United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner George Beasley's
Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §2255 ("Motion"), filed August 15,
2016. (ECF No. 1).
18, 2015, a Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Missouri,
Southwestern Division, returned a two-count indictment
against Beasley, charging him with one count of Conspiracy to
Distribute Methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§841(a) and one count of Possession With Intent to
Distribute Methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§841(a). (Case Number 1:15CR77RWS, ECF No. 1). On August
17, 2015, Beasley pleaded guilty to count one of the charge
made in the Indictment. (Case Number 1:15CR77RWS, ECF No.
54). The Government agreed to dismiss count two at
sentencing. The Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) found
that Beasley was a career offender under U.S.S.G.
§4Bl.l(a), resulting in a Total Offense Level of 34.
(Case Number 1:15CR77RLW, ECF No. 74, PSR, ¶35). The
predicate convictions listed in the PSR were two controlled
substances convictions for Promoting Manufacture of
Methamphetamine in Shelby County Criminal Court; Memphis,
Tennessee. (Case Number 1:15CR77RLW, ECF No. 74, PSR,
¶¶43, 44). Beasley's Criminal History Category
was listed as a VI because he was classified as a career
offender, and his resulting sentencing range was 262 to 327
months. (ECF No. 74, PSR, ¶48, 81). On November 16,
2015, this Court entered judgment against Beasley. (Case
Number 1:15CR77RWS, ECF No. 82). The Court found Beasley to
be a career offender and sentenced him to a below-guideline
sentence of a term of imprisonment of 236 months. Beasley did
not appeal his conviction or sentence and has not filed
another habeas action prior to this one.
to 28 U.S.C. §2255, a defendant may seek relief on
grounds that the sentence was imposed in violation of the
Constitution or law of the United States, that the court
lacked jurisdiction to impose such a sentence, that "an
error of law does not provide a basis for collateral attack
unless the claimed error constituted a fundamental defect
which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice." Sun Bear v. United States, 644 F.3d
700, 704 (8th Cir. 2011)(internal citations omitted). To
warrant relief under §2255, the errors of which the
movant complains must amount to a fundamental miscarriage of
justice. Davis v. United States, 477 U.S. 333, 346,
94 S.Ct. 2298, 2305, 41 L.Ed.2d 109, 119 (1974); Hill v.
United States, 368 U.S. 424, 428-29, 82 S.Ct. 468, 471,
7 L.Ed.2d 417, 422 (1962).
§2255 Petition, Beasley contends he was improperly
classified as a career offender based upon a retroactive
application of Johnson v. US, 576 U.S. ___, 135
S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015). Beasley states:
Ineffective counsel-under advisement of my lawyer, I pleaded
to 236 months. In light of Johnson v. U.S., I was
careered out due to drug charges that are now charged in
light of Welch v. U.S. Its [sic] officially
retroactive, after these illegal enhancements come off, I
will no longer be careered out.
(ECF No. 1, §2255 Habeas Petition, p. 4). In other words,
Beasley appears to argue he was improperly classified as a
career offender and the recent holdings in Johnson
and Welch mandate this Court resentence him without
finding him to be a career offender. Beasley claims that he
did not raise this issue on appeal "[i]n light of
current cases that weren't ruled on at the time of my
sentencing." (ECF No. 1, §2255 Habeas Petition, p.
Johnson, the Supreme Court held that the Armed
Career Criminal Act's ("ACCA"; 18 U.S.C.
§924(e)) residual clause was unconstitutionally vague
and "thus fixed-in an impermissibly vague way-a higher
range of sentences for certain defendants." Beckles
v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886, 892, 197 L.Ed.2d 145
(2017); Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2563, 192 L.Ed.2d
569 ("imposing an increased sentence under the residual
clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act violates the
Constitution's guarantee of due
process"). Here, Beasley tries in his Habeas Petition
to apply the holding of Johnson to claim that the
similarly-worded United States Sentencing Guidelines'
(USSG) definition of a crime of violence was
Beasley filed his Habeas Petition on August 15, 2016, the
Supreme Court issued its decision in Beckles v. United
States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). In Beetles, the
Supreme Court addressed whether a career offender could
assert that the holding of Johnson could be applied
retroactively to a career offender's sentence that might
be impacted by the residual clause definition of a crime of
violence set out in the Sentencing Guidelines, specifically
U.S.S.G. §4B 1.2(a)(2). Beckles, like Beasley, had been
originally sentenced as a career offender. Beckles contended
that the retroactive application of Johnson
(invalidating the residual clause definition of a violent
felony pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §924(e)(2)(B)) likewise
invalidated his sentence under the USSG. Beckles,
137 S.Ct. at 890 (citing Johnson). The
Beckles Court held:
Unlike the ACCA, however, the advisory Guidelines do not fix
the permissible range of sentences. To the contrary, they
merely guide the exercise of a court's discretion in
choosing an appropriate sentence within the statutory range.
Accordingly, the Guidelines are not subject to a vagueness
challenge under the Due Process Clause. The residual clause
in § 4B 1.2(a)(2) therefore is not void for vagueness.
Beckles, 137 S.Ct. at 892. Therefore, the Supreme
Court in Beckles has rejected the argument that the
holding in Johnson was applicable to the residual
clause of the USSG. Likewise, Beasley's challenge to his
career offender status based upon Johnson also
cannot stand. Therefore, the Court holds that
Johnson has no impact on ...