Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Hylton

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

April 23, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
GEORGE MOIR HYLTON, JR., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge

         George Moir Hylton, Jr., a federal inmate, has filed an authorized successive motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, arguing that his enhanced sentence as an armed career criminal under the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), is unlawful. After consideration of the record and applicable caselaw, the court concludes that Hylton's motion must be dismissed.

         I.

         Hylton pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and 924(e). Hylton's Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR") recommended that he receive an increased sentence because he qualified as an armed career criminal in that he had at least three prior convictions for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both. PSR ¶ 19, ECF No. 70. The predicate offenses supporting his status as an armed career criminal include two prior Virginia convictions for unlawful wounding, one prior Virginia conviction for malicious wounding, and one prior Virginia conviction for burglary.[1] Id. ¶¶ 25, 27, 28, and 31. On March 8, 2010, the court sentenced Hylton to a total of 180 months' incarceration after adopting the PSR and concluding that he was an armed career criminal. Hylton appealed but the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed his conviction and sentence. United States v. Hylton, 429 Fed.Appx. 329, 330 (4th Cir. 2011) (unpublished).

         The court appointed the Federal Public Defender's Office to represent Hylton and provide briefing, if necessary, in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2563 (2015), pursuant to Standing Order 2015-5. The Federal Public Defender's Office filed a § 2255 motion on Hylton's behalf. On September 28, 2017, the court stayed the case pending a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in United States v. Jenkins, Case No. 16-4121. Jenkins has now been decided, No. 16-4121, 2018 WL 1225728 (4th Cir. March 9, 2018) (unpublished); accordingly, the § 2255 motion is ripe for review.

         II.

         To state a viable claim for relief under § 2255, a petitioner must prove: (1) that his or her sentence was "imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States;" (2) that "the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence;" or (3) that "the sentence was in i i excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Hylton 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).

         A. The ACCA Enhanced Sentence Structure

         Hylton claims that he no longer qualifies as an armed career criminal because his unlawful wounding, malicious wounding, and burglary convictions cannot be used to support an enhanced sentence under the ACCA. His argument with regard to unlawful and malicious wounding is foreclosed by Jenkins.

         Federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). Defendants who violate this law are subject to a term of up to ten years' imprisonment. 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2). However, when defendants convicted of a § 922(g) charge have three or more prior convictions for "serious drug offenses" or "violent felonies, " they qualify as armed career criminals under the ACCA. Armed career criminals face an increased punishment: a statutory mandatory minimum of fifteen years' imprisonment and a maximum of life. 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1).

         In Johnson, the Supreme Court invalidated part of the definition of "violent felony" under the ACCA. 135 S.Ct. at 2563. The ACCA defines a "violent felony" as:

[A]ny 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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.