Stevenson v. USA - 2255
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Richard D. Bennett on 9/20/2017. (kw2s, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF Mr\RYLAND
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Civ. Action No. RDB-16-2306
Crim. Action No. RDB-08-588
13, 2009, Petitioner Keith Stevenson ("Petitioner"
pled guilty to possession
with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.c. ~
841(a)(1) (ECF No. 39.) During Petitioner's
sentencing hearing, this Court found that
Petitioner's prior convictions for attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and robbery
with a dangerous weapon qualified as "crimes of violence" under United States Sentencing
Guideline (U.S.S.G.) ~ 4B1.2.(a). As a result, Petitioner was deemed a career offender and
was then sentenced to a term of one-hundred and twenry (120) months imprisonment.
Six years later, the Supreme Court in johnJon I'. United Statu, _
135 S. Ct.
2551 (2015) struck down the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal r\ct (ACCA), 18
~ 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) as unconstitutionally
vague. The Office of the Federal Public
then fJ.!ed a motion on behalf of Petitioner under 28 U.S.c. ~ 2255,
arguing that because the "Career Offender" provision in the Sentencing Guidelines includes
the identical residual clause as that struck down in johnJon, it is also void for vagueness. (ECF
In 2017, however, the Supreme Court held in Beckles
S. Ct. 886 (2017) that the advisory guidelines
United States, _
were not subject
to Johnson challenges.
to that decision, the OFPD informed Petitioner that in light of Beckles it would
no longer be able to represent
him. On September
18, 2017, the OFPD
filed a Motion to
Withdraw as Counsel (ECF No. 69), which this Court granted. (ECF No. 70.)
Petitioner has since been released from custody.! However, still pending before this
Court is Petitioner's
Motion to Correct Sentence Under 28 U.S.c. ~ 2255. (ECF No. 67.)
The parties' submissions
105.6 (D. Md. 2016).
have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary.
For the reasons
stated herein, Petitioner
See Local Rule
Correct Sentence Under 28 U.S.c. ~ 2255 (ECF No. 67) is DENIED.
only claim is that under Johnson, the residual clause that this Court applied
with a dangerous
is void for vagueness.
this Court must determine
robbery with a dangerous weapon and
quality as crimes of violence
offenses" clause or "force" clause of U.S.S.G ~ 4131.2(a).
As the OFPD
stated in its !\lotion to Withdraw
Betides this argument is without merit.
as Counsel, however,
in light of
the Becklu Court stated, "[b]ecause the advisory
are not subject to a due process vagueness challenge, ~ 4B1.2(a)'s
I Although Petitioner is no longer incarcerated, his Section 2255 :t\fotion to Correct Sentence is still ripe for
adjudication because he remains on supervised release. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit has made clear in Uniled Siaies
I'. Pregenl, 190 F.3d 279, 283 (4th
Cit. 1999) that "[aJ prisoner on
supervised release is considered to be 'in custody' for purposes of a ~ 2255 motion" (citing Ala/eng v. Cook, 4-90
U.S. 488, 491 (1989)).
residual clause is not void for vagueness."
137 S. Ct. at 897. For this reason, Petitioner's
pending Motion to Vacate (ECF No. 67) is DENIED.
For the reason stated above, Petitioner
Under 28 U.S.c. ~ 2255 (ECF No. 67) is DENIED.
Pursuant to Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing
under 28 U.S.c. ~ 2255,
the court is required to issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order
adverse to the applicant.
A certificate of appealability is a "jurisdictional
appeal from the court's earlier order. United States v. Hadden, 475 F.3d 652, 659 (4th Cir.
2007). A certificate of appealability may issue "only if the applicant has made a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional
right." 28 U.S.c. ~ 2253(c)(2). Where the court
motion on its merits, a petitioner satisfies this standard by demonstrating
find the court's
of the constitutional
or wrong. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000); see also Miller-EI v.
Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336-38 (2003). Because reasonable jurists would not find Stevenson's
claims debatable, a certificate of appealability is DENIED.
A separate Order follows.
September 20, 2017
Richard D. Bennett
United States DistrictJudge
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