Thompson v. United States of America
ORDER by Senior District Judge C. LeRoy Hansen ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE GARZA'S PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION for 1 Motion to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct Sentence (2255 under Johnson v. USA) filed by Alfonso Thompson BE DISMISSED with prejudice (bap)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
CV 16-0713 LH/CG
CR 12-3013 LH
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION
THIS MATTER is before the Court on United States Magistrate Judge Carmen E.
Garza’s Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition (“PFRD”), filed November 7,
2016. (CV Doc. 8).1 In the PFRD, the Magistrate Judge concluded that Petitioner
Alfonso Thompson was properly sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”), and recommended that his Motion to Correct Sentence Pursuant to Johnson
v. United States and under the Auspices of 28 U.S.C. § 2255, (CV Doc. 1), be
dismissed with prejudice.
The parties were notified that written objections to the PFRD were due within 14
days. (CV Doc. 8 at 9). Petitioner filed Defendant/Petitioner’s Objections to Proposed
Findings and Recommended Disposition (the “Objections”), (Doc. 11), on December 7,
2016. After a de novo review of the record and the PFRD, the Court adopts Judge
Garza’s PFRD in its entirety.
On November 27, 2012, Petitioner was charged with being a felon in possession
Documents referenced as “CV Doc. ___” are from case number 16-cv-713-LH-CG. Documents
referenced “CR Doc. ___” are from case number 12-cr-3013-LH.
of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and was sentenced to 180 months’
imprisonment on October 14, 2014. (CR Docs. 2, 91). Petitioner was found to be an
armed career criminal based on his prior convictions for attempt to commit a felony, to
wit: aggravated battery against a household member (deadly weapon); and two
convictions for attempt to commit a felony, to wit: first degree murder (firearm
enhancement). (CV Doc. 6 at 1-2).
On June 26, 2016, Petitioner requested review of his sentence pursuant to the
Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015). (CV
Doc. 1 at 1). The Court referred this matter to Judge Garza to conduct analysis and to
make findings of fact and a recommended disposition. (CV Doc. 2). Judge Garza
concluded that Petitioner’s claim should be dismissed with prejudice because Petitioner
was correctly sentenced under the ACCA.
Pursuant to Rule 8 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the
United States District Courts, a district judge may, under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), refer a
pretrial dispositive motion to a magistrate judge for proposed findings of fact and
recommendations for disposition. Within fourteen days of being served, a party may file
objections to this recommendation. Rule 8(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255
Proceedings for the United States District Courts. A party may respond to another
party’s objections within fourteen days of being served with a copy; the rule does not
provide for a reply. FED. R. CIV. P. 72(b).2
When resolving objections to a magistrate judge’s recommendation, the district
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure may be applied to the extent that they are not inconsistent with any
statutory provisions or the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings. Rule 12 of the Rules Governing
Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts.
judge must make a de novo determination regarding any part of the recommendation to
which a party has properly objected. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Filing objections that
address the primary issues in the case “advances the interests that underlie the
Magistrate’s Act, including judicial efficiency.” United States v. One Parcel of Real
Prop., With Bldgs., Appurtenances, Improvements, & Contents, 73 F.3d 1057, 1059
(10th Cir. 1996). Objections must be timely and specific to preserve an issue for de
novo review by the district court or for appellate review. Id. at 1060. Additionally,
issues “raised for the first time in objections to the magistrate judge’s recommendation
are deemed waived.” Marshall v. Chater, 75 F.3d 1421, 1426 (10th Cir. 1996); see also
United States v. Garfinkle, 261 F.3d 1030, 1031 (10th Cir. 2001) (“In this circuit, theories
raised for the first time in objections to the magistrate judge’s report are deemed
In this case, Petitioner argued that his sentence was enhanced based on the
residual clause of the ACCA, in violation of his Due Process Rights. Petitioner alleged
that his prior convictions for attempted first degree murder only constituted “violent
felonies” under the residual clause of the ACCA. (CV Doc. 1 at 3). Because the
Supreme Court found the residual clause to be unconstitutional in Johnson, Petitioner
maintains that he was incorrectly sentenced. (CV Doc. 1 at 3).
After considering the evidence in the record and the relevant law, Judge Garza
determined that Petitioner’s convictions for attempted first degree murder with a firearm
enhancement were correctly classified as “violent felonies” under the ACCA, and,
therefore, Petitioner was correctly sentenced. (CV Doc. 8 at 7-8). Accordingly, Judge
Garza recommended that Petitioner’s Motion be dismissed with prejudice. (CV Doc. 8 at
Petitioner filed Objections in which he does not “abandon” his position that
attempted first degree murder could be based on felony murder and posits that
attempted first degree murder could be “based on a . . . set of facts wherein a defendant
intended to commit the crime, began to do an act which was a substantial part of the
crime, but failed to do so.” (Doc. 11 at 1). The Court will address each argument in turn.
First, in the PFRD Judge Garza explained that New Mexico does not recognize
the crime of attempted felony murder. State v. Price, 1986-NMCA-036, 726 P.2d 857,
860 (N.M. Ct. App. 1986) (The Court “refus[ed] to accept attempted felony murder as a
crime”), holding modified by State v. Ortega, 1991-NMSC-084, 817 P.2d 1196 (N.M.
1991). Petitioner does not provide any case law that contradicts Price, and admits that
Price “presents a fairly insurmountable obstacle,” (Doc. 11 at n.1). The Court agrees
with Judge Garza that New Mexico does not recognize the crime of attempted felony
murder. Thus, Petitioner could not have been convicted of attempted felony murder.
Second, Petitioner presents a hypothetical involving poisoning to the Court in
order to show that attempted first degree murder does not have to involve physical
force. (Doc. 11 at 1-2). However, Petitioner was convicted of attempted first degree
murder with a firearm enhancement, so the Court is not persuaded by Petitioner’s
argument. In finding that this conviction is a violent felony, Judge Garza relied on the
Tenth Circuit’s holding in Maldonado-Palma. In that case, the Tenth Circuit held that
“[e]mploying a weapon that is capable of producing death or great bodily harm or
inflicting dangerous wounds in an assault necessarily threatens the use of physical
force, i.e., ‘force capable of causing physical pain or injury to another person.’” U.S. v.
Maldonado-Palma, 839 F.3d 1244,1250 (10th Cir. 2016) (quoting Johnson I, 559 U.S. at
140)). Petitioner has not provided the Court any new case law or reasoning as to why
the Court should not follow the Tenth Circuit’s reasoning in Maldonado-Palma.
Therefore, the Court agrees with Judge Garza that attempted first degree murder with a
firearm enhancement is a “violent felony” and Petitioner was properly sentenced under
The Court finds that Judge Garza conducted the proper analysis and correctly
concluded that Petitioner’s claims should be dismissed with prejudice. Petitioner’s
objections are overruled.
For the reasons stated above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Judge Garza’s
Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition, (CV Doc. 8), be ADOPTED, and
Petitioner’s Motion to Correct Sentence Pursuant to Johnson v. United States and under
the Auspices of 28 U.S.C. § 2255, (CV Doc. 1), be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
THE HONORABLE LEROY HANSEN
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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?