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United States v. Sage

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

October 11, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRIS DARRELL JOSEPH SAGE, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          MICHAEL MCSHANE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The matter comes before the Court on Defendant Chris Darrell Joseph Sage's Amended Motion to Vacate or Correct Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 90. The Court has determined that no hearing is required and the motion is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         In November 2013, Sage entered a guilty plea to charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and 924(e) and Possession with Intent to Distribute 50 or More Grams Actual Methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A)(viii). In May 2014, Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Sage to 240 months, which included a fifteen year mandatory minimum sentence pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e).[1] Sage was also found to be a Career Offender under the sentencing guidelines, U.S.S.G. §§ 4B1.1 and 4B1.2. Sage had the following relevant prior state court convictions:

1) Two counts of Assaulting a Public Safety Officer (APSO) in violation of ORS 163.208, Class C felonies. Judgment was entered on November 17, 2008. Gov't Sentencing Mem. Ex. 2, at 9. ECF No. 44.
2) Manufacture of Methamphetamine in violation of ORS 475.886, a Class B felony. Judgment was entered on November 17, 2008. Gov't Sentencing Mem Ex. 3, at 10.
3) Possession of a Precursor Substance with Intent to Manufacture a Controlled Substance in violation of ORS 475.967, a Class B felony. Judgment was entered on February 6, 2003. Gov't Sentencing Mem. Ex. 4, at 6.
4) Manufacture of Methamphetamine in violation of ORS 475.992, a Class B felony.[2]Judgment was entered on February 6, 2003. Gov't Sentencing Mem. Ex. 5, at 7.

         Sage filed a direct appeal of his sentence, which was dismissed by the Ninth Circuit. United States v. Sage, 609 F. App'x 410 (9th Cir. 2015). The Supreme Court denied Sage's petition for certiorari. Sage v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 347 (2015).

         Sage filed his original § 2255 motion pro se, ECG No. 76, but Sage has since filed an amended § 2255 motion with the assistance of appointed counsel.[3] ECF No. 90.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a federal prisoner in custody under sentence may move the court that imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence on the ground that:

[T]he sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack. . . .

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).

         To warrant relief, a petitioner must demonstrate that the error of constitutional magnitude had a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's verdict. Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 637 (1993); see also United States v. Montalvo, 331 F.3d 1052, 1058 (9th Cir. 2003) (“We hold now that Brecht's harmless error standard applies to habeas cases under section 2255, just as it does to those under section 2254.”).

         A petitioner seeking relief under § 2255 must file his motion within the one-year statute of limitations set forth in § 2255(f). The limitations period runs one year from the latest of four dates: (1) when the judgment of conviction became final; (2) when the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action; (3) when the right asserted is initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; and (4) when the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f).

         Under § 2255, “a district court must grant a hearing to determine the validity of a petition brought under that section, ‘[u]nless the motions and the files and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner is entitled to no relief.'” United States v. Blaylock, 20 F.3d 1458, 1465 (9th Cir. 1994) (alteration and emphasis in original) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255). In determining whether a § 2255 motion requires a hearing, “[t]he standard essentially is whether the movant has made specific factual allegations that, if true, state a claim on which relief could be granted.” United States v. Withers, 638 F.3d 1055, 1062 (9th Cir. 2011) (alteration in original, internal quotation marks and citation omitted). A district court may dismiss a § 2255 motion based on a facial review of the record “only if the allegations in the motion, when viewed against the record, do not give rise to a claim for relief or are ‘palpably incredible or patently ...


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