United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court upon Petitioner Ricky
Eugene Lynn's Amended Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or
Correct Sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Doc.
August 24, 2012, Lynn entered a straight up guilty plea to
conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack
cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846,
841(b)(1)(A) (Count One), and using a communication facility
for controlled substance distribution, in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 843(b) (Count Two). Accept. & Entry of
Plea, Doc. No. 110. The Court sentenced Lynn to 189 months
imprisonment in Count One and to a concurrent 48-month term
in Count Two. J., Doc. No. 216. Judgment was entered on
October 8, 2013. Id.
did not file a direct appeal, but in 2015, he successfully
moved to reduce his sentence under U.S.S.G. Amendment 782.
Doc. No. 272. The Court reduced Lynn's sentence in Count
One to 158 months' imprisonment. Doc. No. 296.
3, 2016, the Clerk of Court received a letter from Lynn
asking that his sentence be reviewed to determine if he is
eligible for a sentence reduction in light of the United
States Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015); the letter was docketed
in Lynn's criminal case. Doc. No. 300. On July 14, 2016,
Lynn filed a document titled, “Petitioner's 28
U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3) Successor Motion, Pursuant to United
States Supreme Court: Richard Mathis v. United States, 579
U.S. No. 15-6092 S.Ct. Supplement to Johnson v. United
States, (2015), ” and the Clerk of Court opened the
instant civil action. (Doc. No. 1.)
this Court entered an Order directing the Clerk to file
Lynn's May 3, 2016 Letter in this civil action and docket
it as a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence under
28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Order, Doc. No. 2.) The Court also
directed the Clerk to docket Lynn's “28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(f)(3) Successor Motion, etc.” as an Amended
Motion to Vacate.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings
in the United States District Court, sentencing courts are
directed to examine motions to vacate, along with “any
attached exhibits and the record of prior proceedings”
in order to determine whether a petitioner is entitled to any
relief. If it plainly appears that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief, the court must dismiss the motion.
See id. After conducting its initial review, the
Court finds that the claims presented in the Motion to Vacate
can be resolved based on the record and governing case law.
See Raines v. United States, 423 F.2d 526, 529 (4th
Johnson v. United States, made retroactive on
collateral review by Welch v. United States, 136
S.Ct. 1257 (2016), the Supreme Court held that the residual
clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”),
18 U.S.C. § 924(e), is unconstitutionally vague under
the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. 135 S.Ct. at
2558. The ACCA provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of
15 years in prison for a defendant convicted of being a felon
in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), if the
defendant has at least three prior convictions for serious
drug offenses or violent felonies. See §
924(e)(1). “Violent felony” is defined in the
ACCA as “any crime punishable by imprisonment for a
term exceeding one year” that “(i) has as an
element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical
force against the person of another; or (ii) is burglary,
arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or
otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential
risk of physical injury to another.” §
924(e)(2)(B) (emphasis added).
italicized closing words of § 924(e)(2)(B) constitute
the ACCA's residual clause. Johnson, 135 S.Ct.
at 2556. Thus, a defendant who was sentenced under the ACCA
to a mandatory minimum term in prison based on a prior
conviction that satisfies only the residual clause of the
ACCA's “violent felony” definition is
entitled to relief from his sentence.
was not convicted of being a felon in possession of a
firearm, in violation of § 922(g). Thus, his sentences
were not enhanced under the ACCA, and Johnson does
not apply to him.
assertion by Lynn that the holding in Johnson
applies equally to sentencing enhancements under §§
4B1.1 and 4B1.2, the career offender sections of the United
States Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”), is
foreclosed by the Supreme Court's decision in Beckles
v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). In
Beckles, the Supreme Court held that the advisory
federal Sentencing Guidelines are not subject to a vagueness
challenge under the ...