United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT
SENTENCE UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255 RE: DKT. NOS. 73, 99,
GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
March 26, 2015, defendant Michael Singletary filed a Motion
to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C.
section 2255. (Dkt. No. 73.) Defendant originally raised the
following grounds: ineffective assistance of counsel
(“IAC”) in failing (1) to apprise him of the
length of his sentence and the elements of his offenses and
(2) to file a notice of appeal as requested; and (3) alleging
that the Court applied the sentencing guidelines in error. On
June 25, 2015, the Court denied the first and third grounds,
but ordered the government to respond as to the second ground
for relief. (Dkt. No. 76.) The government responded on
October 8, 2015 addressing such issue. (Dkt. No. 89.)
the pendency of such briefing, the Supreme Court's
decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551
(2015) was announced, which may have had implications on the
application of the sentencing guidelines to defendant. Thus,
on March 7, 2016, the Court vacated defendant's deadline
to file his reply to the government's response. (Dkt. No.
96.) On April 15, 2016, the Court granted defendant's
request for permission to file a reply brief on his remaining
IAC claim and any affirmative petitions for relief under
Johnson by June 24, 2016. (Dkt. No. 98.) On June 6,
2016, defendant filed such briefs (Dkt. No. 99) and the
government responded on December 5, 2016 (Dkt. No. 106). On
March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision in
Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). On
the basis of such decision, the government moved to dismiss
defendant's section 2255 motion to the extent that it was
based on the Supreme Court's decision in
Johnson. (Dkt. No. 108.)
considered all of the papers filed by the parties, the record
in this case, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court
Orders follows: The Court Grants the government's motion
to dismiss defendant's supplemental section 2255 motion.
(Dkt. No. 108.) The Court Denies defendant's remaining
ground for section 2255 relief based on his IAC claim. (Dkt.
March 20, 2014, Michael Singletary pled guilty to (i) being a
felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C.
section 922(g), and (ii) obstruction of justice in violation
of 18 U.S.C. section 1512(c)(2). He was sentenced to 144
months in prison. (Dkt. No. 67.) His sentence was enhanced
under U.S.S.G. section 2K2.1(a)(2) on the basis of two prior
crimes of violence. He was previously convicted of
first-degree robbery in violation of California Penal Code
section 211 and assault with a deadly weapon. With the
enhancement, his sentencing range was calculated to be 140 to
175 months based on a total offense level of 28 and a
criminal history category of VI.
Johnson v. United States and Beckles v. United
Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), the
Supreme Court addressed a challenge to the residual clause of
the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C.
section 924(e), which provides that a defendant with three
prior “violent felony” convictions faces a
fifteen-year mandatory-minimum sentence if convicted of
violating 18 U.S.C. section 922(g). 18 U.S.C. § 924(e).
The Johnson Court held that the residual clause in
the ACCA is so vague that it “both denies fair notice
to defendants and invites arbitrary enforcement by
judges.” 135 S.Ct. at 2557. Accordingly, the
Johnson Court held that an increase to a
defendant's sentence under the clause “denies due
process of law.” Id. In Welch v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), the Supreme Court held
that Johnson is retroactive as applied to the ACCA.
ACCA residual clause definition of “violent felony,
” which encompasses any crime that “involves
conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical
injury to another, ” is identical to the residual
clause of the Guidelines' definition of “crime of
violence.” However, on March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court
addressed whether Johnson applied to such similar
language contained in the Sentencing Guidelines. Beckles
v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). The Supreme
Court distinguished the ACCA and the Guidelines explaining
that unlike the ACCA, the “advisory Guidelines do not
fix the permissible range of sentences” and thus are
not “subject to a vagueness challenge under the Due
Process Clause.” Id. at 892. Thus, the Supreme
Court held that similar language in the advisory Sentencing
Guidelines are not void for vagueness. Id. at 895.
prisoner in custody under sentence of a federal court, making
a collateral attack against the validity of his or her
conviction or sentence, must do so by way of a motion to
vacate, set aside or correct the sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. section 2255 in the court which imposed the sentence.
Tripati v. Henman, 843 F.2d 1160, 1162 (9th Cir.
1988). Under 28 U.S.C. section 2255, a federal sentencing
court may grant relief if it concludes that a prisoner in
custody was sentenced in violation of the Constitution or
laws of the United States.
Section 2255 ...