United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
Michael J. Hampton, Defendant-Petitioner
United States of America, Plaintiff-Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
Cameron McGowan Currie Senior United States District Judge
through his attorney, seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. ECF No. 225. The Government filed a motion to
dismiss or for summary judgment, as well as a memorandum in
support. ECF No. 227. On June 27, 2016, Defendant filed a
reply memorandum. ECF No. 229. The Government filed a
response in support of its motion for summary judgment on
June 30, 2016. ECF No. 230. Defendant filed a reply to that
response on July 5, 2016. ECF No. 231.
December 18, 2007, Defendant was indicted for felon in
possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 922(g)(1), 924(a)(2), and 924(e). ECF No. 1. On
September 19, 2008, the Government filed an Information
notifying Defendant that he had four prior convictions that
subjected him to enhanced penalties under 18 U.S.C. §
924(e). ECF No. 65. Defendant went to trial and was found
guilty of felon in possession. ECF No. 99.
Pre-Sentence Report (PSR) concluded Defendant was an armed
career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”) and faced a mandatory minimum term of
imprisonment of fifteen (15) years and a maximum term of life
imprisonment. The PSR found that Defendant's prior
convictions for Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine
(1999), failure to stop for police vehicle, assault on a
police officer, assault and battery of a high and aggravated
nature (“ABHAN”), and Distribution of Cocaine
(2003) qualified as predicate convictions for ACCA purposes.
See ECF No. 119, PSR ¶¶ 19, 20, 22, 23.
counsel objected to the possession with intent to distribute
being considered as a predicate for ACCA because the
requirement of a ten year sentence for a serious drug offense
was not applicable. ECF No. 115-1. Counsel also objected to
the conviction for failure to stop for a police vehicle
serving as a predicate for the ACCA. Id. In
addition, Defendant filed pro se objections to each
of his identified previous convictions counting as predicates
for the ACCA. ECF Nos. 113, 114. The Probation Officer noted
that, under current law, the convictions remained predicate
offenses for ACCA purposes. ECF No. 115-1.
12, 2009, Defendant appeared for sentencing. The court
overruled Defendant's objections to the PSR, but varied
from the guideline range of 324-405 after defendant
“argued the 4 level enhancement pursuant to §
2K2.1 (b)(6) in paragraph 40 and the 6 level enhancement
pursuant to § 3A1.2 in paragraph 42 were unduly harsh in
this case as both enhancements arose out of the same
conduct.” ECF No. 121. Defendant was sentenced to 300
months' imprisonment and five years' supervised
release. Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence,
arguing that the district court erred in denying his motion
to suppress, and that the court erred in calculating his
guideline range because of impermissible double counting.
Defendant's conviction and sentence were affirmed by the
Fourth Circuit on December 16, 2010. ECF No. 186.
filed a §2255 motion on March 5, 2012, arguing that his
counsel was ineffective (at trial and on appeal) and that he
was actually innocent of being an armed career criminal, as
none of his prior convictions should have qualified as ACCA
predicates. ECF No. 190. The court determined that, even if
one of Defendant's convictions (failure to stop for a
blue light (“FTSBL”)) could no longer qualify as
a “violent felony” after United States v.
Rivers, 595 F.3d 558 (4th Cir. 2010), and another
(ABHAN) was questionable, Defendant had sufficient other
predicate convictions to qualify as an Armed Career Criminal.
ECF No. 208. The court granted the Government's motion
for summary judgment and dismissed Defendant's §
2255 motion with prejudice. Id.
filed a pro se motion for relief from judgment,
requesting reconsideration of his § 2255 motion. ECF No.
211. The court denied this motion on September 13, 2012. ECF
November 13, 2012, Defendant filed a notice of appeal on his
§ 2255 motion and a motion for certificate of
appealability. ECF Nos. 214, 215. The Fourth Circuit denied a
certificate of appealability and dismissed the appeal,
finding that Defendant did not make the requisite showing for
a certificate of appealability. ECF No. 222.
to filing the instant motion, Defendant filed a § 2244
motion with the Fourth Circuit. No. 16-664. On May 31, 2016,
he received permission to file a second or successive motion
under § 2255. ECF No. 224. The instant motion under
§ 2255 was filed the same day. ECF No. 225.
conviction for felon in possession typically carries a
statutory maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
See 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2). However, if the
accused has three or more previous convictions for certain
types of felonies, he is subject to an enhanced minimum
sentence of fifteen years imprisonment with a maximum term of
life imprisonment. Title 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1) provides:
In the case of a person who violates section 922(g) of this
title and has three previous convictions by any court
referred to in section 922(g)(1) of this title for a violent
felony or a serious drug offense, or both, committed on
occasions different from one another, such person shall be
fined under this title and imprisoned not less than fifteen
years . . . .
relevant to this case, the statute defines “violent
any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one
year, or any act of juvenile delinquency involving the use or
carrying of a firearm, knife, or destructive device that
would be punishable by imprisonment for such term if
committed by an adult, that- (i) has as an element the use,
attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against
the person of another; or (ii) is burglary, arson, or
extortion, involves use of explosives, ...