United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER’S §
2255 MOTION (ECF NO. 138)
LAWRENCE J. O’NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Petitioner Troy Mitchell Heflin’s
(“Petitioner, ” “Defendant, ” or
“Heflin”) motion to vacate, set aside, or correct
his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, filed on June 22,
2016 (ECF No. 138). The government filed its Opposition on
July 14, 2016 (ECF No. 142), and Petitioner filed a Reply on
July 15, 2016 (ECF No. 144). Having considered the
parties’ briefing and the record in this case, the
Court GRANTS Petitioner’s motion.
April 13, 1995, a grand jury returned a Superseding
Indictment charging Defendant with one count of Felon in
Possession of Ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1). ECF No. 19. Subsequent to a bench trial, the
previously assigned district judge found Mr. Heflin guilty of
the offense. ECF Nos. 50, 55, 57.
statutory maximum term of imprisonment for a violation of
§ 922(g)(1) is ten years. See 18 U.S.C. §
924(a)(2). At sentencing, the government asserted that based
on his multiple prior felony convictions (four convictions
for Robbery, violations of California Penal Code
(“CPC”) § 211; and one conviction for Gross
Vehicular Manslaughter, a violation of CPC § 191.5(a)),
Heflin qualified as an Armed Career Criminal under 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e)(1). Finding that Defendant Heflin had at least
three prior convictions for “violent felony”
offenses as defined at § 924(e)(2)(B),  the district
court determined that Heflin was an Armed Career Criminal. On
that basis, rather than the ten-year statutory maximum
pursuant to § 924(e)(2), the district court instead
imposed an ACCA-enhanced term of 289-months imprisonment.
August 14, 1996, Defendant appealed, arguing that there was
insufficient evidence to support the district court’s
finding that he constructively possessed ammunition that had
traveled in interstate commerce. United States v. Troy
Heflin, 132 F.3d 41, 1997 WL 770377, at *1 (9th Cir.
1997). On December 10, 1997, the Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment.
Id. Subsequently, Defendant filed a petition for
writ of certiorari, which the Supreme Court denied.
Heflin v. United States, 119 S.Ct. 227 (1998).
September 7, 1999, Defendant Heflin filed a pro se
§ 2255 motion (ECF Nos. 118, 123). On July 26, 2000, the
district court denied both the motion and declined to issue a
certificate of appealability (ECF Nos. 126, 127).
Subsequently, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit also
denied Heflin’s application for a certificate of
appealability. (ECF No. 135).
22, 2016, Petitioner Heflin filed an unopposed emergency
motion for a successive habeas petition. See ECF No.
138. In light of Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct.
2551 (2015) ('Johnson IF), the
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted Heflin’s
motion to file a successive petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 on July 11, 2016, and directed this Court to rule
on said petition within seven days. See ECF No. 137.
28 U.S.C. § 2255
2255 provides four grounds upon which a sentencing court may
grant relief to a petitioning in-custody defendant:
 that the sentence was imposed in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States, or  that the
court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or
 that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized
by law, or  is otherwise subject to collateral attack
28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Generally, it is only a narrow
range of claims that fall within the scope of § 2255.
United States v. Wilcox, 640 F.2d 970, 972 (9th Cir.
1981). The alleged error of law must be “a fundamental
defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice.” Davis v. United States, 417
U.S. 333, 346 (1974) (quoting Hill v. United States,
368 U.S. 424, 429 (1962)).
The Armed Career Criminal Act
defendant is subject to the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA” or “the Act”) and must be
sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 15 years to life in
custody if he has three prior convictions for “a
violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both.” 18
U.S.C. §§ 924(e)(1). Under the ACCA, a ...