Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Williams

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division

December 18, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC LAV AN WILLIAMS Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Robert E. Jones, Senior District Court Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Vacate or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF #151) Because I sentenced Defendant pursuant to the "force clause" of the Armed Career Criminal Act and not the "residual clause, " I DISMISS Defendant's Motion.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In February of 2007, a federal grand jury charged defendant Eric Lavan Williams (Williams) with two gun-related counts: (1) felon in possession of a firearm and (2) unlawful possession of an unregistered short barreled rifle. (ECF #70) Thereafter, the government filed a notice of sentencing enhancement under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) (ACCA). (ECF #69) A jury convicted Williams of both counts and I sentenced him to a prison term of 288 months on Count 1 and a concurrent prison term of 120 months on Count 2. (ECF #121) At the October 15, 2007 sentencing hearing, I found that Williams qualified for sentencing enhancements under the ACCA and the Career Offender provision of the sentencing guidelines, U.S.S.G. §§ 4B1.1 and 4B1.2 (2005). (ECF #120-121) Williams filed a direct appeal to the Ninth Circuit, raising the Career Offender sentence as a basis for the appeal. The Ninth Circuit denied his appeal in an unpublished memorandum. United States v. Williams, 297 Fed.Appx. 599 (9th Cir. 2008) cert, denied 556 U.S. 1258 (2009). Next, Williams filed a pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate or correct his sentence. (ECF #135) I denied that motion and the Ninth Circuit dismissed his appeal and denied a certificate of appealability. (ECF #147)

         In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling holding that the ACCA's residual clause is void for vagueness, Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) (Johnson II). The following year, the Court deemed its Johnson II ruling retroactive in Welch v. United States, 236 S.Ct. 1257 (2016). Thereafter, Williams sought leave from the Ninth Circuit to file a second § 2255 motion to challenge the lawfulness of his sentence. The Ninth Circuit granted Williams's application resulting in Williams filing this motion. In his motion, Williams contends that, after Johnson II and Welch, he no longer qualifies for the ACCA's sentencing enhancement and should be resentenced. He also claims that his sentence should be vacated because he was erroneously sentenced as a Career Offender under the sentencing guidelines.

         DISCUSSION

         The ACCA makes it unlawful for anyone who has previously been convicted of "a crime punishable for a term exceeding one year" to possess or receive any firearm or ammunition, "which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce." 18 U.S.C § 922(g). A person who violates § 922(g) and has three qualifying prior convictions for a violent felony or serious drug offense is subject to imprisonment of not less than 15 years, regardless of the statutory maximum for the offense. § 924(e)(1). Under the statute, a violent felony is one that:

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

§ 924(e)(2)(B). In Johnson II, the Supreme Court held that the last portion of § 924(e)(2)(h), "conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another, " commonly referred to as the residual clause, is unconstitutionally vague. Johnson II, 135 S.Ct. at 2257. Thus, in order for a person to be subject to a sentencing enhancement under § 924(e) based on a prior violent felony conviction, an element of the felony must include either the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force ("force clause") or must be one of those enumerated in § 924(e)(2)(h) ("enumerated list").

         At sentencing on Count 1, the government offered evidence of Williams's prior three convictions as follows:

1. On or about December 17, 1998, in Multnomah County Circuit Court, State of Oregon, case number C98-10-38510, for Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Schedule II, for Consideration;
2. On or about November, 20, 1987, in the Circuit Court of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, Vermilion County, State of Illinois, case number 87 CF 24, for Armed Violence; Attempted Armed Robbery; Aggravated Battery; and
3. On or about February 24, 1987, in the Superior Court of the State of Washington in and for the County of Clark, case number 86-1-00286-3, Assault in ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.