Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hartgrove v. United States

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

September 27, 2019

ERIC ALFONZO HARTGROVE, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          MARTIN REIDINGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Petitioner’s Motion to Vacate Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [CV Doc. 1][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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On July 11, 2000, Petitioner Eric Alfonzo Hartgrove (“Petitioner”) was charged, along with four co-defendants, in a Bill of Indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Count One); two counts of Hobbs Act robbery and aiding and abetting the same, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951, 2 (Counts Five and Ten); one count carrying and brandishing of a firearm during and in relation to the charge in Count Five of Hobbs Act robbery and aiding and abetting the same, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c), 2 (Count Six); one count of carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to the charge in Count Ten of Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count Eleven); one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846 (Count Thirteen); one count of carrying and brandishing of a firearm during the drug-trafficking offense and aiding and abetting the same, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c), 2 (Count Fourteen); and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Counts 16 and 18). [CR Doc. 3: Sealed Indictment].

         The Indictment lists Petitioner’s § 924(c) charges in Counts Six and Eleven as related to “a crime of violence, that is, the violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951, set forth in” Counts Five and Ten, respectively. There is no reference to 18 U.S.C. § 2 in Counts Six or Eleven as a possible predicate offense. Petitioner’s § 924(c) charges in Counts Six and Eleven are, therefore, specifically limited to the charge in Counts Five and Ten for Hobbs Act robbery, not for aiding and abetting Hobbs Act robbery.

         On August 18, 2000, Petitioner and the Government entered into a Plea Agreement, pursuant to which Petitioner agreed to plead guilty to Counts One (Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy), Five (Hobbs Act robbery and aiding and abetting Hobbs Act robbery), and Six and Eleven (both § 924(c)’s with Hobbs Act robbery predicates) and the Government agreed to dismiss any remaining counts against the Petitioner. [CR Doc. 51 at 1: Plea Agreement]. On August 24, 2000, Petitioner pleaded guilty in accordance with the Plea Agreement. [CR Doc. 54: Entry and Acceptance of Guilty Plea].

         The Petitioner’s sentencing hearing was held on March 1, 2001, before the Honorable Lacy H. Thornburg, United States District Judge.[2] The Court sentenced Petitioner to terms of imprisonment of 50 months on each of Counts One and Five, to be served concurrently; a term of 50 months’ imprisonment on Count Six and 200 months’ imprisonment on Count Eleven, both to run consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed in the Judgment, for a total term of 300 months’ imprisonment. [CR Doc. 124 at 2: Judgment]. Judgment on this conviction was entered on March 23, 2001. [Id.]. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal from this Judgment.

         On June 15, 2016, Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, arguing that his convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) are invalid under Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). [CV Doc. 1]. The Court conducted an initial screening of Petitioner’s Motion and 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, and United States v. Simms, No. 15-4640. [CV Doc. 4]. 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. [CV Doc. 6]. The Supreme Court decided Davis on June 24, 2019. The next day this Court lifted the stay and ordered the Government to respond to the Petitioner’s motion by August 23, 2019. The Government timely filed a motion to dismiss Petitioner’s § 2255 motion to vacate. [CV Doc. 7]. The Petitioner responded to the Government’s motion [Doc. 8] and the Government replied [Doc. 11].

         This matter is now ripe for disposition.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Rule 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).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Under 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 convictions on Counts Six and Eleven were imposed in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States. [CV Doc. 1 at 1-2].

         In 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 felony” ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.