United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
S. MATTICE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
inmate James Samuel Lindsay has filed a motion to vacate, set
aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Respondent has filed a response in opposition to the motion.
Having considered the pleadings and the record, along with
the relevant law, the Court finds that it is unnecessary to
hold an evidentiary hearing, and Lindsay's § 2255
motion will be denied.
BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
revealed by the Court-authorized interception of
Lindsay's telephone calls and text messages, he
participated in a methamphetamine-distribution conspiracy
[Doc. 88 ¶ 4 in No. 1:15-CR-52]. In August 2015, the
United States filed notice, consistent with 21 U.S.C. §
851(a), of its intent to seek an enhanced sentence based on
two of Lindsay's prior drug convictions [Doc. 99 in No.
1:15-CR-52]. The next month, Lindsay pleaded guilty to
conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute at least 5 grams of methamphetamine and at least
50 grams of a methamphetamine mixture in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(B) [Doc. 88
¶ 1 in No. 1:15-CR-82]. As part of his plea agreement,
Lindsay waived his right to appeal and collaterally attack
his conviction or sentence, with the exception of claims of
prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of
counsel [Id. at ¶ 12].
on his prior Tennessee convictions for aggravated assault and
two instances of promoting the manufacture of
methamphetamine, Lindsay was designated a career offender
[Doc. 204 ¶¶ 25, 49, 53, 56]. After a three-level
reduction for responsibility, Lindsay's total offense
level was 34 [Id. at ¶¶ 25-28]. Lindsay
had 14 criminal history points, for a criminal history
category of VI, which was the same category required by his
career-offender classification [Id. at ¶¶
59-60]. The resulting Sentencing Guideline
(“Guideline(s)”) range was 262 to 327 months'
imprisonment [Id. at ¶ 96]. The Court
ultimately sentenced Lindsay to 262 months' imprisonment
[Doc. 254 in No. 1:15-CR-152].
the appeal-waiver provision in his plea agreement, Lindsay
sought an appeal. The Sixth Circuit affirmed his conviction
and sentence [Doc. 297 in No. 1:15-CR-52]. On or about
November 3, 2017, Lindsay filed the instant § 2255
motion [Doc. 1]. The United States was ordered to respond to
Lindsay's allegations, and it complied by filing its
response on December 7, 2017 [Doc. 4].
defendant has been convicted and exhausted his appeal rights,
a court may presume that “he stands fairly and finally
convicted.” United States v. Frady, 456 U.S.
152, 164 (1982). A court may grant relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255, but the statute “does not encompass all
claimed errors in conviction and sentencing.”
United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185
(1979). Rather, collateral attack limits a movant's
allegations to those of constitutional or jurisdictional
magnitude, or those containing factual or legal errors
“so fundamental as to render the entire proceeding
invalid.” Short v. United States, 471 F.3d
686, 691 (6th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).
petition, Lindsay contends that he was incorrectly classified
as a career offender under the United States Sentencing
Guidelines (“Guideline(s)”), and that counsel
rendered ineffective assistance in failing to establish this
fact. In Strickland v. Washington, the Supreme Court
set forth a two-pronged test for determining whether a
convicted defendant has received the ineffective assistance
of counsel. See Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S.
668 (1984). Strickland holds that a petitioner
alleging the ineffective assistance of counsel must establish
(1) that counsel's performance was deficient, such that
counsel did not render reasonably effective assistance as
measured by prevailing professional norms; and (2) that he
was prejudiced by the deficiency, i.e., that there exists a
reasonable probability that but for counsel's alleged
acts or omissions, the results of the proceedings would have
been different. See Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687-88,
694; Huff v. United States, 734 F.3d 600, 606 (6th
Cir. 2013) (applying Strickland test to § 2255
claims). The failure to satisfy either prong of
Strickland requires dismissal of the claim and
relieves the reviewing court of a duty to consider the other
prong. Nichols v. United States, 563 F.3d 240, 249
(6th Cir. 2009); see also Strickland, 466 U.S. at
the Guidelines, “a defendant is a career offender if
(1) [he] was at least eighteen years old at the time [he]
committed the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant
offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of
violence or a controlled substance offense [as defined under
§ 4B1.2]; and (3) the defendant has at least two prior
felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a
controlled substance offense.” Guideline §
determine whether a prior conviction qualifies under §
4B1.2, courts ordinarily apply a categorical approach to
simple, straightforward statutes, which requires the
reviewing court to compare the elements of the statute of
conviction with the “generic elements” of the
offense. Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243,
2248 (2016); Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S.
254, 257 (2013). If the elements of the statute of conviction
are broader than those comprising the generic offense, then
the conviction cannot qualify as a predicate offense,
regardless of the particular facts of the case. See,
e.g., Mathis, 136 S.Ct. at 2248-49.
where the statute of conviction is “divisible, ”
in that it lists elements in the alternative to define
several different variants of the crime, courts may employ a
“modified categorical approach” in order to
evaluate which of the alternative elements constituted the
offense of conviction. See, e.g., Mathis, 136 S.Ct.
at 2249; United States v. House, 872 F.3d 748, 753
(6th Cir. 2017). Applying the modified categorical approach
requires the reviewing court to decide whether any of the
alternatives match the federal definition, and, if so,
consult a limited set of documents (referred to as
Shepard documents) to determine the elements of the
crime of conviction. See id.; see also Shepard v. United
States, 125 S.Ct. 1254 (2005). In conducting its
inquiry, the Court's concern is not “whether the
elements of the [state statute] contain the same words as the
Guidelines' definition” but rather, “it is
‘whether the elements of [the statute] are of the
type that would justify its inclusion within the
definition[.]” United States v. Douglas, 563
Fed.Appx. 371, 377 (6th Cir. 2014) (emphasis in original)