Chism v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the stay in this case is lifted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion and amended motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence [1, 12] are denied. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall docket a copy of this Memorandum and Order in Chisms Criminal Case No. 4:08CR465 CDP. A separate judgment in accord with this order is entered today. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on October 30, 2017. (MCB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
VINCENT A. CHISM,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Case No. 4:14 CV 285 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the Motion and Amended Motion of
Vincent A. Chism to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. §
On March 3, 2009, I sentenced Chism to 168 months’ imprisonment,
following his plea of guilty to possession with intent to distribute in excess of 50
grams of crack cocaine. Case No. 4:08CR465 CDP. Chism qualified as a career
offender, so his advisory guidelines range was calculated under § 4B1.1(b) of the
Sentencing Guidelines. His guidelines range was 262 to 327 months. Chism did
not appeal his sentence.
When the Sentencing Guidelines were amended to reduce the sentences for
crack cocaine offenders, Chism filed a motion to reduce sentence under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3582(c)(2). I denied that motion because Chism had been sentenced under the
career offender guidelines rather than the crack guidelines. [Case No.
4:08CR465CDP, Order dated 2/26/13, docket entry # 42].
On February 14, 2014, Chism filed a pro se motion seeking relief under §
2255, arguing that he should not have been sentenced as a career offender because
his prior conviction for domestic assault should not have been classified as a
“crime of violence” under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a). I appointed counsel, who then
filed an amended motion to vacate the sentence. In the amended motion, counsel
argued that the domestic violence conviction could not be considered a crime of
violence, relying, as Chism had in his pro se motion, on Descamps v. United
States, 133 S.Ct. 2267 (2013), and arguing that Descamps was retroactively
applicable to cases on collateral review.
After the United States Supreme Court decided Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), counsel filed a supplemental pleading arguing that under
Johnson Chism should no longer be considered a career offender. In Johnson the
Supreme Court held that the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act
was unconstitutionally vague, and Chism argued that the same analysis should
apply to crimes of violence under the career offender sentencing guidelines.
I ordered the parties to file supplemental briefing, and counsel for movant
filed a supplemental brief discussing the retroactivity of Johnson as discussed in
Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), and further arguing, as he had
before, that the principles of Johnson applied equally to career offender
classifications under the Sentencing Guidelines as to the ACCA. Defendant also
discussed the cognizability and the timeliness of Chism’s claims to relief, both of
which had been challenged in the government’s responsive briefing.
Before its responsive brief was due, the government requested that I stay the
case pending the United States Supreme Court’s consideration of Beckles v. United
States, which, it argued, was potentially dispositive of the issues presented here. I
granted that request and stayed the matter pending the decision in Beckles.
When the Supreme Court decided Beckles, it held that the United States
Sentencing Guidelines could not be challenged on void for vagueness grounds, and
so the ruling of Johnson had no effect on the career offender guidelines. Beckles v.
United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). Moreover, to the extent that Chism relied on
Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013), the Eighth Circuit Court of
Appeals has determined that Descamps did not create a new rule that would apply
retroactively to cases on collateral review. Headbird v. United States, 813 F.3d
1092 (8th Cir. 2016).
Because Johnson does not apply to career offender cases, and because
Descamps is not retroactive to cases on collateral review, Chism’s § 2255 motion
is both untimely and without merit. I will therefore lift the stay previously
imposed and deny the motion.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the stay in this case is lifted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion and amended motion to
vacate, set aside or correct sentence [1, 12] are denied.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall docket a copy
of this Memorandum and Order in Chism’s Criminal Case No. 4:08CR465 CDP.
A separate judgment in accord with this order is entered today.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 30th day of October, 2017
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