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Mathews v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 17, 2019

RICHARD GLEN MATHEWS, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION [DOC. 1]

          HON. ROGER T. BENITEZ, United States District Court Judge.

         Movant Richard Glen Mathews filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct his Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On the morning of May 15, 1991, James Wilson walked through the alley behind Ebony Street in Imperial Beach, California, picking up aluminum cans. United States v. Mathews, 36 F.3d 821, 822 (9th Cir. 1994). Wilson noticed a box near 120 Ebony Street, a residence rented by the president of the Mongols motorcycle gang's San Diego Chapter. Id. When Wilson picked up the box, a bomb within it detonated, blinding and deafening Wilson. Id. Wilson additionally suffered severe burns, lacerations, multiple fractures, and lost a finger. Id. He died seven months later. Id.

         Movant Richard Glen Mathews and his co-conspirator, Michael Webb, were responsible for creating and planting the bomb that destroyed Wilson's life and ultimately, accelerated his death. Id. The bomb took three days to make and contained steel balls, designed to cause severe injury to any person or property nearby. Id.

         Following a jury trial in 1993, Movant was convicted of six felony counts: Count 1 - conspiracy to bomb property in and affecting interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§371 and 844(i)(2); Count 2 - bombing property in and affecting interstate commerce causing injury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(i), and aiding and abetting under 18 U.S.C. § 2; Count 3 - using and carrying a firearm[1] during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) and (c)(2); Count 5 - felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e)(1); Count 6 - unlawfully manufacturing the bomb, in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861(f)(2), 5871, and aiding and abetting under 18 U.S.C. § 2; and Count 7 - unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861(d), 5871, and aiding and abetting under 18 U.S.C. § 2.

         Movant filed two direct appeals and was resentenced twice. At Movant's second resentencing hearing on October 14, 1997, he was sentenced to a total of 495 months imprisonment, consisting of:

• 60 months on Count 1;
• 135 months on Counts 2, 5-7, concurrently and concurrent to Count 1; and
• 360 months on Count 3, consecutively to all other counts.[2]

         As relevant here, Count 3 for using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) and (c)(2), carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years (360 months) to be served consecutively to the other sentences imposed.

         On February 17, 1998, the Court denied Movant's motion for a certificate of appealability, finding probable cause did not exist for any appeal. Movant did not file the instant § 2255 motion until June 2, 2016.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Movant argues his 30-year sentence and conviction for Count 3 for using a bomb in the commission of a "crime of violence"-bombing under the federal arson statute, § 844(i)-must be vacated because his bombing conviction is not a "crime of violence, " as defined by § 924(c)(3). In opposition, the government raises two procedural challenges: that Movant's motion is untimely under § 2255(f) and that Movant procedurally defaulted on his claim by failing to raise ...


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