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Ragland v. United States

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

November 2, 2017

REGINALD RAGLAND, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

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

          JAMES D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 filed by the Movant, Reginald Ragland. For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES Ragland's § 2255 motion.

         On April 21, 2003, a federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Ragland with possession of "crack" cocaine with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a). (No. 03-10018, Crim. ECF No. 1.) Trial began on December 15, 2003, and on December 17, 2003, the jury returned a verdict of guilty. (Id., Crim. ECF Nos. 40, 42 & 46.) At a hearing on March 24, 2004, the Court sentenced Ragland to a 300-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by four years of supervised release. (Id., Crim. ECF No. 53.) Judgment was entered on March 25, 2004. (Id., Crim. ECF No. 54.) On appeal, the Sixth Circuit vacated the sentence and remanded for re-sentencing under United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). (Id., Crim. ECF No. 65, United States v. Ragland, No. 04-5383 (6th Cir. July 12, 2005).)

         At a re-sentencing hearing on October 12, 2005, the Court determined that Ragland qualified as a career offender under § 4B1.1 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The Court then departed upward from the advisory guideline range and sentenced Ragland to the statutory maximum of 480 months in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release. (Id., Crim. ECF No. 74.) The Sixth Circuit affirmed. United States v. Ragland, 226 Fed.Appx. 507 (6th Cir. 2007), cert, denied, 552 U.S. 1102(2008).

         On June 3, 2016, Ragland sought leave in the Sixth Circuit to file a second or successive § 2255 motion, which the Court of Appeals denied as unnecessary because Ragland had not filed any previous § 2255 motions. (ECF No. 1, In re Ragland, No. 16-5766 (6th Cir. Sept. 20, 2016).) The § 2255 motion was then docketed in this Court.

         Ragland's § 2255 motion and supplemental memorandum[1] raise the following issues:

1. Whether his conviction was obtained by evidence seized pursuant to a warrantless search and arrest that were invalid under the Fourth Amendment;
2. Whether the quantity of drugs attributed to him and the application of a 2-level offense increase for obstruction of justice violated his Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial;
3. Whether the Court's upward departure from the applicable guideline range was constitutionally permissible; and
4. Whether his sentence is constitutionally invalid under the decisions in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), and Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016).

         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) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         After a § 2255 motion is filed, it is reviewed by the Court and, "[i]f it plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and the record of prior proceedings that the moving party is not entitled to relief, the judge must dismiss the motion." Rule 4(b), Rules Governing § 2255 Proceedings ("§ 2255 Rules"). "If the motion is not dismissed, the judge must order the United States attorney to file an answer, ...


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