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United States v. Manual

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

July 2, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
TIMOTHY MANUEL

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JAMES T. MOODY, JUDGE.

         Timothy Manuel has filed a motion (DE # 47) challenging his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons identified below, Manuel's motion will be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On November 18, 2010, this court accepted Manuel's plea agreement, and entered judgment convicting Manuel of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). (DE # 28.) While this offense typically carries a 10-year maximum term of imprisonment, this court sentenced Manuel as an armed career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), a classification that carries a 15-year minimum term of imprisonment. This court sentenced Manuel to the minimum 15-year term of imprisonment. (DE # 28.) Manuel's ACCA sentence was predicated on his Indiana felony convictions for: Class B Burglary in 1984, Class C Robbery in 1997, and Class C Robbery in 2006. (DE # 20 at 5.)

         Manuel's motion to vacate argues that, after the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015)[1], his 1984 Burglary and 2006 Robbery convictions no longer qualify as violent felonies under the ACCA, and thus he may no longer be sentenced as an armed career criminal under the ACCA. (DE # 47 at 3.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Section 2255 allows a person convicted of a federal crime to seek to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. 28 U.S.C. § 2255. This relief is available only in limited circumstances, such as where an error is of jurisdictional or constitutional magnitude, or where there has been an error of law that “constitutes a fundamental defect which results in a complete miscarriage of justice.” Harris v. United States, 366 F.3d 593, 594 (7th Cir. 2004) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). Motions to vacate a conviction or correct a sentence ask a court to grant an extraordinary remedy to a person who has already had an opportunity for full process. Kafo v. United States, 467 F.3d 1063, 1068 (7th Cir. 2006). A motion under § 2255 “is neither a recapitulation of nor a substitute for a direct appeal.” Olmstead v. United States, 55 F.3d 316, 319 (7th Cir. 1995) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). A court may deny a § 2255 motion without an evidentiary hearing if “the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Burglary Conviction

         Under the ACCA, a defendant who is convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm must be sentenced as an armed career criminal, and thus is subject to the 15-year mandatory minimum, if he “has three previous convictions by any court referred to in § 922(g)(1) of this title for a violent felony or serious drug offense, or both, committed on occasions different from one another.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1). A prior offense qualifies as a “violent felony” if it is “punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” and it:

• “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another”;
• “is burglary, arson, or extortion, [or] involves the use of explosives”; or
• “otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

§ 924(e)(2)(B). “The first part of the definition is known as the ‘force clause'; the second clause lists specific qualifying offenses, most notably burglary; and the third clause is the ‘residual clause.'” Van Cannon v. United States, 890 F.3d 656, 659 (7th Cir. 2018). In Samuel Johnson, the Supreme Court held that the residual clause was void for vagueness. Samuel Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2562-63. Thus, a prior offense may only qualify as a “violent felony” under the ACCA if it is either one of the enumerated offenses (burglary, arson, extortion, or use of explosives), or falls within the “force clause.” Neither Manuel nor the Government argue that Manuel's burglary conviction has force ...


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