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Redmond v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Winchester

April 19, 2017

JOHN M. REDMOND, JR., Petitioner,



         Before the Court is the United States' motion to deny and dismiss Petitioner's supplemented motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [Doc. 69]. Petitioner submitted the relevant § 2255 petition on September 19, 2016 [Docs. 60, 71]. In it, he challenges his enhancement under the United States Sentencing Guidelines and convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) based on Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which held that the residual provision of the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), was unconstitutionally vague [Id. (suggesting that his sentence is no longer valid because the residual clause in Section 4B1.2 is equally vague)].[1]

         On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court issued Beckles v. United States, which held that the United States Sentencing Guidelines are “not amenable to vagueness challenges.” 137 S.Ct. 886, 894 (2017). Two weeks later, this Court entered an Order (1) explaining that Beckles necessarily meant that “Johnson . . . does not undermine sentences based on Guideline enhancements;” (2) instructing the parties to “file any motion that they want[ed] the Court to consider in conjunction with, or prior to, ruling on [the instant] petition[] on or before April 1, 2017;” and (3) requiring that responsive pleadings be filed on or before April 15, 2017 [Doc. 62].

         On March 27, 2017, FDSET filed a motion requesting that the Court grant Petitioner a 30-day extension of time to file pro se arguments in support of the existing-petition [Doc. 63]. That same day, Petitioner filed a pro se motion notifying the Court that FDSET has advised him that Beckles forecloses Johnson-based relief, describing his disagreement with that conclusion as a “conflict of interest, ” and requesting substitute counsel be appointed in FDSET's place [Doc. 64].

         On April 1, 2017, the United States filed the instant motion to dismiss Petitioner's Johnson-based challenge to his career offender designation in light of Beckles [Doc. 69]. On April 10, 2017, Petitioner filed a “supplement” to his original petition arguing that Beckles does not foreclose Johnson-based relief from his career offender designation because Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013), and Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), dictate that his prior conviction for common law robbery no longer qualifies as a crime of violence under the Guideline's enumerated-offense or use-of-physical-force clause [Doc. 71].[2]


         FDSET's request for an extension of time [Doc. 63] will be DENIED because Petitioner has had more than enough time to submit pro se arguments in support of his existing grounds or supplement the same with additional theories of collateral relief. The petition has been pending before this Court for nearly eight months and more than a month has passed since the Supreme Court decided Beckles. An extension would be inappropriate under the circumstances.

         Petitioner's pro se request for the appointment of substitute counsel in light of his “conflict of interest” with FDSET [Doc. 64] will also be DENIED. This Court appointed FDSET for the limited purpose of reviewing Petitioner's case to determine whether or not he was entitled to collateral relief in light of Johnson. E.D. Tenn. S.O. 16-02 (Feb. 11, 2016). According to Petitioner's own admission, they have determined based on Beckles that he is not [Doc. 64 p. 1 (“[Counsel] recently informed Petitioner that . . . Beckles . . . has foreclosed any relief available pursuant to Johnson.”)]. Thus, the Court finds that Petitioner received all that he is entitled to receive under this Court's Standing Order. To the extent that Petitioner seeks the appointment of counsel to assist in the litigation of some yet-to-be-filed collateral challenge unrelated to Johnson, the Court declines that request at this time because Petitioner has not demonstrated counsel is necessary to ensure that those claims are fairly raised or heard. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636 (6th Cir. 1986); see also Childs v. Pellegrin, 822 F.2d 1382, 1384 (6th Cir. 1987) (explaining that the appointment of counsel in a civil case is a mater within the discretion of the district court).


         To the extent that Petitioner challenges his career offender designation based on Johnson, that argument fails because the Guidelines are not subject to void for vagueness analysis. Beckles, 137 S.Ct. 894. As a result, Petitioner's prior North Carolina convictions for common law robbery and armed robbery remain properly classified as crimes of violence under Section 4B1.2's residual clause. Divisibility of the relevant criminal provisions under Descamps and Mathis is irrelevant since viability of the residual provision means that both prior offenses categorically qualify as crimes of violence under either the enumerated-offense, use-of-physical-force, or residual clauses.[3]


         For the foregoing reasons, the United States' motion to deny and dismiss [Doc. 69] will be GRANTED and Petitioner's supplemented § 2255 petition [Docs. 60, 71] will be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. FDSET's motion for an extension of time [Doc. 63] and Petitioner's request for counsel [Doc. 64] will be DENIED. This Court will CERTIFY any appeal from this action would not be taken in good faith and would be totally frivolous. Therefore, this Court will DENY Petitioner leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. See Fed. R. App. P. 24. Petitioner having failed to make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, a certificate of appealability SHALL NOT ISSUE. 28 U.S.C. § 2253; Fed. R. App. P. 22(b).

         SO ...

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