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Matthews v. United States

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

June 24, 2019

John Astrin Matthews, PETITIONER
v.
United States of America, RESPONDENT

          ORDER

          TERRY L. WOOTEN SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court for consideration of the petition to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 filed by Petitioner John Astrin Matthews. For the reasons stated below, the petition is denied.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         Petitioner was charged with and pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, and the Court sentenced him to 186 months incarceration. ECF No. 28.

         At sentencing, Petitioner was classified as an armed career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), which imposes a mandatory minimum fifteen-year sentence on a felon who possesses a firearm and who has three or more prior convictions for committing certain drug crimes or “violent felon[ies].” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1).[1] His Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) did not specifically state which offenses were classified as ACCA predicate convictions, but it appears that the following convictions were counted:

(1) Aggravated Assault With Weapon (Florida) (PSR ¶ 24);
(2) Burglary, 2nd Degree (South Carolina) (PSR ¶ 27);
(3) Threatening the Life of a Public Official (South Carolina) (PSR ¶ 28);
(4) Possession of Cocaine With Intent to Deliver (Florida) (PSR ¶ 30).

         After judgment was entered, Petitioner filed a direct appeal, but the Fourth Circuit affirmed. United States v. Matthews, 164 Fed.Appx. 379 (4th Cir. 2006). The Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of certiorari. Matthews v. United States, 126 S.Ct. 2050 (2006).

         In Petitioner's § 2255 petition, he challenges his aggravated assault, burglary, and threatening convictions, asserting that, in light of Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) and other cases, he no longer has the requisite No. of ACCA predicate convictions and is therefore entitled to a resentencing without the ACCA enhancement. The Government filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the aggravated assault, threating, and drug convictions still qualify as predicates and that he remains an armed career criminal. ECF Nos. 50, 51. He filed a response in opposition to the Government's motion. ECF No. 52.

         This matter is now ripe for decision.

         II. 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         Section 2255 provides that a prisoner in custody under sentence of a federal court may file a petition in the court that imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence. A petitioner is entitled to relief under § 2255 if he proves by a preponderance of the evidence one of the following: (1) that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States; (2) that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence; (3) that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law; or (4) that the ...


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