United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
CHRIS H. LOFTON, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Crim. No. 4:12-CR-00110-DGK-01
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CORRECT SENTENCE
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
Chris H. Lofton (“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 924(a)(2),
and the Court sentenced him to 108 months' imprisonment.
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 Motion to Lift Stay and Deny
Pending 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Motion on the Merits (Doc. 26).
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
October 17, 2012, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of
being a felon in possession of a firearm, absent a written
plea agreement. On April 2, 2013, the Court sentenced
Petitioner to 108 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 one prior
conviction that qualified as a “crime of violence,
” his prior Missouri conviction for resisting arrest.
See PSR ¶¶ 17, 47 (Crim. Doc. 19). This
enhancement elevated Petitioner's base offense level to
20, ultimately yielding an advisory imprisonment range of 92
to 115 months. The Court sentenced Petitioner to 108 months,
12 months below the statutory maximum of 10 years. Petitioner
did not file a direct appeal.
filed the instant motion on January 27, 2016. The Court
withheld ruling while awaiting the Supreme Court's
opinion in Beckles. That decision was handed down on
March 6, 2017.
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 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 Deny Pending 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Motion on
the Merits (Doc. 26) is GRANTED.