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Smith v. United States

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

April 3, 2017

GLENN ALLEN SMITH, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         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, wherein he asserts Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) is applicable. The United States of America has responded to the motion. For the reasons set forth below the Motion will be denied.

         Facts and Background

         On January 9, 2007, Petitioner entered a plea of guilty to the offense of Possession Of Methamphetamine With the Intent to Distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). A Presentence Investigation Report was prepared and provided to the court. Petitioner appeared on April 10, 2007 for sentencing. Petitioner was found to be a career offender and was sentenced to a within-Guidelines term of imprisonment of 188 months.

         The Presentence Investigation Report found Petitioner to be a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a), resulting in a Total Offense Level of 29. The convictions that were classified as career offender predicates were: (1) a crime of violence conviction for First Degree Burglary; (2) a controlled substance offense of Manufacture of a Controlled Substance. The Criminal History Category was VI since he was classified as a career offender and the resulting sentencing range was 151 to 188 months.

         Petitioner's Claim

         Petitioner claims that he is entitled to relief under the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). His suggestion is that Johnson should be applied retroactively to his case to reduce his sentence.

         Discussion

In Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), the Supreme Court held that the residual clause in the definition of a “violent felony” in the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B) (“ACCA”), is unconstitutionally vague. The Supreme Court has since determined that Johnson announced a new substantive rule of constitutional law that applies retroactively on collateral review in cases involving ACCA-enhanced sentences. United States v. Welch, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016). However, the Court's holding in Welch that Johnson applies retroactively in ACCA cases on collateral review does not govern the separate question of whether Johnson applies retroactively to claims based on the Sentencing Guidelines. Unlike the ACCA, a Guidelines classification does not “prescribe[] punishment.” Welch, 136 S.Ct. at 1268.

         A Career Offender is determined as follows:

(a) A defendant is a career offender if (1) the defendant was at least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense.

U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a).

         A “crime of violence” is defined in the Guidelines as follows:

(a) the term “crime of violence” means any offense under federal or state law, punishable by imprisonment for ...

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