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United States v. Singleton

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

March 15, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
LEON A. SINGLETON, Petitioner.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          M. Hannah Lauck United States District Judge.

         Leon A. Singleton, a federal inmate proceeding with counsel, submitted this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence ("§ 2255 Motion, " ECF No. 40). Singleton argues that in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), his sentence under the United States Sentencing Guidelines ("USSG") is unconstitutional. (§ 2255 Mot. 1-3.) The Government has responded. (ECF No. 45.) Singleton has replied. (ECF No. 47.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny Singleton's § 2255 Motion as untimely.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On February 17, 2004, Singleton was charged with distribution and possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of a mixture and substance containing detectable amounts of cocaine base (Count One), and possession of five grams or more of a mixture and substance containing detectable amounts of cocaine base (Count Two). (Indictment 1-2, ECF No. 9.) On May 5, 2004, Singleton pled guilty to Count One of the Indictment. (Plea Agreement ¶ 1, ECF No. 16.) The probation office prepared a Presentence Report ("PSR") for Singleton prior to sentencing. In the PSR, the probation officer found Singleton to be a career offender because the offense of conviction was a felony controlled substance offense and Singleton had previously been convicted of at least two prior felony crimes of violence. (PSR ¶ 47.)[1] Based on the career offender enhancement, Singleton's criminal history category increased from Level V to Level VI. (Id. Wksht C, at 2; Wksht D, at 1.) Singleton's Offense Level Total was 31 based on the finding that he was a career offender, with three points deducted for acceptance of responsibility. (Id. Wksht D, at 1.) Singleton's sentencing guidelines range was 188 to 235 months of incarceration. (Id.) At the time Singleton was sentenced, the Sentencing Guidelines were deemed mandatory. See United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 233 (2005).

         On September 27, 2004, the Court sentenced Singleton to 230 months of incarceration. (J. 2, ECF No. 24.) On June 26, 2016, Singleton filed the present § 2255 Motion. (ECF No. 40.) In his § 2255 Motion, Singleton asserts that he is entitled to relief upon the following claim:

Claim One: "On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551. The Court invalidated the ACCA's residual clause because it denied fair notice and invited arbitrary enforcement and was therefore void for vagueness under the Due Process Clause. Under Johnson, the identical clause in the career offender guideline is also void for vagueness. Thus, Mr. Singleton's prior Virginia convictions for unlawful wounding, maiming, and use of a firearm no longer qualify as 'crimes of violence, ' and Mr. Singleton is not a career offender." (§ 2255 Mot. 5.)[2]

         However, as discussed below, Singleton's claim is untimely.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Section 101 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") amended 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to establish a one-year period of limitation for the filing of a § 2255 Motion. Specifically, 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f) now reads:

(f) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to a motion under this section. The limitation period shall run from the latest of-
(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(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 governmental action;
(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 ...

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