United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
HANNAH LAUCK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Linwood Henry, a federal inmate proceeding pro se,
submitted this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate,
set aside, or correct his federal sentence ("§ 2255
Motion, " ECF No. 24). The Government has responded,
arguing that Henry's § 2255 Motion is meritless.
(ECF No. 28.) Henry has replied. (ECF No. 30.) For the
reasons set forth below, Henry's § 2255 Motion will
October 6, 2015, a grand jury charged Henry with one count of
possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance
containing a detectable amount of cocaine hydrochloride.
(Indictment 1, ECF No. 9.) On December 2, 2015, Henry pled
guilty to the one-count Indictment. (Plea Agreement ¶ 1,
ECF No. 13.) Prior to sentencing, a Probation Officer
determined that Henry "has at least two prior felony
convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled
substance offense; therefore, [Henry] is a career
offender." (Presentence Investigation Report
("PSR") ¶ 19, ECF No. 17.) On March 16,
2016, the Court entered judgment against Henry and sentenced
him to 96 months of imprisonment. (J. 2, ECF No. 22.) Henry
did not appeal.
March 12, 2017, Henry placed the present § 2255 Motion
in the prison mail system for mailing to this Court. (§
2255 Mot. 13.) The Court deems the § 2255 Motion
filed as of that date. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S.
266, 276 (1988). In his § 2255 Motion, Henry raises the
following claim for relief:
Claim One: "It is Henry's position that since
Mathis v. United States, 126 S.Ct. 2243 (2016), his
Virginia drug crimes no longer qualify as controlled
substance offenses, and therefore his sentence must be
vacated." (§ 2255 Mot. 4.)
relies on the Supreme Court's decision in Mathis v.
United States, 126 S.Ct. 2243 (2016) to bring his sole
claim. In Mathis, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the
approach by which courts should determine if a prior
conviction is one of the enumerated violent felonies set
forth in 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) for purposes of
the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"). Mathis
v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2443, 2247-48 (2016).
Specifically, Mathis requires that courts use the
modified categorical approach, meaning that courts must
compare the elements of the state crime with the generic
version of the enumerated federal offense. Id. at
2248 (citing Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575,
600-01 (1990)). However, Henry was not sentenced as an armed
career criminal under the ACCA. Rather, Henry was sentenced
under the career offender provision of the United States
Sentencing Guidelines ("USSG"). (See PSR
¶ 19 (citing USSG § 4B1.1).) As explained below,
Henry's challenge to the calculation of his sentence
under the sentencing guidelines fails to state a cognizable
claim for § 2255 relief.
Fourth Circuit has noted that "[t]he language of §
2255 makes clear that not every alleged sentencing error can
be corrected on collateral review. The Supreme Court has
instructed that only those errors presenting a
'fundamental defect which inherently results in a
complete miscarriage of justice' are cognizable."
United States v. Foote, 784 F.3d 931, 932 (4th Cir.
2015) (quoting Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333,
346 (1974)). A "career offender designation [is] not a
fundamental defect that inherently results in a complete
miscarriage of justice." Id. at 940; see
United States v. Newbold, 791 F.3d 455, 459 (4th Cir.
2015) (citing Foote, 784 F.3d at 932-33) (noting
that "a mistaken career offender designation is not
cognizable on collateral review"); United States v.
Pregent, 190 F.3d 279, 283-84 (4th Cir. 1999)
(explaining that "[b]arring extraordinary
circumstances" an error in the calculation of the
Sentencing Guidelines is not cognizable in a § 2255
motion); United States v. Jean, Nos. 3:13CR136-HEH,
3:16CV16-HEH, 2016 WL 4257763, *1 (E.D. Va. Aug. 11, 2016)
("In a seamless series of cases, the Fourth Circuit has
continually held that 'misapplication of the sentencing
guidelines does not amount to a miscarriage of
justice.'" (quoting United States v.
Mikalajunas, 186 F.3d 490, 495-96 (4th Cir.
1999))). Henry's challenge to his career
offender status and resulting sentence under the USSG is not
cognizable on collateral review. See Newbold, 791
F.3d at 459. Accordingly, Henry's § 2255 Motion will
foregoing reasons, Henry's § 2255 Motion (ECF No.
24) will be DENIED. The action will be DISMISSED. A
certificate of appealability will be DENIED.An appropriate
Order shall issue.
 The Court employs the pagination
assigned to Henry's § 2255 Motion by the CM/ECF
docketing system. The Court corrects the spelling and
capitalization in quotations from ...