United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. WHITNEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on the Petitioner’s
Motion to Vacate Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [CV
Doc. 1] and the Government’s Motion to
Dismiss Petitioner’s Motion to Vacate [CV Doc. 7]. The
Petitioner is represented by Ann Hester of the Federal
Defenders of Western North Carolina.
February 15, 2011, Petitioner Robert Hikeen Seigle
(“Petitioner”) was charged in a Bill of
Indictment with two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Counts One and Three); two counts
of possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a
“crime of violence, ” that is Hobbs Act robbery,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Counts Two and
Four); and one count of being a felon in possession of a
firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Count
Five). [CR Doc. 1: Indictment]. On October 24, 2011,
Petitioner and the Government entered into a Plea Agreement,
pursuant to which Petitioner agreed to plead guilty to Counts
Three and Four, and the Government agreed to dismiss Counts
One, Two, and Five. [CR Doc. 14 at 1: Plea Agreement]. The
Petitioner faced a maximum term of twenty 20 years’
imprisonment for Count Three, see 18 U.S.C.
§§ 1951, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of
not less than 7 years to life for Count Four, see 18
U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A).
October 25, 2011, Petitioner pleaded guilty to Counts Three
and Four. [CR Doc. 15: Acceptance and Entry of Guilty Plea].
In preparation for sentencing, a probation officer prepared a
Presentence Report (PSR). In the PSR, the probation officer
noted the mandatory 7 years to life consecutive sentence for
Petitioner’s § 924(c) conviction. [CR Doc. 21 at
¶ 71]. The probation officer found the Total Offense
Level (TOL) for Count Three to be 19 and the Criminal History
Category to be IV. This yielded a Guidelines Range calling
for a term of imprisonment for Count Three between 46 and 57
months, followed by a mandatory consecutive sentence of not
less than 7 years for Count Four. [Id. at 6, 9, 14].
Petitioner’s sentencing hearing was held on August 26,
2013. At the hearing, the Court adopted the PSR and sentenced
Petitioner to a term of imprisonment of 52 months on Count
Three and 84 months on Count Four, to be served consecutively
to the term imposed on Count Three, for a total term of 136
months’ imprisonment. [CR Doc. 26 at 2: Judgment].
Judgment on this conviction was entered on September 17,
2013. [Id.]. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal
from this Judgment.
13, 2016, Petitioner filed motion to vacate sentence under 28
U.S.C. § 2255, arguing that his conviction under 18
U.S.C. § 924(c) is invalid under Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). [CV Doc. 1]. After
conducting an initial review of Petitioner’s §
2255 motion to vacate, the Court ordered the Government to
respond. [CV Doc. 2].
upon the request of the Government, this matter was stayed
pending the Fourth Circuit’s decision in United
States v. Ali, No. 15-4433, or United States v.
Simms, No. 15-4640. The Fourth Circuit then ordered that
Ali would be held in abeyance pending the Supreme
Court’s decision in United States v. Davis,
No. 18-431. On the Government’s request, this matter
was in turn stayed pending Davis. The Court ordered
that the Government would have 60 days to respond to
Petitioner’s motion once the Supreme Court issued its
ruling in Davis. [Doc. 6]. The Supreme Court decided
Davis on June 24, 2019. The Government timely filed
a motion to dismiss Petitioner’s § 2255 motion to
vacate. [CV Doc. 7]. The Petitioner, despite being
represented by counsel, did not respond.
matter is now ripe for disposition.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings provides
that courts are to promptly examine motions to vacate, along
with “any attached exhibits and the record of prior
proceedings” in order to determine whether the
petitioner is entitled to any relief on the claims set forth
therein. After examining the record in this matter, the Court
finds that the motion to vacate can be resolved without an
evidentiary hearing based on the record and governing case
law. See Raines v. United States, 423 F.2d 526, 529
(4th Cir. 1970).
28 U.S.C. § 2255, a petitioner is entitled to relief
when his original sentence “was imposed in violation of
the Constitution or laws of the United States, or [when] the
court was without jurisdiction to impose such
sentence.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). The Petitioner
claims argues he is entitled to relief on these grounds
because, under Johnson, his conviction on Count Four
was imposed in violation of the Constitution and laws of the
United States. [CV Doc. 1 at 2].
Johnson, the Supreme Court struck down the Armed
Career Criminal Act’s (ACCA) residual clause, 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), as unconstitutionally vague and held
that enhancing a sentence under the ACCA’s residual
clause violates due process. Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at
2563. The ACCA residual clause defined a “violent
felony” to include any crime punishable by a term of
imprisonment exceeding one year that “otherwise
involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of
physical injury to another.” 18 U.S.C. §
924(e)(2)(B). Accordingly, under Johnson, a
defendant who was sentenced to a statutory mandatory minimum
term of imprisonment based on a prior conviction that
satisfies only the residual clause of the “violent