United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
A. VARLAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Christian Lloyd
Goins' motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence
28 U.S.C. § 2255, and the United States' motion to
deny and dismiss same. Having considered the pleadings and
the record, along with the relevant law, the Court finds that
it is unnecessary to hold an evidentiary
hearing in this matter. The United States'
motion to deny the petition and dismiss this action will be
RELEVANT BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Goins was convicted of possessing a firearm as a felon in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and was sentenced to
72 months' imprisonment [Doc. 25 in No. 3:14- CR-95]. His
United States Sentencing Guidelines
(“Guideline(s)”) range was based, in part, on a
prior conviction that was classified as a “crime of
violence” under Guideline § 4B1.2 [Doc. 19 in No.
September of 2016, Goins filed a § 2255 motion
contesting his sentence in light of the Supreme Court's
decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551
(2015), which invalidated the so-called residual clause of
the Armed Career Criminal Act defining a “violent
felony.” Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2563 [Doc. 1].
Goins argues that Johnson's reasoning
invalidated his enhanced sentence for a “crime of
violence” under the Guidelines, thus entitling him to a
the United States filed a motion to defer ruling on the
§ 2255 motion pending the Supreme Court's decision
in Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017),
which was poised to address whether the Guidelines were
subject to a vagueness challenge, and if so, whether any rule
so finding would be retroactively applied [Doc. 2]. On March
6, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Beckles, holding
that the advisory sentencing Guidelines are not subject to
vagueness challenges under the Due Process Clause.
Beckles, 137 S.Ct. at 895. Based on
Beckles, the United States filed a motion to deny
Goins' § 2255 motion and dismiss this action with
prejudice [Doc. 3].
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).
forecloses Goins' claim that the Guidelines provision
considered in his sentencing is unconstitutionally vague.
See Beckles, 137 S.Ct. at 895. Accordingly, Goins
has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
considering a § 2255 motion, this Court must
“issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it
enters a final order adverse to the applicant.” Rule 11
of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the
United States District Courts. Goins must obtain a COA before
he may appeal the denial of his § 2255 motion. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c)(1)(B). A COA will issue “only if the
applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). For
cases rejected on their merits, a movant “must
demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district
court's assessment of the constitutional claims debatable
or wrong” to warrant a COA. Slack v. McDaniel,
529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). To obtain a COA on a claim that has
been rejected on procedural grounds, a movant must
demonstrate “that jurists of reason would find it
debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the
denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason
would find it debatable whether the district court was
correct in its procedural ruling.” Id. Based
on the Slack criteria, the Court finds that a COA
should not issue in this cause.
The Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from
this action would not be taken in good faith and would be
frivolous. Fed. R. App. 24. Therefore, Petitioner will be
DENIED leave to proceed in forma
pauperis on appeal, should he file for one. Fed. R. App.