United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on movant Elton Lloyd Stoner's
amended motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, based on Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). Johnson held
that the Armed Career Criminal Act's (“ACCA”)
residual clause is unconstitutional. The government opposes
the motion, arguing that Johnson does not affect
movant's sentence and he remains an armed career criminal
because his ACCA predicate offenses were enumerated clause
convictions, not residual clause violent felonies. The
government also argues that movant's motion actually
seeks relief based on statutory interpretation principles set
forth in Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243
(2016), and does not rely on a new rule of constitutional
law, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h)(2). For the
reasons below, the Court will grant movant's motion.
October 25, 2007, a Grand Jury in the Eastern District of
Missouri, Southeastern Division, returned a one-count
indictment against movant Elton Lloyd Stoner. United
States v. Stoner, Case No. 1:07-CR-170 CAS. The
Indictment charged that on or about May 27, 2007, movant
possessed a firearm that affected interstate commerce after
he had been convicted of felony offenses, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The Indictment also notified movant
that he was eligible for sentencing under the ACCA as an
Armed Career Criminal.
March 10, 2008, movant entered a plea of guilty to the
presentence investigation report (“PSR”) was
prepared after movant's plea. The PSR stated that movant
met the Career Offender provisions of the United States
Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”) § 4B1.1
because he had three prior violent felony convictions. The
PSR contained conviction information for five offenses
prosecuted under Minnesota law that could have qualified him
for sentencing under the ACCA: (1) felony theft of a motor
vehicle; (2) third-degree burglary; (3) felony theft of a
motor vehicle; (4) third-degree assault; and (5)
fourth-degree assault. The PSR does not, however, identify
which of these convictions were used to establish movant as a
9, 2008, the Court sentenced movant to 180 months
imprisonment, and a three-year period of supervised release.
Movant did not appeal.
filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on June 30, 2009. He argued
that trial counsel was ineffective for not investigating an
insanity defense. The Court dismissed the motion as without
factual basis and denied a certificate of appealability.
Stoner v. United States, No. 1:09-CV-84 CAS (E.D.
Mo. Mem. and Order of November 2, 2011). Movant did not
appeal the dismissal.
the Supreme Court decided Johnson, movant filed a
petition for authorization to file a successive motion to
vacate, set aside or correct sentence under 28 U.S.C. §
2255, which the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted.
Stoner v. United States, No. 16-1177 (8th Cir. June
28, 2016). Movant filed the instant § 2255 motion, and
later amended it to rely on a recent Eighth Circuit decision
in United States v. McArthur, 836 F.3d 931 (2016)
(holding defendant's prior Minnesota burglary convictions
were not necessarily violent felonies under the ACCA, thus
modified categorical approach was proper)
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). Movant
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
burden of proof).
amended motion, movant asserts that his two 2002 Minnesota
convictions for theft of a motor vehicle and his 2002
Minnesota conviction for third-degree burglary no longer
qualify as predicate offenses now that Johnson has
declared the ACCA's residual clause unconstitutional. The
government responds that despite Johnson, movant is
still subject to the armed career criminal enhancement
because his status does not rest on the ACCA's residual
clause. Although the government does not challenge the
assertion that the convictions for motor vehicle theft are no
longer violent felonies, the government asserts that
movant's third-degree burglary conviction was classified
as a violent felony under the enumerated clause of the ACCA,
not the residual clause. Movant's conviction for
third-degree burglary under Minnesota law, and whether it can
qualify as a predicate offense after Johnson, is the
only issue in this § 2255 motion.
government asserts that movant's claims are not
cognizable in a successive § 2255 habeas motion, as his
motion fails to meet § 2255(h)(2)'s requirement that
a successive motion be based on a new rule of constitutional
law. The government argues that movant relies on the
statutory interpretation principles of M ...