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Doughty v. United States

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

July 13, 2017

Ted Evan Doughty, Movant,
v.
United States of America, Respondent.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Margaret B. Seymour Senior United States District Judge.

         Movant Ted Evan Doughty is an inmate in custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He currently is housed at USP-Coleman II in Sumterville, Florida. This matter is before the court on Movant's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, as amended.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 28, 2006, Movant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to escape and assist in the escape of federal detainees from a designated detention facility, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. A presentence investigation report (PSR) was prepared by the United States Probation Office. The PSR noted that Movant has two prior convictions in 2002 and 2003 in the North Carolina Superior Court, Charlotte, North Carolina, for breaking and entering. ECF No. 138, ¶¶ 24, 28. The PSR also noted that Movant has prior convictions for bank robbery. Id. ¶ 29. Movant's criminal history score was 6. Two points were added pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4A1.1(d) because Movant was in federal custody awaiting sentencing when the offense was committed. One additional point was added pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4A1.1(e) because Movant committed the offense less than two years after his release from custody for a sentence received on July 17, 2003. Movant's criminal history category was IV. However, Movant was designated as a career offender based on his convictions for breaking and entering and bank robbery. Movant's criminal history category became VI.

         The PSR provided for a base offense level of 13. Movant's offense level was increased two levels because property of a financial institution was taken. Because Movant was designated as a career offender, his offense level under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 became 17. Movant received a three-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility, for a total offense level of 14. On August 28, 2006, Movant was sentenced under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines to 46 months imprisonment, to run consecutively to sentences imposed in Cr. No. 0:04-1033 and Cr. No. 0:05-0393. Judgment was entered August 31, 2006. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the convictions and sentences. See United States v. Pilson, 228 F. App'x 273 (4th Cir. 2007).

         Movant filed a § 2255 motion on March 9, 2012. Respondent moved to dismiss the § 2255 motion as untimely, which motion was granted by order filed January 16, 2015. Upon authorization from the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Movant, proceeding pro se, filed a successive § 2255 motion on June 24, 2016. Movant seeks the benefit of Johnson v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), in which the Supreme Court held that the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) is unconstitutionally vague. A supplemental § 2255 motion was filed by counsel on Movant's behalf on July 1, 2016. Counsel argued that Johnson applies with equal force to the United States Sentencing Guidelines under which Movant was sentenced and that his prior convictions for breaking and entering do not qualify as predicate offenses under the “residual clause” of U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2).

         On December 2, 2016, upon motion of Respondent, the court stayed the matter pending disposition of Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017), a case wherein a defendant challenged his Sentencing Guidelines sentence under Johnson. The Court decided Beckles on March 6, 2017. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss Movant's § 2255 motion on July 5, 2017. Movant filed a response on July 7, 2017. The matter now is ripe for adjudication.

         DISCUSSION

         In Johnson the Supreme Court addressed the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 (ACCA), which mandates an enhanced sentence for an offender convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if the offender has three or more convictions for a serious drug offense or violent felony. Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B), the term “violent felony” means

any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year . . . 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, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.

         In Johnson, the Court determined that the language known as the residual clause-i.e., “or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another”-is unconstitutionally vague.

         Movant received an enhanced sentence not under the ACCA, but under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which define ...


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