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Lloyd v. United States

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

December 5, 2016

Robert Lamont Lloyd, Petitioner,
v.
United States of America, Respondent.

          ORDER

          PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY United States District Judge.

         Robert Lamont Lloyd, a federal prisoner, moves to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (ECF No. 45). Previously, the Court stayed proceedings pending the Fourth Circuit's decision in United States v. Doctor. Now that the Fourth Circuit has issued that decision, this Court now lifts the stay and, for the reasons stated herein, denies Lloyd's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         In 2005, Lloyd pled guilty to possession of a firearm after a felony conviction and to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). When Lloyd pled guilty, his criminal history included convictions in South Carolina state court for a strong-arm robbery, two second-degree burglaries, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. At sentencing later that year, the Court determined that those prior convictions triggered a mandatory fifteen-year minimum sentence on the gun charge under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) and an increased recommended sentencing range on both charges under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Based on those determinations, the Court sentenced Lloyd to 188 months in prison on each count, to be served concurrently. Lloyd did not appeal.

         Lloyd filed his § 2255 motion on April 26, 2016. On July 12, the Government filed a motion to stay proceedings pending the Supreme Court's decision in Beckles v. United States, 616 F.App'x 415 (11th Cir. 2015), cert. granted, 2016 WL 1029080 (U.S. June 27, 2016) (No. 15-8544). On July 25, Lloyd filed a response, in which he also asked to be released on bond. The Government filed a reply in support of its stay motion on August 2.

         On October 3, the Court denied the motions for release and stay. However, the Court found that Doctor was likely to control the outcome of Lloyd's § 2255 motion, and so it stayed proceedings pending a decision in that case. The Fourth Circuit issued decision in Doctor on November 21. See No. 15-4764, 2016 WL 6833343. Accordingly, Lloyd's § 2255 motion is now ripe for consideration.

         APPLICABLE LAW

         West proceeds under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides, in relevant part:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States . . . may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). On a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence under § 2255, the petitioner bears the burden of proving the grounds for collateral attack by a preponderance of the evidence. Miller v. United States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958). In deciding a § 2255 motion, the district court need not hold a hearing if “the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).

         DISCUSSION

         Under the ACCA, a defendant must be sentenced to at least fifteen years in prison if he has at least “three previous convictions . . . for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both, committed on occasions different from one another.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). Similarly, under the Sentencing Guidelines' career-offender provision, a defendant's recommended sentencing range may increase if-

(1) the defendant was at least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense.

U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a). Lloyd contends he does not have enough qualifying prior felony convictions to trigger either enhancement. Specifically, he contends his robbery and burglary convictions are not “violent felonies” under the ...


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