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Priddy v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

December 14, 2016

DONALD PRIDDY, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Cr. No. 1:13-cr-10054-JDB-1

          ORDER DENYING AND DISMISSING MOTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2255, DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, CERTIFYING APPEAL NOT TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH, AND DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL.

          J. DANIEL BREEN CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (“§ 2255”) petition of Donald Priddy, pro se, to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence (the “Petition”). (Electronic Case File (“ECF”) No. 1). Priddy, Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) register number 26176-076, is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution, Talladega in Talladega, Alabama. (Id.) Petitioner argues that the Court erred in sentencing him under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), citing the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). For the reasons discussed below, the Petition is DISMISSED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Case Number 1:13-cr-10054-JDB-1

         On June 24, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a two count indictment charging Petitioner with knowingly possessing and receiving a firearm-having been previously convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year-in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), with respect to two separate weapons. (Criminal (“Cr.”) ECF No. 2 at 1-2.) On September 15, 2014, Priddy, represented by counsel, pleaded guilty to both counts. (Minute (“Min.”) Entry, Cr. ECF No. 37.) There was no written plea agreement with the government. (Id.)

         Following Petitioner's guilty plea, the United States Probation Office conducted a presentence investigation and prepared a report (“PSR”) in anticipation of sentencing. (See PSR.) Priddy had numerous prior convictions in the courts of multiple states. These included three convictions for aggravated burglary, two for burglary (other than habitation), and one for robbery. (Id. at ¶¶ 29, 30, 36, 38, 44, 45.) His total offense level was 30 with a criminal history category of VI, resulting in a guideline range of 168 to 210 months. (Id. at ¶ 109.) Because of Petitioner's prior felony convictions, however, the Probation Office concluded that he qualified as an armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), and was therefore subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 months. (Id. at ¶ 23.) On January 21, 2015, this Court sentenced Priddy to 180 months' imprisonment as to each count, to run concurrently. (Min. Entry, Cr. ECF No. 47.) The sentence also included three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. (Id.)

         Petitioner challenged his sentence, including the imposition of the ACCA, on direct appeal. (See Cr. ECF Nos. 50, 52.) On December 15, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that this Court “correctly found that four of [Priddy's] prior convictions constitute violent felonies under the ACCA's enumerated-offense and use-of-force clauses.” United States v. Priddy, 808 F.3d 676, 687 (6th Cir. 2015). Accordingly, the court affirmed his sentence.

         B. Case Number 1:16-cv-01129-JDB-egb

         On May 31, 2016, Petitioner timely filed the instant § 2255 petition challenging his sentence. (ECF No. 1.) This time, he relies on the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which struck down the residual clause of the ACCA as unconstitutionally vague.[1]

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a),

[a] prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground 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, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

         “A prisoner seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 must allege either: (1) an error of constitutional magnitude; (2) a sentence imposed outside the statutory limits; or (3) an error of fact or law that was so fundamental as to render the entire proceeding invalid.” Short v. United States, 471 F.3d 686, 691 (6th Cir. 2006) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         Generally speaking, “[d]efendants must assert their claims in the ordinary course of trial and direct appeal.” Grant v. United States, 72 F.3d 503, 506 (6th Cir. 1996). A § 2255 motion is no substitute for a direct appeal. See Ray v. United States, 721 F.3d 758, 761 (6th Cir. 2013). Constitutional claims that could have been raised on direct appeal, but were not, will be barred by procedural default unless the petitioner demonstrates cause and prejudice sufficient to excuse his failure to raise these issues previously. El-Nobani v. United States, 287 F.3d 417, 420 (6th Cir. 2002) (withdrawal of guilty plea); Peveler v. United States, 269 F.3d 693, 698-99 (6th Cir. 2001) (new Supreme Court decision issued during pendency of direct appeal); Phillip v. United States, 229 F.3d 550, ...


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