United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
Jennifer R. Bockhorst, Assistant United States Attorney,
Abingdon, Virginia, for United States; Brian J. Beck,
Assistant Federal Public Defender, Abingdon, Virginia, for
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones United States District Judge.
Reece Fields, previously sentenced by this court following
conviction by a jury of five counts of illegal possession of
a firearm, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), has filed a motion under
28 U.S.C. § 2255, contending that his sentence under the
provisions of the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), is invalid.
For the reasons that follow, I will deny the motion.
sentencing on January 31, 2000, Fields was found by the court
to be an armed career criminal pursuant to the ACCA. The ACCA
provides that a person convicted of a violation of §
922(g), who “has three previous convictions by any
court . . . for a violent felony or a serious drug offense .
. . shall be . . . imprisoned not less than fifteen
years.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1).
shown by the probation officer's Presentence
Investigation Report (“PSR”), Fields, who was 58
years old at the time of sentencing, had been previously
convicted of 59 separate Virginia felony burglaries in three
different Virginia counties between 1967 and 1981, as well as
one North Carolina felony burglary, and Virginia unlawful
wounding, abduction, and robbery felony offenses. He had also
been convicted of numerous other crimes, including a 1982
conviction in federal court for being a felon in possession
of a firearm. These convictions resulted in his being in
either state or federal custody between 1981 and 1994.
objection was made to the probation officer's
recommendation in the PSR that Fields be sentenced as an
armed career criminal. His Sentencing Guideline range was
determined to be 235 to 293 months and he was sentenced at
the high end of that range. Fields' appeal was
unsuccessful. United States v. Fields, No. 00-4119,
2000 WL 1336483, at *1 (4th Cir. Sept. 15, 2000)
(unpublished) (holding that evidence was sufficient for jury
on December 21, 2005, Fields filed a pro se § 2255
motion, which was denied as untimely. Fields v. United
States, No. Civ.A.7:05-CV-00778, 2005 WL 3533432 (W.D.
Va. Dec. 22, 2005).
September 8, 2015, following Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), the Federal Public
Defender for this district was appointed by the court to
represent Fields in connection with a possible § 2255
motion. On May 19, 2016, the Federal Public Defender filed in
the court of appeals an Application for Leave to File a
Successive Motion on Fields' behalf, together with a
proposed § 2255 motion. The court of appeals granted the
application and transferred the § 2255 motion for filing
in this court. In re Fields, No. 16-848 (4th Cir.
June 13, 2016). The § 2255 motion asserts that
Fields' Virginia burglary convictions and Virginia
abduction conviction were invalid predicates for his ACCA
government has filed a Motion to Dismiss the defendant's
§ 2255 motion. The issues have been fully briefed and
are ripe for decision.
to Johnson, the term “violent felony”
was defined as any crime punishable by imprisonment for a
term exceeding one year . . . 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 use of
explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a
serious potential ...