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James v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

October 3, 2019

THOMAS JAMES, JR., Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          ALETA A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court is Thomas James, Jr.'s pro se Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody (Doc. No. 1), augmented by James' own supporting Memorandum (Doc. No. 2) and the Supplemental Brief (Doc. No. 10) filed on his behalf following the appointment of counsel. James seeks to vacate and reduce the sentence entered upon his criminal conviction in United States v. James, No. 3:01-cr-82 (M.D. Tenn. Mar. 18, 2002) (Judgment, Doc. No. 23)[1] (Haynes, J.), under Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which invalidated the so-called “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e).

         James was indicted in May 2001 on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). (Crim. Doc. No. 1.) He later pleaded guilty to that charge pursuant to a plea agreement. (Clerk's Resume of Hr'g, Crim. Doc. No. 9.). Following a sentencing hearing held on March 18, 2002, the court sentenced him to 188 months to run concurrently with an outstanding state sentence. No. appeal was taken.

         The Presentence Report (“PSR”) found that James qualified for a base offense level under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(a)(2) based on the following Tennessee convictions for crimes of violence:

(1) No. 91-W-408: felony escape, aggravated robbery, theft of property, and aggravated burglary;
(2) No. 93-D-1429: facilitation of aggravated robbery;
(3) No. 99-C-12190: robbery; and
(4) No. 99-D-3023: aggravated burglary.

         (PSR ¶ 9.) The PSR also found that James qualified as a career offender under the ACCA, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), but without specifying which prior convictions fell within the purview of the ACCA. (Id. ¶ 15.) James now argues that at least some of his prior convictions no longer qualify as “violent felonies” under Johnson.

         The ACCA provides in relevant part as follows:

(1) In the case of a person who violates section 922(g) of this title and has three previous convictions by any court referred to in section 922(g)(1) of this title for a violent felony . . ., such person shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than fifteen years . . . .
(2) As used in this subsection-
(B) the term “violent felony” means any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year . . . that-
(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the ...

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