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United States v. Beach

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

May 16, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JUSTIN D. BEACH

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge.

         Justin D. Beach, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, submitted this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence (u§ 2255 Motion, " ECF No. 192). In his § 2255 Motion, Beach raises the following claims for relief:

Claim One: Pursuant to Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), Beach's convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) are no longer constitutional. (§ 2255 Mot. 5.)[1]
Claim Two: "Counsel was ineffective under Sixth Amendment for not challenging the Government's lack of evidence supporting and/or showing that it has legislative jurisdiction over the geographical location of the bank in question and/or the lack of evidence supporting and/or showing th[at] its application of the federal bank robbery-act against Beach was within the scope and/or bounds of legislative intent." (Id. at 11.)
Claim Three: "Counsel was ineffective under the Sixth Amendment for not raising the issue of whether the bank is FDIC insured." (Id. at 14.)

         The Government has responded that Beach's claims lack merit. (ECF No. 201.) Beach filed a "MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE TRAVERSE" (ECF No. 203) will be granted to the extent that the Court will consider Beach's "ANNEXED & EXHIBITED PROPOSED REPLY-TRAVERSE" ("Reply." ECF No. 204). For the reasons set forth below, Beach's § 2255 Motion will be denied.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 23, 2015, Justin D. Beach pled guilty to Bank Robbery and Aiding and Abetting Bank Robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a) and 2 (Count One), and Possession and Discharge of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence and Aiding and Abetting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c) and 2 (Count Two). (Plea Agreement 1, ECF No. 71.) The Court sentenced Beach to 30 months of imprisonment on Count One and 120 months of imprisonment on Count Two to run consecutively. (J. 2, ECF No. 143.)

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Johnson Claim

         In Claim One, Beach contends that, pursuant to Johnson, his convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) are no longer constitutional. In Johnson, the Supreme Court held "that imposing an increased sentence under the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act [("ACCA")] violates the Constitution's guarantee of due process." 135 S.Ct. at 2563.[2] In Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), the Supreme Court held that "Johnson announced a substantive rule of law that has retroactive effect in cases on collateral review." Id. at 1268.

         Here, however, Beach was never subject to a sentence enhancement under the ACCA. Rather, Beach seeks to extend Johnson to invalidate his convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A), which provides:

Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime - -
(iii) if the firearm is discharged, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not ...

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