United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CORRECT SENTENCE
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
Christopher Stoner (“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 Government's Motion to Lift Stay and Deny
Pending 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Motion on the Merits (Doc. 12).
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
March 5, 2014, Petitioner pled guilty absent a written plea
agreement to one count of being a felon in possession of a
firearm. (Crim. Doc. 21). On October 27, 2014, 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 a prior conviction that qualified as a “crime of
violence.” Specifically, the Presentence Investigation
Report (“PSR”) found Petitioner's prior
Missouri conviction for second-degree burglary qualified him
for an enhancement under Guidelines § 2K2.1(a).
See PSR ¶¶ 10, 30 (Crim. Doc. 24). This
enhancement elevated Petitioner's base offense level to
20, yielding an advisory imprisonment range of 37 to 46
months. The Court sentenced Petitioner above the advisory
range, but below the statutory maximum of 10 years.
Petitioner appealed, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
affirmed his sentence on August 3, 2015. United States v.
Stoner, 795 F.3d 883 (2015).
filed the instant motion on June 21, 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 of second-degree burglary 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. 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
claim is denied.
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. 12) is GRANTED.