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Wilkins v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

June 22, 2017

MARK LOUIS WILKINS, SR., Petitioner
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A. TRAUGER U.S. District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the court are the Petitioner's Motion To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence In Accordance With 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Docket No. 1), the Petitioner's Supplemental Brief (Docket No. 5), the Government's Response (Docket No. 6), the Petitioner's Reply (Docket No. 7), and the Government's Supplemental Response (Docket No. 8). For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence In Accordance With 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Docket No. 1) is DENIED, and this action is DISMISSED.

         II. Procedural Background

         The Petitioner pled guilty to two counts of bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), before now-retired Judge Todd J. Campbell. (Docket Nos. 3, 29, 30 in Case No. 3:13cr00098). Through the Plea Agreement, the Petitioner acknowledged that he was a career offender under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, and the parties agreed to a total sentence of 151 months of imprisonment. (Docket No. 30 in Case No. 3:13cr00098). At the subsequent sentencing hearing, on September 8, 2014, Judge Campbell imposed the agreed 151-month sentence. (Docket Nos. 34, 35, 36 in Case No. 3:13cr00098). The record reveals that no appeal was taken.

         III. Analysis

         A. 28 U.S.C. § 2255

         The Petitioner has brought this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Section 2255 provides a statutory mechanism for challenging the imposition of a federal sentence:

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.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). In order to obtain relief under Section 2255, a petitioner “‘ must demonstrate the existence of an error of constitutional magnitude which had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict.'” Humphress v. United States, 398 F.3d 855, 858 (6th Cir. 2005)(quoting Griffin v. United States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th Cir. 2003)).

         If a factual dispute arises in a § 2255 proceeding, the court is to hold an evidentiary hearing to resolve the dispute. Ray v. United States, 721 F.3d 758, 761 (6th Cir. 2013). An evidentiary hearing is not required, however, if the record conclusively shows that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b); Ray, 721 F.3d at 761; Arredondo v. United States, 178 F.3d 778, 782 (6th Cir. 1999). A hearing is also unnecessary “if the petitioner's allegations ‘cannot be accepted as true because they are contradicted by the record, inherently incredible, or conclusions rather than statements of fact.'” Id.

         Having reviewed the pleadings, briefs, and records filed in the Petitioner's underlying criminal case, as well as the filings in this case, the court finds it unnecessary to hold an evidentiary hearing because the records conclusively establish that the Petitioner is not entitled to relief on the issues raised.

         B. Johnson v. United States

         The Petitioner claims that his sentence should be vacated because the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015) undermines the validity of Section 4B1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines, the career offender guideline, which was applied to him at sentencing. In Johnson, the Supreme Court held that the so-called “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), is unconstitutionally vague. The ACCA imposes a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for defendants convicted of certain firearms offenses who have three previous convictions for a “violent felony” or a ...


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