United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
For Quinton Keith Salley, Defendant: John Robert Haley, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Public Defender's Office (Chas), Charleston, SC.
For USA, Plaintiff: Matthew J Modica, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorneys Office (Chas), Charleston, SC.
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY, United States District Judge.
Quinton Keith Salley (" Petitioner" ), a federal prisoner, moves to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (" Motion to Vacate" ). The Government has filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, a motion for summary judgment. The Court has thoroughly reviewed the record and finds the motions suitable for disposition without an evidentiary hearing. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Petitioner's Motion to Vacate.
On July 14, 2004, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Petitioner with one count of possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(D);  two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i);  one count of possession and distribution of 5 grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B);  and four counts of felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § § 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2), and 924(e).  On January 4, 2005, Petitioner pled guilty to Counts 4 through 8, and pursuant to the plea agreement, the Court dismissed Counts 1 through 3.
At sentencing, on April 22, 2005, the Court adopted the Presentence Investigation Report (" PSR" ) without change and found that Petitioner's two prior convictions of failure to stop for a blue light constituted crimes of violence for purposes of sentencing him as a career offender pursuant to § 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a total term of 262 months' imprisonment.  The judgment was filed on May 11, 2005. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal of his conviction or sentence.
In February 2010, the Fourth Circuit held that " under no circumstance is a violation
of South Carolina's blue light statute a violent felony under" the Armed Career Criminal Act (" ACCA" ). United States v. Rivers, 595 F.3d 558, 560 (4th Cir. 2010). The court based its holding on two recent Supreme Court cases addressing how to determine what statutes qualified as predicate offenses under the ACCA. See Chambers v. United States, 555 U.S. 122, 129 S.Ct. 687, 172 L.Ed.2d 484 (2009); Begay v. United States, 553 U.S. 137, 128 S.Ct. 1581, 170 L.Ed.2d 490 (2008). " Because the language defining a violent felony in § 924(e) [of the ACCA] is nearly identical to and materially indistinguishable from the language defining a crime of violence in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2, [the Fourth Circuit] relies on case law interpreting both sections when examining whether a prior crime is a 'crime of violence' or a violent felony under the ACCA." Rivers, 595 F.3d at 560 n.1 (internal quotations omitted).
Petitioner filed his Motion to Vacate on September 13, 2012, and a supplemental brief on October 25, 2012.  The Government filed its motion to dismiss--or in the alternative, a motion for summary judgment--on December 11, 2012. The Court appointed counsel to ...