Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hill v. United States

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

May 30, 2017

JERRY HILL, Petitioner,



         Before the Court is the United States' motion to deny and dismiss Petitioner's pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [Doc. 36]. Petitioner submitted the petition on June 6, 2016 [Doc. 31]. In it, he: (1) challenges his enhancement under Section 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines based on Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which held that the residual provision of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), was unconstitutionally vague [Id. (suggesting that his sentence is no longer valid because the Guidelines residual provision is equally vague)]; and (2) argues that counsel was constitutionally defective because he did not object to the same at sentencing [Id.].[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 2007, Petitioner pled guilty to two counts of distributing cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C) [Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) ¶¶ 1-3; Docs. 14-18]. Based on six prior Tennessee convictions for drug-trafficking [PSR ¶¶ 38-40, 42, 45, 47], the United States Probation Office deemed Petitioner to be a career offender [Id. ¶¶ 27, 73]. In accordance with that designation, this Court sentenced Petitioner to 188 months' imprisonment [Doc. 23]. Petitioner appealed, but the Sixth Circuit affirmed his conviction, career offender designation, and sentence on July 31, 2008 [Doc. 29]. Petitioner did not seek a writ of certiorari.

         The Supreme Court decided Johnson on June 26, 2015. Less than one year later-on June 6, 2016, Petitioner filed the instant petition challenging his career offender designation based on that decision [Doc. 31]. The United States responded in opposition to the petition on February 21, 2017 [Doc. 34]; Petitioner did not reply in the time allowed for doing so. E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.1, 7.2.

         On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Beckles and held in that decision that the United States Sentencing Guidelines are “not amenable to vagueness challenges.” Id. at 894. Shortly thereafter-on March 28, 2017, the United States filed the instant motion to dismiss Petitioner's collateral challenge to his career offender designation in light of Beckles [Doc. 36].


         Section 4B1.1 enhances a defendant's offense level if he or she qualifies as a “career offender, ” i.e., adult defendant whose offense of conviction is a “crime of violence or controlled substance offense” and who has “at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense.” U.S. Sentencing Manual § 4B1.1(a). “Crime of violence” under the Guidelines is defined in an almost identical manner as “violent felony” under the ACCA. See U.S. Sentencing Manual § 4B1.2(a) (adopting identical use-of-force and residual clauses as well as a nearly identical enumerated-offense clause).

         The United States filed the motion to deny and dismiss Petitioner's collateral in light of Beckles on March 28, 2016 [Doc. 36]. Petitioner has not filed a response and the time for doing so has now passed [Doc. 38]. This Court interprets the absence of a response as a waiver of opposition. See, e.g., Notredan, LLC v. Old Republic Exch. Facilitator Co., 531 F. App'x 567, 569 (6th Cir. 2013) (explaining that failure to respond or otherwise oppose a motion to dismiss operates as both a waiver of opposition to, and an independent basis for granting, the unopposed motion); see also E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.2 (“Failure to respond to a motion may be deemed a waiver of any opposition to the relief sought”). The unopposed motion to dismiss will be granted.


         Even if Petitioner had objected to the United States' motion to deny and dismiss, the petition would fail as a matter of law.

         A. Standard of Review

         The relief authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 2255 “does not encompass all claimed errors in conviction and sentencing.” United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979). Rather, a petitioner must demonstrate “(1) an error of constitutional magnitude; (2) a sentence imposed outside the statutory limits; or (3) an error of fact or law . . . so fundamental as to render the entire proceeding invalid.” Short v. United States, 471 F.3d 686, 691 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Mallett v. United States, 334 F.3d 491, 496-97 (6th Cir. 2003)). He “must clear a significantly higher hurdle than would exist on direct appeal” and establish a “fundamental defect in the proceedings which necessarily results in a complete miscarriage of justice or an egregious error violative of due process.” Fair v. United States, 157 F.3d 427, 430 (6th Cir. 1998).

         B. Career Offender ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.