United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chatanooga
FRANCES M. WEST, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
S. MATTICE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
inmate Frances M. West 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,
and West has filed a reply thereto. 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 West's § 2255 motion will be
BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
2010, West pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and
ammunition as a convicted felon [Doc. 34 in 1:10-CR-12].
Based on his prior convictions, which included five assaults
with intent to commit murder, two assaults with intent to
commit voluntary manslaughter, two aggravated assaults, and
one first-degree burglary, West was deemed an armed career
criminal and sentenced to the statutory mandatory minimum of
180 months' imprisonment [Presentence Investigation
Report (“PSR”) at ¶¶ 18, 24-25, 33-35,
37, 39, 42; Doc. 23 in No. 1:10-CR-12].
initial § 2255 motion was denied in 2014 [Docs. 42 and
43 in No. 1:10-CR-12]. Thereafter, West sought and obtained
authorization from the Sixth Circuit to contest his armed
career criminal classification in light of the Supreme
Court's decision in Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which invalidated the residual clause
of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”).
See Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2563. The United States
was ordered to respond to West's allegations, and it did
so by filing its response in opposition to the motion on
February 5, 2018 [Doc. 9]. Thereafter, West filed a reply to
the United States' response [Doc. 12].
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).
ACCA requires a 15-year minimum sentence for a felon who
unlawfully possesses a firearm after having sustained three
prior convictions “for a violent felony or a serious
drug offense, or both.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). The
statute defines a “violent felony” as “any
crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one
year” that (1) “has as an element the use,
attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against
the person of another” (the “use-of-force
clause”); (2) “is burglary, arson, or extortion,
involves use of explosives” (the
“enumerated-offense clause”); or (3)
“otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious
potential risk of physical injury to another”) (the
“residual clause”). 18 U.S.C. §
Johnson v. United States, the Supreme Court struck
down the residual clause of the ACCA as unconstitutionally
vague and violative of due process. Johnson, 135
S.Ct. at 2563. However, Johnson did not invalidate
“the remainder of the Act's definition of a violent
felony.” Id. Therefore, for a § 2255
petitioner to obtain relief under Johnson, he must
show that his ACCA-enhanced sentence was necessarily based on
a predicate violent felony that only qualified as such under
the residual clause. See, e.g., Potter v. United
States, 887 F.3d 785, 788 (6th Cir. 6018). Accordingly,
post-Johnson, a defendant can properly receive an
ACCA-enhanced sentence based either on the statute's
use-of-force or enumerated-offense clauses. United States
v. Priddy, 808 F.3d 676, 683 (6th Cir. 2015); see
also United States v. Taylor, 800 F.3d 701, 719 (6th
Cir. 2015) (affirming ACCA sentence where prior convictions
qualified under use-of-force and enumerated-offense clauses).
evaluating whether a conviction qualifies as a predicate
offense under the ACCA's enumerated-offense clause,
courts typically apply a “categorical approach, ”
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 statute
of conviction is broader than that criminalizing the generic
offense, then it cannot qualify as a violent felony,
regardless of the facts comprising the offense. 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
the “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. When considering whether the conviction qualifies as
an ACCA predicate under this approach, courts may review a
limited set of documents (referred to as Shepard
documents) to determine the elements of the crime of
conviction and compare that crime to the generic offense.
See id.; see also Shepard v. United States, 125
S.Ct. 1254 (2005).
Felonious assault with intent to murder
was convicted under Tennessee law on five separate occasions
of committing a felonious assault with intent to commit
murder, having used a “certain dangerous and deadly