United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
A. VARLAN, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
LaShonda Hall (“Hall”), was tried before a jury
and convicted of several counts of drug trafficking, firearms
offenses, and money laundering. She was sentenced to a prison
term of 548 months [Doc. 701]. On appeal, Hall's
convictions and sentence were affirmed. The decision of the
Court of Appeals was filed on February 25, 2013 [Doc. 729]
and the mandate issued on March 21, 2013 [Doc. 733].
the Court now is Petitioner's pro se motion to
vacate, set aside, or correct her sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255 [Doc. 771]. This motion was filed on
November 17, 2014, and therefore, it is untimely. Hall later
filed a “supplement” to the § 2255 Motion
[Doc. 788]. The Government filed a response in opposition
[Doc. 790], asserting that Petitioner's § 2255
Motion and supplement are untimely and must be denied on that
the § 2255 Motion remained pending, Hall moved to amend
it to contest her guideline range in light of Johnson v.
United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which invalidated
the Armed Career Criminal Act's residual clause as
unconstitutionally vague [Docs. 823, 828]. The Government
responded in opposition, arguing that Hall was ineligible for
relief under Johnson because the Supreme Court had
expressly limited its holding in that case to the Armed
Career Criminal Act, and further, that Johnson has
no bearing on the designation of drug convictions as
qualifying predicates [Doc. 830].
Supreme Court has now held that the advisory Sentencing
Guidelines are not subject to vagueness challenges and that
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2's residual clause is not void for
vagueness. Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886
(2017). Accordingly, Petitioner's Johnson-based
claim cannot justify relief and must be denied on the merits.
obtain relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, 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 that was 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)). She
“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).
one-year period of limitation applies to § 2255 motions,
and that period runs from the date on which the judgment of
conviction becomes final. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(1);
see Dodd v. United States, 545 U.S. 353, 357 (2005)
(“In most cases, the operative date from which the
limitation period is measured [is] the date on which the
judgment of conviction becomes final.” (internal
citation omitted)). In the present case, Petitioner's
conviction became final on May 27, 2013, because she did not
seek certiorari. Clay v. United States, 537 U.S.
522, 525 (2003). Petitioner had until May 27, 2014, to file a
timely § 2255 motion, but she did not file until
November 2014. Accordingly, her motion is untimely.
See Rule 3(d), Rules Governing Section 2255
Proceedings (providing that the filing date for a pleading
from an incarcerated defendant is the date the pleading was
placed into the prison mail system).
one-year statute of limitations for § 2255 motions is
not a jurisdictional bar and may be tolled under limited,
extraordinary circumstances. The Court agrees with the
Government that the petitioner has not established any basis
for equitable tolling to be granted. Dunlap v. United
States, 250 F.3d 1001, 1007 (6th Cir. 2001). Equitable
tolling is “used sparingly by federal courts, ”
and “[t]ypically . . . applies only when a
litigant's failure to meet a legally-mandated deadline
unavoidably arose from circumstances beyond that
litigant's control.” Jurado v. Burt, 337
F.3d 638, 642 (6th Cir. 2003). A petitioner bears the burden
of establishing that equitable tolling applies to her case.
Allen v. Yukins, 366 F.3d 396, 401 (6th Cir. 2004).
To satisfy that burden, she must show “(1) that she has
been pursuing her rights diligently, and (2) that some
extraordinary circumstance stood in her way and prevented
timely filing.” Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S.
631, 649 (2010); accord Hall v. Warden, 662 F.3d
745, 750 (6th Cir. 2011). The Court finds that the Petitioner
has made no such showing.
the Court finds that because the claims presented in the
Motion [Docs. 771, 788, 823] are untimely and therefore lack
merit, Petitioner is not entitled to relief pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255. Moreover, the Petitioner's
Johnson-based claim is without merit, as explained
above, and must be dismissed. A hearing is unnecessary in
this case. Accordingly, the Court will DENY
Petitioner's motion [Doc. 771] and supplements [Docs.
addition, the Court will CERTIFY that 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 has failed to make a substantial showing of
the denial of a constitutional right, therefore, a
certificate of appealability SHALL NOT
ISSUE. 28 U.S.C. § 2253; Fed. R. App. P. 22(b).