United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
DANIEL W. WALDRON, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Crim. No. 4:12-CR-00118-DGK-1
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CORRECT SENTENCE
KAYS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE.
Daniel W. Waldron (“Petitioner”) pled guilty to
one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and the Honorable
Dean Whipple sentenced him to 70 months' imprisonment. On
May 10, 2017, this case was administratively transferred to
before the Court are Petitioner's Motion to Vacate, Set
Aside, or Correct Sentence (Doc. 1) under 28 U.S.C. §
2255, and the Government's Opposition and Request to Lift
Stay (Doc. 10). In the Government's Opposition, the
Government requests the Court deny Petitioner's motion on
the merits and with prejudice. Because the Supreme Court
recently rejected Petitioner's argument in Beckles v.
United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017), his § 2255
motion is DENIED. The Government's motion to deny
Petitioner's motion is GRANTED.
November 13, 2012, Petitioner pled guilty, pursuant to a
written plea agreement, to one count of being a felon in
possession of a firearm. Plea Agrmnt. (Crim. Doc. 18). In
this agreement, Petitioner waived his right to attack his
sentence, directly or collaterally, on any ground except
claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial
misconduct, or an illegal sentence. Id. ¶ 15.
The agreement defines an “illegal sentence” as
one “imposed in excess of the statutory maximum,
” and states the term specifically “does
not include less serious sentencing errors, such as
a misapplication of the Sentencing Guidelines, an abuse of
discretion, or the imposition of an unreasonable
sentence.” Id. (emphasis in original).
Petitioner does not challenge the validity of his plea
agreement and this waiver.
April 1, 2013, the Honorable Dean Whipple sentenced
Petitioner to 70 months' imprisonment after carefully
considering the relevant factors and reviewing the United
States Sentencing Guidelines (the “Guidelines”).
In calculating Petitioner's Guidelines range, the
Probation and Parole Office found he was eligible for an
enhanced base offense level because he had a prior conviction
that qualified as a “crime of violence.”
Specifically, the Presentence Investigation Report
(“PSR”) states Petitioner's prior Missouri
conviction of resisting arrest by fleeing qualified him for
an enhancement under Guidelines § 2K2.1(a). See
PSR ¶¶ 19, 38 (Crim. Doc. 19). This enhancement
elevated Petitioner's base offense level to 20, yielding
an advisory imprisonment range of 70 to 87 months. The Court
sentenced Petitioner to the bottom end of the advisory range,
and below the statutory maximum of 10 years. Petitioner did
not file a direct appeal.
filed the instant motion on June 16, 2016. The Court withheld
ruling while awaiting the Supreme Court's opinion in
Beckles. That decision was handed down on March 6,
district court may vacate a sentence if it “was imposed
in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United
States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). A § 2255 motion
“is not a substitute for a direct appeal, and is not
the proper way to complain about simple . . . errors.”
Anderson v. United States, 25 F.3d 704, 706 (8th
Cir. 1994) (internal citation omitted).
argues his prior conviction for resisting arrest by fleeing
no longer qualifies as a crime of violence in the wake of
Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), the
Supreme Court decision invalidating the Armed Career Criminal
Act's (“ACCA”) residual clause, 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). Petitioner contends that under
Johnson, the Court's Guidelines calculation
violated due process.
argument is without merit. Petitioner was not sentenced under
the ACCA, but instead under a similarly-worded provision in
the Guidelines. See U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2. The
Guidelines are not subject to a void-for-vagueness challenge
under the Due Process Clause like the ACCA's residual
clause was in Johnson. Beckles, 137 S.Ct.
at 896. Unlike the ACCA, the Guidelines do not fix the
permissible statutory range of punishment. Id. at
894. Instead, they merely guide the exercise of a sentencing
court's discretion in choosing an appropriate sentence
within the permissible range. Id. Here, Petitioner
was sentenced to a term of imprisonment that was not in
excess of the statutory maximum and, therefore, not an
Petitioner's claim is based on the same vagueness
challenge the Supreme Court rejected in Beckles, it
these reasons, Petitioner's Motion to Vacate, Set Aside,
or Correct Sentence (Doc. 1) is DENIED, the Court will not
hold an evidentiary hearing, and the Court declines to issue
a certificate of appealability. The Government's Motion
to Lift Stay and ...