United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON MOTION TO VACATE SENTENCE
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE
cause is before the Court on Robbins' motion to vacate
his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Dkt. No. 1);
1:12-cr-46-WTL-KPF-1 (Dkt. No. 34). The motion is fully
briefed, and the Court, being duly advised,
GRANTS the motion for the reasons set forth
2012, Robbins pled guilty to possession with intent to
distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §
841(a)(1) (Count One); possession of a firearm in furtherance
of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A) (Count Two); and being a felon in possession
under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e)(1) (Count
Three). The plea agreement, entered into by the parties
pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C),
provided for a 202 month term of imprisonment on Counts One
and Three, to be served concurrently, and a consecutive sixty
month term of imprisonment on Count Two.
the three predicate violent felonies giving rise to
Robbins' status under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”) were convictions for resisting law
enforcement. The plea included an appeal waiver in which
Robbins agreed not to attack his sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255. The Court accepted the plea and sentenced
Robbins to a term of imprisonment of 202 months.
2015, Robbins filed a pro se motion challenging his sentence,
arguing that in light of Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), he had been improperly sentenced under
the ACCA. Robbins' two prior convictions for resisting
law enforcement for fleeing in a vehicle had been determined
to be predicate offenses under the residual clause, which the
Supreme Court ruled is unconstitutionally vague.
Court appointed Sara Varner from the Indiana Federal
Community Defenders to represent Robbins. The parties entered
a stipulation in which they agreed that Robbins was entitled
to relief on Count Three, as the sentence imposed exceeded
the statutory maximum penalty of ten years incarceration, and
that Robbins should receive a sentence of 120 months on this
count. The parties further agreed that under Beckles v.
United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017), Robbins'
sentences on Counts One and Two were unaffected. Accordingly,
the parties asked the Court to grant Robbins' § 2255
motion and resentence him to a term of 120 months
imprisonment on Count Three.
weeks after the stipulation was filed, Varner filed a motion
to stay imposition of the final judgment, indicating that
Robbins had contacted her and that she needed additional time
to discuss the case with him. Varner moved to withdraw, and
Robbins also filed a motion to excuse appointed counsel and
proceed pro se. Robbins also moved to withdraw the
stipulation. Further briefing followed. Robbins filed a
motion to appoint counsel, which the Court granted, and,
following a status conference, the Court ordered additional
Robbins asks the Court to grant his motion to withdraw the
stipulation (Dkt. No. 30). “Once made, a stipulation is
binding unless relief from the stipulation is necessary to
avoid ‘manifest injustice' or the stipulation was
entered into through inadvertence or based on an erroneous
view of the facts or law.” United States v.
Wingate, 128 F.3d 1157, 1160 (7th Cir. 1997) (quotation
and citation omitted). Robbins has submitted an affidavit
from Varner that provides, in relevant part:
I have since learned that my advice was based upon a
misunderstanding of how relief on count three may allow this
Court [to] unbundle the sentence package and impose a new
sentence on count one as well. Had I understood more at that
time regarding the sentence package doctrine, I would not
have advised Mr. Robbins to stipulate to a resolution of his
petition that lowered his sentence as to count three but left
his sentence unchanged as to count one.
Dkt. No. 68. Given that the stipulation was based on an
erroneous view of the law, the Court GRANTS
Robbins' motion to withdraw it (Dkt. No. 30).
parties agree that Robbins is no longer ACCA eligible and
thus must be resentenced. Robbins argues that he should be
resentenced on all counts, while the Government acknowledges
that the Court has the authority to unbundle Robbins'
sentence but urges the Court not to do so. When a petitioner
attacks the validity of one of the counts of conviction, the
district court can unbundle the sentencing package.
United States v. Binford, 108 F.3d 723, 728 (7th
Cir. 1997). “If a multicount sentence is a package . .
. then severing part of the total sentence usually will
unbundle it. And we do not think it matters what means are
used to bring resentencing proceedings before the district
court. Under the sentencing package concept, when a defendant
raises a sentencing issue he attacks the bottom line.”
United States v. Smith, 103 F.3d 531, 534 (7th Cir.
1996). Here, the sentences were interdependent on each other
as part of the (C)(1)(c) plea. Accordingly, the Court finds
that unbundling the sentencing package and resentencing
Robbins on all counts is appropriate.
Robbins' resentencing, the Court will apply the
guidelines in effect at the time of the resentencing. Under
18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), courts are to consider the
Guidelines in effect on the date of the defendant's
sentencing “except as provided in section 3742(g),
” which governs sentencing upon ...