United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. TRAUGER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Bright has filed a 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), challenging an
allegedly illegal sentence previously imposed by this court.
See United States v. Bright, No. 3:12-cr-00091 (M.D.
Tenn. Mar. 8, 2016) (Judgment, Doc No. 54). As explained
below, the court finds that an evidentiary hearing is not
required and that the movant is not entitled to relief.
2012, a criminal complaint was lodged against the movant,
charging him with knowingly possessing cocaine with intent to
distribute within 1000 feet of a public housing facility, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 860. (Crim.
Doc. No. 1.) The grand jury returned an indictment shortly
thereafter, which, in addition to the count alleged in the
Complaint, asserted a second count, for being a previously
convicted felon in possession of ammunition, in violation of
18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924. (Crim. Doc. No. 8.)
The government then filed an Information Alleging Prior
Felony Drug Convictions (“§ 851
Enhancement”), pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851(a)(1).
(Crim. Doc. No. 10.) According to the government, the
defendant's prior state drug-related convictions required
enhancement of the defendant's sentence upon Count 1 of
the Indictment, such that he would be subject to a mandatory
minimum sentence of life imprisonment without release.
November 2015, the court accepted the movant's Petition
to Enter a Plea of Guilty (Crim. Doc. No. 45), pursuant to
the terms of a written Plea Agreement (Crim. Doc. No. 46).
Bright agreed to plead guilty to both counts in the
Indictment in exchange for the government's agreement to
move to strike the § 851 Enhancement. In addition, under
Rule 11(c)(1)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,
the parties agreed to a sentence of 168 months, below the
guideline range of 188-235 months, and six years of
supervised release. (Crim. Doc. No. 46; see also
Presentence Report, Crim. Doc. No. 60, at 27.) The court
sentenced the defendant to 168 months as recommended by the
parties. (Judgment, Crim. Doc. No. 54.)
pro se § 2255 motion was filed in this court on
December 16, 2016. (Doc. Nos. 1, 2.) The government responded
(Doc. No. 11); the movant filed a Reply (Doc. No. 12) and
Motion to Supplement under Rule 60(b)(6), citing Buck v.
Davis, 137 S.Ct. 759 (2017) (Doc. No. 16), to which the
government also responded (Doc. No. 18). The movant then
filed a “Traverse.” (Doc. No. 22.)
LEGAL STANDARD FOR RELIEF UNDER § 2255
entitled to relief, a prisoner who moves to vacate his
sentence under § 2255 must show that the sentence was
imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the
United States, that the court was without jurisdiction to
impose such sentence, that the sentence was in excess of the
maximum authorized by law, or that the sentence is otherwise
subject to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. To
prevail on a § 2255 motion, a movant “must
demonstrate the existence of an error of constitutional
magnitude which had a substantial and injurious effect or
influence on the guilty plea or the jury's
verdict.” Humphress v. United States, 398 F.3d
855, 858 (6th Cir. 2005) (quoting Griffin v. United
States, 330 F.3d 733, 736 (6th Cir. 2003)).
Non-constitutional errors are generally outside the scope of
§ 2255 relief. United States v. Cofield, 233
F.3d 405, 407 (6th Cir. 2000). A movant can prevail on a
§ 2255 motion alleging non-constitutional error only by
establishing a “fundamental defect which inherently
results in a complete miscarriage of justice, or an error so
egregious that it amounts to a violation of due
process.” Watson v. United States, 165 F.3d
486, 488 (6th Cir. 1999) (quoting United States v.
Ferguson, 918 F.2d 627, 630 (6th Cir. 1990) (internal
quotation marks and additional citation omitted)).
general rule, any claims not raised on direct appeal are
procedurally defaulted and may not be raised on collateral
review unless the movant shows “cause” to excuse
the procedural default and “actual prejudice”
resulting from the alleged errors, United States v.
Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 168 (1982) (citations omitted), or
that he is “actually innocent.” Bousley v.
United States, 523 U.S. 614, 622 (1998) (citations
omitted). A claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is not
subject to the procedural-default rule, Massaro v. United
States, 538 U.S. 500, 504 (2003), and may be raised in a
collateral proceeding under § 2255, regardless of
whether the movant could have raised the claim on direct
addition, when the Supreme Court announces a new substantive
rule of law after a habeas petitioner's conviction has
become final on direct appeal, such a rule will apply
retroactively to cases on collateral review, irrespective of
exhaustion. Schriro v. Summerlin, 542 U.S. 348, 351
(2004); Griffith v. Kentucky, 479 U.S. 314, 328
(1987). If the Supreme Court decides a case recognizing a new
right and the ruling is “made retroactively applicable
to cases on collateral review, ” a federal prisoner
seeking to assert that right has one year from the date of
the Supreme Court's decision within which to file his
§ 2255 motion. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3); Dodd v.
United States, 545 U.S. 353, 358-59 (2005).
Bright purports to assert claims under Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which held that the
residual clause of that portion of the Armed Career Criminal
Act (“ACCA”) defining the term “crime of
violence, ” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), is
unconstitutionally vague and, therefore, that imposing an
increased sentence under the residual clause violates due
process, he does not actually raise any arguments based on
Johnson. Moreover, he was not sentenced under the
ACCA, because he did not have three prior “serious drug
offense” or “crime of violence”
nonetheless brings claims based on Mathis v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), in which the Supreme
counseled again that “a judge cannot go beyond
identifying the crime of conviction to explore the manner in
which the defendant committed that offense.” To comply
with the Sixth Amendment, the sentencing court may not stray
beyond the elements of the prior offense “to determine