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United States of America v. Alfonso Holder

May 16, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ALFONSO HOLDER



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert F. Kelly, Sr. J.

MEMORANDUM

Presently before this Court is Petitioner Alfonso Holder's ("Holder") pro se Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2255 (the "Motion"). For the reasons set forth below, this Motion is denied.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 11, 2007, a federal grand jury returned an indictment of Holder, charging him with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). This charge arose from Holder's possession of a firearm in Philadelphia on June 11, 2007.

On this date, two Philadelphia police officers, Sergeant Staycee Harris ("Sergeant Harris") and Officer William Pitt ("Officer Pitt"), were working together in plain clothes and in an unmarked vehicle when they encountered Holder walking down the 1500 block of North Gratz Street. (N.T. 4/21/08 at 32-33.) Prior to that day, Sergeant Harris had received information from a fellow officer, Michael Rocks ("Officer Rocks"), that Holder had been involved in an incident involving a gun and that he "possibly had a handgun." (Id. at 34-35.) Sergeant Harris noticed a bulge in Holder's left hip area and asked him to "come here, let me talk to you." (Id. at 34.) Holder responded "what do you want?" (Id. at 37.) Sergeant Harris stated:

"just let me talk to you for a minute." (Id.) As Holder walked toward the car, Officer Pitt opened the passenger door, prompting Holder to run. (Id.) Officer Pitt began chasing Holder on foot while Sergeant Harris followed in the unmarked vehicle. Sergeant Harris noticed that Holder was grabbing his left side as he ran. (Id. at 38.) Holder ran into a nearby home, 1512 North 19th Street, and Sergeant Harris, after exiting his vehicle, pursued Holder inside. (Id. at 39-40.) He saw Holder toss a handgun onto a pile of clothes at the top of a third floor landing. (Id. at 40.) Sergeant Harris then arrested Holder and recovered the gun from that landing. (Id. at 41.)

Prior to trial, Holder filed a motion to suppress admission of that firearm which this Court denied. On April 23, 2008, a jury found Holder guilty of this charge. Holder's prior record made him an Armed Career Criminal, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), and he faced a range of 235- 293 months in prison. On November 3, 2008, this Court sentenced Holder to 235 months imprisonment and a five-year term of supervised release. Holder timely appealed his conviction to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and raised three grounds for relief: (1) This Court abused its discretion when questioning a government witness and making comments to defense counsel;

(2) This Court violated his due process rights at sentencing by considering his prior arrests that did not result in convictions; and (3) This Court violated his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights by imposing the statutory sentence mandated by 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) when his prior convictions were not treated as elements of the offense. The Third Circuit rejected these claims and affirmed the conviction and judgment of sentence. See United States v. Holder, 348 Fed. Appx.762 (3d Cir. 2009).

Holder filed the instant pro se Motion on October 18, 2010, and raised the following claims:*fn1

1. The police unlawfully entered the residence where Holder was arrested in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights;*fn2

2. The Court improperly sentenced Holder as an Armed Career Criminal pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e);*fn3

3. The arresting officer relied on stale information and did not have a basis to question Holder as he was walking down the street;*fn4 and

4. Prosecution witness, LaDonya Reid, gave inconsistent statements and testimony, thereby misleading the ...


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