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Ruff v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

August 13, 2019

TIMOTHY LAMONT RUFF, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          Martin Reidinger United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner's Motion for Resentencing [CV Doc. 22][1]; Petitioner's second Motion for Resentencing [CV Doc. 23]; and Petitioner's “Motion of Rebuttal for Time Extension for the Government” [CV Doc. 24].

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner was convicted by plea on one count of conspiracy to commit a robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951, one count of robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951, and one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c), 2. [CR Doc. 68]. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a total of 360 months' imprisonment. [Id.]. The Petitioner unsuccessfully appealed the Court's judgment. [CR Docs. 70, 80, 81]. The Fourth Circuit also denied Petitioner's later request for mandamus relief. [CR Doc. 98]. Plaintiff has previously filed four unsuccessful Section 2255 petitions challenging his conviction and sentence.

         On June 6, 2016, Petitioner commenced this action by filing a motion to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. [CV Doc. 1]. In the motion to vacate, Petitioner contends that his Hobbs Act robbery offense no longer qualifies as a “crime of violence” in light of Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). Consequently, Petitioner asserts that his Hobbs Act offense likewise cannot support his § 924(c) conviction and such conviction must be vacated. [Id.]. On June 16, 2016, another Section 2255 motion to vacate, also based on Johnson, was filed by the Federal Defenders of North Carolina on Petitioner's behalf. [Doc. 4]. Because Petitioner had previously filed unsuccessful Section 2255 motions, he sought and obtained authorization from the Fourth Circuit to file a second or successive motion. [Id.; CR Doc. 133].

         On August 24, 2016, this Court granted the Government's motion to stay this action pending a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in the cases of United States v. Ali, No. 15-4433 (4th Cir.) and United States v. Simms, No. 15-4640 (4th Cir.). On February 19, 2019, this Court granted the Government's motion to continue holding this case in abeyance pending a decision by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Davis, No. 18-431 (cert. granted Jan. 4, 2019). [Doc. 16]. The Court also ordered that the Government would have 60 days from the date the Supreme Court issues its decision in Davis within which to file its response in this matter. [Id.]. On May 20, 2019, the Court granted Petitioner's motion to terminate the Federal Defenders' representation of Petitioner. [Doc. 19].

         On June 5, 2019, Petitioner filed a “Motion for Resentencing” (“First Motion”). [Doc. 22]. In Petitioner's First Motion, which was filed before Davis was decided, Petitioner states that he “would like to put this respected court on notice that when the Supreme Court rules in the Davis case [for] which Mr. Ruff's motion [to vacate] was placed in abeyance Mr. Ruff would like to further challenge his illegal sentence that was based off the 924(c) charge.” [Doc. 22 at 1]. Specifically, Petitioner argues that:

The gun that Mr. Ruff is charged with the government never established a nexus of the guns to the alleged robbery that Mr. Ruff was charged with nor did the government establish[ ] if Mr. Ruff ever knew or had possession of the guns that Mr. Ruff is charged with the only thing the government can prove is the guns [were] recovered from Mr. Ruff's suitcase.

[Id.].

         On June 24, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Davis. United States v. Davis, No. 18-431, ___ S.Ct. ___, 2019 WL 2570623 (June 24, 2019). On June 25, 2019, the Court entered a text order lifting the stay in this case and instructing the Government that it had until August 23, 2019 to file a response in this matter.

         On July 1, 2019, Petitioner filed a second “Motion for Resentencing” (“Second Motion”), in which Petitioner notes that the Supreme Court issued a decision in Davis on June 24, 2019, and that Petitioner will seek $1 million for every day he is in custody after that date. Petitioner further states that he wants an evidentiary hearing and “to be in court” and for every day after July 3, 2019 that he remains in custody “the 1 million doubles per day.” [Doc. 23].

         On July 3, 2019, Petitioner filed a “Motion of Rebuttal for Time Extension for the Government” (“Third Motion”) [Doc. 24], which appears to be in response to the Court's June 25, 2019 text order instructing the Government in accordance with the Court's previous Order that the Government had until August 23, 2019 to respond to Petitioner's motion to vacate. Petitioner argues that:

The Government doesn't need anymore time the government has had a year to prepare for this. This is a total violation of Mr. Ruff's 5th Amendment right to due process. The conduct to which Mr. Ruff was charged and the charges themselves are violation of Mr. Ruff's rights. From the time the Supreme Court ruled that 924(c)3b [sic] is unconstitutionally vague as well as conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery no longer qualifies as a crime of violence. So the pro se litigant ...

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