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.

Johnson v. United States

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

December 7, 2019

WOODROW JAMAAL JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          Frank D. Whitney Chief 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. 8]. The Petitioner is represented by Joshua Carpenter of the Federal Defenders of Western North Carolina.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 24, 2004, Petitioner Woodrow Jamaal Johnson (“Petitioner”) was charged in a Bill of Indictment with one count of aiding and abetting Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951(a), 2 (Count One); one count of aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm in furtherance of the robbery in Count One, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c), 2 (Count Two); and three firearm-related theft offenses in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(u), 924(1), 924(m), and 2 (Counts Three, Four, and Five). [CR Doc. 83: Second Superseding Indictment].

         On December 3, 2004, after a jury trial, a jury found Petitioner guilty of all five counts in the Second Superseding Indictment. [CR Doc. 111: Jury Verdict].

         Petitioner's sentencing hearing was held on June 1, 2005. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a term of imprisonment of 77 months on each of Counts One, Four, and Five, to be served concurrently; a term of imprisonment of 60 months on Count Three, to run concurrently to the sentenced imposed for Counts One, Four, and Five; and a term of imprisonment of 84 months on Count 2, to run consecutively with the terms imposed on Counts One, Four, Five, and Three, for a total term of 161 months' imprisonment. [CR Doc. 125 at 2: Judgment]. Judgment on Petitioner's conviction was entered on July 22, 2005. [Id.]. The Fourth Circuit affirmed Petitioner's conviction and sentence. [CR Doc. 160].

         On June 24, 2016, Petitioner filed a 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]. 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 Docs. 5, 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. 8]. The Petitioner responded to the Government's motion. [Doc. 11]. Although the Court granted the Government's motion for an extension of time to file a reply to the Petitioner's response [Docket Text Order 11/8/2019], the Court can and will adjudicate Petitioner's § 2255 motion to vacate without any additional briefing by the Government.

         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 conviction on Count Two was imposed in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States. [CV Doc. 1].

         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” definition is entitled to relief from his sentence. The Supreme Court has held that Johnson applies retroactively to claims asserted on collateral review. Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257, 1265 (2016).

         The Petitioner argues his § 924(c) conviction is invalid under Johnson. [Doc. 1 at 1-7]. Section 924(c) criminalizes the use of a firearm in furtherance of a “crime of violence.” Under § 924(c), a crime is one of violence if it either “has an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, ” (the “force clause”) or “by its nature involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense” (the “residual clause”). 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B).

         In short, Petitioner argues that because § 924(c)'s residual clause “is functionally indistinguishable from the ACCA's residual clause, ” which was found to be unconstitutionally vague, Petitioner's conviction for aiding and abetting Hobbs Act robbery can qualify as a § 924(c) “crime of violence” only under the force clause. [Doc. 1 at 3-4; see Doc. 11 at 1-2]. Three years after the Petitioner filed his motion to vacate, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Davis, 139 S.Ct. 2319 (2019). In Davis, the Supreme Court specifically held the residual clause of § 924(c)'s definition of “crime of violence” is “unconstitutionally vague.” 139 S.Ct. at 2336. ...


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.