Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harris v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

February 9, 2015

ERIC HARRIS, a/k/a ERIC SCALES, Petitioner,



This matter is before the Court on Petitioner's motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence [Doc. #1] pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The United States of America has responded to the motion. For the reasons set forth below the Motion will be denied without hearing.

Facts and Background[1]

On April 5, 2012, Detective Patrick Welch, of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department ("SLMPD"), applied for a search warrant of Petitioner's residence located at 8610 North Broadway, Apartment A, within the City of St. Louis. On April 9, 2012, officers with the SLMPD established surveillance and observed Petitioner, and his wife, leave the residence. Officers approached Petitioner and placed him under arrest for two active fugitive warrants. A search incident to arrest revealed a clear, knotted bag containing five Oxycodone pills and $2, 007.00 in U.S. currency. Immediately after the pills were discovered by officers, Petitioner spontaneously stated, "Those are some pain pills." Petitioner was placed under arrest.

The officers then executed the search warrant on Petitioner's residence. Once inside, officers asked Petitioner whether there were any narcotics or firearms in the apartment, to which Petitioner responded, "There's some drugs in the top dresser drawer and a pistol in the other room underneath the ottoman." Petitioner also stated that the bedroom belonged to him and his wife, but that the drugs and gun were his and that his wife knew nothing about them.

Pursuant to the search, officers discovered and seized, among other things: (1) a.22 long rifle caliber, semi-automatic pistol; (2) two bags containing 28 grams of cocaine base; (3) a bag containing 14.4 grams of heroin; (4) a digital scale with white residue; (5) a safe containing $4, 745.00; and (6) a box containing $1, 052.00. During a post-arrest interview, Petitioner admitted that he sold cocaine base and heroin and that the money was direct proceeds of those sales. After being transported to the police station, Petitioner made a written statement again claiming ownership of the gun and the drugs.

The firearm was manufactured outside of the State of Missouri and, therefore, necessarily traveled in interstate commerce in order to be in Petitioner's possession. The firearm was test fired and operated as designed.


A federal grand jury sitting in St. Louis returned a four-count indictment against Petitioner on January 14, 2004, charging him with: (1) possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count I); (2) possession with intent to distribute heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count II); (3) possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); and (4) being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (Count IV). On April 3, 2013, Petitioner elected to enter a plea of guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, as to Count IV in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining counts.

On July 1, 2013, this court found that Petitioner was an Armed Career Criminal pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) and sentenced him to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 180 months. A two-year term of supervised release was also imposed. Counts I, II and III were dismissed on motion by the United States.

No appeal of the conviction or sentence to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals was taken by Petitioner. This motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 was filed on July 28, 2014.


There is but a single claim for relief raised by Petitioner. He asserts that this Court's reliance upon his prior Missouri Burglary Second Degree conviction in order to classify him as an Armed Career Criminal violates the principles and requirements set out in Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013).

The Supreme Court held, in Descamps, that a conviction for burglary in violation of California Penal Code § 459 is broader than generic burglary and therefore does not qualify as "burglary" under the enumerated-offenses clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act's "violent felony" definition, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). The Court further held that the modified categorical approach adopted in Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575 (1990), and refined in Shepard v. United States, 544 U.S. 13 (2005), may not be applied to an indivisible statute such as Section 459. As a result, where a statute, like Section 459, does not define ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.