United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
GLEN E. CONRAD CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Lee Saunders, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, filed this
action as a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his
sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The government has
filed a motion to dismiss, to which Saunders has responded,
making the matter ripe for consideration. For the reasons
that follow, the government's motion to dismiss will be
granted and Saunders' motion to vacate will be denied.
was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 23, 2009. Count
One of the indictment charged him with distribution of five
grams or more of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(a)(1). Saunders entered a plea of guilty to that
count on July 10, 2009.
preparation for sentencing, a probation officer prepared a
presentence investigation report, which designated Saunders
as a career offender under § 4B1.1 of the United States
Sentencing Guidelines. Pursuant to that provision, a
defendant is a career offender if, among other factors,
"the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions
of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance
offense." U.S.S.G. § 4Bl.l(a). Saunders' career
offender designation was based on two prior felony
convictions in the Circuit Court for the City of Roanoke: a
1997 conviction for distribution of cocaine, and a 2004
conviction in the same court for possession with intent to
distribute cocaine. As a career offender, Saunders was
subject to an enhanced range of imprisonment of 188 to 235
months under the Advisory Guidelines.
appeared for sentencing on October 15, 2009. The court
adopted the presentence report and determined that Saunders
qualified for the career offender designation. However, based
on multiple factors, the court varied from the career
offender range and imposed a term of imprisonment of 164
months. The criminal judgment was entered on October 23,
2009. Saunders did not appeal his conviction or sentence.
November 28, 2016, Saunders moved to vacate his sentence
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Relying on the United States
Supreme Court's decision in Mathis v. United
States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), Saunders argues that his
prior drug convictions are not "controlled substance
offenses" within the meaning of the Guidelines and,
thus, that he was improperly sentenced as a career offender.
February 8, 2017, the government moved to dismiss
Saunders' § 2255 motion as untimely. Saunders filed
a response to the government's motion on February 23,
2017. The matter is now ripe for review.
one-year period of limitation applies to motions filed under
28 U.S.C. § 2255. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). The one-year
period runs from the latest of the following dates:
(1) the date on which the j udgment of conviction becomes
(2) the date on which 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
(3) the date on which the right asserted was 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; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or
claims presented could have been discovered through the