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Campbell v. United States

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

April 24, 2018

Troy Darnell Campbell, Petitioner,
v.
United States of America, Respondent.

          ORDER

          R. BRYAN HARWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner's [ECF No. 169] motion to vacate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Relying on Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), Petitioner argues he is no longer a career offender under the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

         On May 31, 2017, the government filed a response and motion to dismiss arguing Petitioner's Johnson claim fails in light of Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). The government also argues that Petitioner's claim of misapplication of the Sentencing Guidelines is not cognizable on collateral review. The government also argues that Petitioner's claim is procedurally defaulted and untimely. On June 14, 2017, Petitioner, through counsel, filed a response to the government's motion for summary judgment acknowledging that this case is controlled by Beckles but contending that Beckles was wrongly decided. Alternatively, Petitioner seeks dismissal of this matter without prejudice. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants the government's motion to dismiss, dismisses Petitioner's motion to vacate, and dismisses this case with prejudice.[1]

         Procedural History

         On January 8, 2009, Petitioner pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. The presentence investigation report (“PSR”) prepared by the U.S. Probation Office determined that Petitioner was a career offender pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1. Petitioner's total offense level of 34 and criminal history category of VI produced an advisory guideline range of 262 to 327 months in prison.

         A sentencing hearing was held on December 12, 2013. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a 180 month term of imprisonment. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal, but filed two motions to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 prior to the instant motion. Those motions to vacate were denied.

         On June 24, 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals authorized Petitioner to file a successive habeas application after Johnson. The instant motion to vacate was filed on June 24, 2016.

         Applicable Law

         Prisoners in federal custody may attack the validity of their sentences pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In order to move the court to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence under § 2255, a petitioner must prove that one of the following occurred: (1) a sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; (2) the court was without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence; (3) the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law; or (4) the sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). “The writ of habeas corpus and its federal counterpart, 28 U.S.C. § 2255, ‘will not be allowed to do service for an appeal.' (internal citation omitted). For this reason, nonconstitutional claims that could have been raised on appeal, but were not, may not be asserted in collateral proceedings. (internal citations omitted) Even those nonconstitutional claims that could not have been asserted on direct appeal can be raised on collateral review only if the alleged error constituted ‘a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice'”. Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, n. 10 (1976); see also United States v. Boyd, No. 02-6242, 2002 WL 1932522, at *1 (4th Cir Aug. 22, 2002) (“Non-constitutional claims that could have been raised on direct appeal . . . may not be raised in a collateral proceeding under § 2255.”).

         Discussion

         The government argues Petitioner's Johnson claim that he was improperly classified a career offender under the Sentencing Guidelines fails in light of Beckles. In Beckles, the Supreme Court declined to extend Johnson to the Sentencing Guidelines and held the Sentencing Guidelines are not subject to a vagueness challenge under the Due Process clause and the residual clause found in former § 4B1.2(a)(2) of the Sentencing Guidelines is not void-for-vagueness. Beckles, 137 S.Ct. at 895. Thus, Petitioner's reliance on Johnson is misplaced and his challenge to his career offender designation fails.

         The government also argues that Petitioner's claim of misapplication of the Sentencing Guidelines is not cognizable on collateral review. In United States v. Foote, 784 F.3d 931, 940 (4th Cir. 2015), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a § 2255 motion to vacate that was based on a subsequently-nullified career offender designation was not a fundamental defect, as required to challenge a sentence on a motion to vacate. Foote, 784 F.3d at 940. Applying Foote to the instant case, Petitioner's claim that he was improperly classified a career offender based on a prior offense that Petitioner claims is no longer a crime of violence is not cognizable on collateral review. Petitioner has failed to demonstrate a fundamental defect or miscarriage of justice. Petitioner was sentenced well below his advisory guideline level of 262 to 324 months.

         The Court also finds that Petitioner's claim is procedurally defaulted and untimely.

         For the foregoing reasons, Petitioner's motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C. ...


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