Owens v. USA
MEMORANDUM OPINION OF THE COURT AND ORDER: Having reviewed the pleadings, briefs and records filed in Movant's underlying criminal case, as well as the pleadings, briefs and records filed in the § 2255 case, the Court finds that the reco rd conclusively establishes, and the parties agree, that the Movant is entitled to relief on his claims. Accordingly, the Motion (Doc. No. 1) is GRANTED; the Movant's sentence and judgment are hereby VACATED, and an amended judgment will be p romptly entered in Case No. 3:03-cr-00160. The Clerk shall enter judgment in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58. Signed by Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr on 8/25/17. (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(am)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
ENGLES GERALD OWENS, JR.,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
CHIEF JUDGE CRENSHAW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Pending before the Court are the Movant’s Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct
Sentence In Accordance With 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. No. 1), the Movant’s Supplemental Brief
(Doc. No. 15), the Government’s Response (Doc. No. 17), and the Movant’s Reply (Doc. No. 18.)
28 U.S.C. Section 2255 provides federal prisoners with a statutory mechanism by which to
seek to have their sentence vacated, set aside or corrected:
(a) A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress
claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in
violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was
without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of
the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may
move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). In order to obtain relief under Section 2255, the movant must demonstrate
constitutional error that had a “‘substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or
the jury’s verdict.’” Hamblen v. United States, 591 F.3d 471, 473 (6th Cir. 2009)(quoting Griffin
v. United States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th Cir. 2003)).
Movant Engles Owens, Jr. pleaded guilty on July 28, 2004, to one count of being a felon
in possession of firearms in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). The Court adopts the Government’s
explanation of Movant’s sentence:
The default statutory range for a § 922(g) violation is zero to 10 years in prison. 18
U.S.C. § 924(a)(2). However, under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), a
defendant convicted of § 922(g) who has three previous convictions for violent
felonies or serious drug offenses is subject to an enhanced mandatory minimum
sentence of 180 months. See id. § 924(e)(1). At sentencing, Owens was in criminal
history category VI, yielding a guideline range of 262 to 327 months. (PSR, p. 22).
He also qualified as an armed career criminal, which meant that the statutory
sentencing range was 15 years to life. (Id., pp. 7, 22). Owens was an armed career
criminal based on eight prior Tennessee convictions for aggravated burglary. (PSR,
pp. 7-12). On March 21, 2005, the district court sentenced him to 237 months in
prison. (Criminal Case No. 3:03-cr-160-1, DE-75, Judgment). The Sixth Circuit
affirmed. See United States v. Owens, Case No. 05-5638.
(Doc. No. 17.)
Pursuant to the recently announced decision in United States v. Stitt, 860 F.3d 854 (6th
Cir. 2017), however, Movant’s prior aggravated burglary convictions are not violent felonies for
the purpose of the ACCA, and Movant therefore does not qualify as an armed career criminal.
Although the Government disagrees with the Stitt holding, both parties agree that Stitt is binding
on this Court and that it mandates relief in this case. The Court also agrees that Movant no longer
qualifies as an armed career criminal, and that he is entitled to have his sentence revised
accordingly. Out of concern for the Movant’s serious illness, the parties agree that the Court is
authorized to resentence Movant without holding a formal resentencing hearing, and the Movant
has expressly waived any right to be present for resentencing. (Doc. No. 17 at 4; Doc. No. 18 at
1); see 28 U.S.C. § 2255(c) (authorizing the Court to act on § 2255 motion “without requiring the
production of the prisoner”); Ajan v. United States, 731, F.3d 629, 633 (6th Cir. 2013) (observing
that district court had granted in part § 2255 motion and ordered that amended judgment be entered,
“without conducting sentencing proceedings”).
Having reviewed the pleadings, briefs and records filed in Movant’s underlying criminal
case, as well as the pleadings, briefs and records filed in the § 2255 case, the Court finds that the
record conclusively establishes, and the parties agree, that the Movant is entitled to relief on his
claims. Accordingly, the Motion (Doc. No. 1) is GRANTED; the Movant’s sentence and
judgment are hereby VACATED, and an amended judgment will be promptly entered in Case No.
The Clerk shall enter judgment in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR.
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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