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United States v. Jamison

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Danville Division

December 13, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
WILLIAM COREY JAMISON, Petitioner.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge

         Petitioner William Corey Jamison, a federal inmate, filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, challenging his 200-month sentence following a guilty plea. Jamison asserts that he no longer qualifies as an armed career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA") because his predicate Virginia statutory burglary convictions no longer support such a designation. The government filed a motion to dismiss, and Jamison responded, making this matter ripe for disposition. I conclude that Jamison's petition is untimely, and I grant the government's motion to dismiss.

         I.

         On May 24, 2012, Jamison was charged in an eight-count Indictment with: (1) knowingly and intentionally distributing a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(D) ("Count One"); knowingly and intentionally distributing a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C) ("Counts Two, Three, Four and Seven"); and being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and 924(e) ("Counts Five, Six and Eight").

         Jamison pleaded guilty, pursuant to a written Plea Agreement, to Counts Two and Five of the Indictment in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining charges. The Plea Agreement stated, in accordance with the ACCA, that "if the Court determines I have at least three prior convictions for serious drug offenses and/or violent felonies I will face a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for a term of fifteen years and a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)." (Id.)

         A Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR") was created prior to sentencing. It recommended that Jamison be designated an armed career criminal based on three prior Virginia statutory burglary convictions on February 13, 2002. (PSR ¶ 23, 29, ECF No. 63.) Because of this designation, he had a total offense level of 31 and a criminal history category of VI, resulting in a sentencing range of 188 to 235 months' incarceration. (Id. ¶ 55.) Without the armed career criminal enhancement, Jamison would have had a base offense level of 17, a criminal history score of V, resulting in a sentencing range of 46 to 57 months.

         At the sentencing hearing, defense counsel argued that Jamison's Virginia statutory burglary predicates did not support an armed career criminal designation because they involved the burglary of "detached sheds, " which counsel argued were not buildings or structures, and so these convictions did not qualify as "generic burglaries" under the ACCA. (Sent. Hr'g Iran, at 2-5, ECF No. 41.) I did not agree with defense counsel's argument, and although noting that the burglaries might be considered crimes of violence under the residual clause of the ACCA, I ultimately concluded that Jamison's convictions for breaking and entering sheds qualified as generic burglaries under the ACCA. (Id. at 13.) I sentenced Jamison to 200 months' imprisonment and he did not appeal.

         In his § 2255 motion, Jamison alleges that following the Supreme Court's ruling in Johnson v. United States. 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), his Virginia statutory burglary convictions can no longer support his enhanced sentence under the ACCA. The court appointed the Federal Public Defender's Office to represent Jamison and it has provided supplemental briefing.

         II.

         To state a viable claim for relief under § 2255, a petitioner must prove: (1) that his sentence was "imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States;" (2) that "the court was without jurisdiction to impose such a sentence;" or (3) that "the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Jamison bears the burden of proving grounds for a collateral attack by a preponderance of the evidence. Miller v. United States, 261 F.2d 546, 547 (4th Cir. 1958).

         III.

         A § 2255 petition must adhere to strict statute of limitations requirements before any of the substantive issues may be addressed. A person convicted of a federal offense must file a § 2255 motion within one year of the latest date on which:

(1) the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) 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 ...

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