNiTED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?