United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
WILLIAM M. DAVIS, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. SIPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a motion by Petitioner William
M. Davis (“Davis”) to vacate his sentence under
28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging that under Johnson v.
United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), Davis is no longer
subject to an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career
Criminal Act (“ACCA”). Respondent United States
of America (“Government”) opposes the motion,
arguing that Johnson does not entitle Davis to
relief. For the reasons that follow, I will grant Davis'
December 16, 2008, Davis was sentenced to 180 months of
imprisonment as an armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C.
§924(e)(1), following his plea of guilty to the offense
of Felon in Possession of a Firearm under 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1). [Crim. Doc. 34, 35]. The following three predicate
convictions for ACCA purposes were identified in Davis'
Presentence Report (“PSR”) at the time of
(i) Tennessee burglary first degree, June 8, 1981, in
Rutherford County, Tennessee, in case number 9064;
(ii) Florida burglary of a structure, July 24, 1989, in
Volusia County, Florida, in case number 88-09681CFAES; and
(iii) Florida burglary of a dwelling, July 24, 1989, in
Volusia County, Florida, in case number 89-01691CFAES.
2008, Davis appealed the judgment of conviction, challenging
the classification of his Florida burglary of a structure
conviction as a “violent felony” under the ACCA
and the length of his sentence. See United States v.
William Davis, No. 09-1080. The Eighth Circuit denied
Davis' appeal, and Davis did not petition the Supreme
Court for certiorari. See United States v. Davis,
352 Fed.Appx. 130 (8th Cir. 2009) (confirming that 1989
Florida burglary qualified as a violent felony). On January
11, 2011, Davis filed a petition under 28 U.S.C. §2255
which challenged the classification of his 1989 burglary as a
“violent felony” and his prior drug-related
convictions as “serious drug offenses” under the
ACCA. See William Davis v. United States, 1:11CV4
RWS; 12014 WL 1213462 (2014). The Court denied this petition
and did not issue a certificate of appealability. On June 30,
2014, Davis filed a second 28 U.S.C. §2255 petition,
without seeking prior permission from the United States Court
of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. See William Davis v.
United States, 1:14CV98 RWS. The Court denied this
petition as successive without permission.
April 5, 2016, Davis filed an application with the United
States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for permission
to file a successive 28 U.S.C. §2255 petition. See
William Davis v. United States, No. 16-1810. The Eighth
Circuit granted Davis permission to file a successive habeas
corpus petition on June 23, 2016. In his motion, Davis argues
that his two prior convictions for Florida burglary no longer
qualify as predicate “violent felony” offenses
under Johnson, so he no longer has the requisite
three qualifying prior convictions under 18 U.S.C. §
and the Government agree that Davis' 1981 Tennessee
conviction for burglary first degree remains a violent felony
and a predicate offense under the ACCA's enumerated
offense clause following Johnson, because the
elements of the applicable Tennessee statute satisfy the
requirements of generic burglary under federal law.
district court may vacate, set aside, or correct a federal
sentence if “the sentence was in excess of the maximum
authorized by law.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Davis
bears the burden to show he is entitled to relief. Day v.
United States, 428 F.2d 1193, 1195 (8th Cir. 1970). In a
case involving an ACCA conviction such as this one,
“the movant carries the burden of showing that the
Government did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence
that his conviction fell under the ACCA.” Hardman
v. United States, 149 F.Supp.3d 1144, 1148 (W.D. Mo.
2016); see also Hardman v. United States, 191
F.Supp.3d 989, 992-93 (W.D. Mo. 2016) (denying
government's motion for reconsideration on the issue of
the burden of proof).
asserts that the two Florida burglary convictions counted as
predicate offenses in ACCA sentencing no longer qualify as
violent felonies following Johnson and related
cases. The Government contends that Davis' claims are not
cognizable in a successive Section 2255 habeas action because
they are not based on a new rule of constitutional law. For
the reasons that follow, Davis' claims are reviewable
under the Johnson decision and the Florida burglary
predicate convictions no longer qualify as violent felonies
given the scope of the Florida ...