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United States v. Pleasant

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

December 28, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JEFFREY A. PLEASANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge

         Jeffrey A. Pleasant, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, brings this motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 159.) The Government has responded, asserting that Pleasant's § 2255 Motion is untimely. (ECF No. 162.) For the reasons set forth below, the § 2255 Motion will be dismissed as barred by the statute of limitations.

         I. Procedural History

         A. Initial Federal Proceedings

         Following a jury trial, this Court convicted Jeffrey A. Pleasant of two counts of interfering with commerce by threats or violence, two counts of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. See United States v. Pleasant, 31 Fed.Appx. 91, 92 (4th Cir. 2002). The Court "determined that Pleasant qualified as an armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C.A. § 924(e) (West 2000) and sentenced him to a total of 622 months imprisonment." Id.

         Pleasant appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed Pleasant's convictions and sentence on February 19, 2002. IcL at 93.

         Following his direct appeal, this Court denied a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion by Pleasant. See United States v. Pleasant, 73 Fed.Appx. 653 (4th Cir. 2003). In the following years, the Court denied a host of unauthorized, successive § 2255 motions filed by Pleasant. See, e.g., United States v. Pleasant, No. 3:00CR71, 2013 WL 2950522, at *1 (E.D. Va. June 13, 2013).

         B. Current Federal Proceedings

         In April of 2017, Pleasant requested permission from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to file a successive application for § 2255 relief with this Court. (See ECF No. 158-2, at 15-16.) On May 23, 2017, the Fourth Circuit granted Pleasant permission to file a successive § 2255 Motion with this Court. (ECF No. 158, at 1.) The Fourth Circuit stated:

Pleasant has made a prima facie showing that a new rule of constitutional law announced in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), and held to apply retroactively to cases on collateral review by Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), may apply to his case. See In re Vassell, 751 F.3d 267, 269 (4th Cir. 2014). Accordingly, we grant his motion for authorization to file a second or successive § 2255 motion based on Johnson, thus permitting consideration of the § 2255 motion by the district court in the first instance.

(Id.) Pleasant had attached a copy of his proposed, successive 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to his request for authorization to file a successive § 2255 motion. (ECF No. 158-2, at 1-15.) In that document, Pleasant listed the following grounds for relief:[1]

Ground One "Unconstitutional Application of the Armed Career Criminal Act." (Id. at 5.)
Ground Two "Petitioner was denied equal treatment of the law where he timely sought relief under Johnson v. U.S., 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015)." (Id. at 7.)

         On June 14, 2017, the Court received from Pleasant his "MOTION FOR RELIEF PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2255 AND JOHNSON V. UNITED STATES 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015)" ("§ 2255 Motion," ECF No. 159.) In his § 2255 Motion, in support of Ground One, Pleasant contends that, in light of Johnson, he was improperly sentenced to an enhanced sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA").

         Specifically, Pleasant contends:

Because the petitioner no longer has three ACCA-qualifying convictions, he is no longer an armed career criminal. His sentence should be vacated because Johnson established a "new rule of constitutional law," that has been "made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable."

(§ 2255 Mot. 13 (citation omitted).)

         Also, on June 14, 2017, the Court received a Motion for Leave to Amend Motion for Relief Pursuant to § 2255 ("Motion to Amend," ECF No. 160). In the Motion to Amend, which spans nearly 100 pages with attachments, Pleasant seeks to add the following claims:

Ground Three: Pleasant claims that his federal prosecution was held in violation of:
(a) The Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C.A. ยง 3161 et ...

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