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Bernard Gibson, Sr v. B. A. Bledsoe

April 10, 2013

BERNARD GIBSON, SR., PETITIONER
v.
B. A. BLEDSOE,
RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge

Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

On April 20, 2012, Bernard Gibson, Sr., an inmate housed at USP-Lewisburg, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, filed this pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 2241.*fn1 (Doc. 1, Pet.) In his petition, Mr. Gibson asserts that he is being held under a void judgment as his life sentence was vacated by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals with the instruction that he be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not to exceed thirty years. (Id.) Also pending before the Court is Mr. Gibson's Motion to Amend his habeas petition and four similarly based motions for Judgment. (Docs. 7, 9-12.) For the reasons that follow, the petition, motion to amend, and motions for judgment will be denied.

II. Background

After a jury trial, Mr. Gibson was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. After the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the imposition of a mandatory life sentence, the United States Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000).*fn2 On remand the Fourth Circuit affirmed the conviction but vacated the life sentence and remanded the case with instructions to sentence Mr. Gibson to a term of imprisonment not to exceed the thirty-year statutory maximum provided at 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(c). United States v. Gibson, 18 F. App'x 85 (4th Cir. 2001). Upon resentencing, Mr. Gibson's life sentence was reimposed. Mr. Gibson appealed.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion denying Mr. Gibson's appeal following his resentencing, sets forth the following relevant factual and procedural background.

Bernard Gibson, Sr., and Marston Edward Blue appeal the life sentences imposed by the district court on resentencing for their convictions for conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine and for Blue's conviction for possession with intent to distribute heroin. They contend that the district court erred by failing to follow our mandate in United States v. Gibson, Nos. 96-4369, 96-4459, 2001 WL 1019343, 18 Fed. Appx. 85 (4th Cir. Sept. 6, 2001)(unpublished), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 1117, 122 S.Ct. 929, 151 L.Ed.2d 891 (2002). Finding no reversible error, we affirm.

In vacating Gibson's and Blue's sentences and remanding for resentencing, we relied on the panel decision in United States v. Cotton, 261 F.3d 397 (4th Cir. 2001), rev'd, 535 U.S. 625, 122 S.Ct. 1781, 152 L.Ed.2d 860 ( 2002),*fn3 in holding that their mandatory life sentences violated the rule announced in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000). We found that the statutory maximum to which Gibson and Blue were subject on the conspiracy count and to which Blue was subject on the possession-with-intent-to-distribute count was thirty years, taking into account their qualifying prior felony convictions. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C)(West Supp. 2003). We instructed the district court to resentence Gibson and Blue consistent with U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual §§ 5G1.1(a), 5G1.2(d), and United States v. White, 238 F.3d 537 (4th Cir. 2001). See Gibson, 2001 WL 1019343, at *2.

After our decision in Gibson but before resentencing, the Supreme Court issued its decision in United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625. 122 S.Ct. 1781, 152 L.Ed.2d 860 (2002), and reversed the panel decision on which [the Court] relied in Gibson. Applying the Supreme Court's decision in Cotton, the district court resentenced Gibson and Blue to life imprisonment on the conspiracy count and resentenced Blue to a concurrent term of life imprisonment on the possession-with-intent-to-distribute count. We find that the district court properly declined to follow our mandate in Gibson in light of the Supreme Court's intervening decision in Cotton. See United States v. Aramonv, 166 F.3d 655, 661 (4th Cir. 1999)(discussing law of the case doctrine and exceptions thereto). . .

[A] review of the record leads us to conclude that, although drug quantity was not charged in the indictment or submitted to the jury, the imposition of life sentences did not affect the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings because the evidence of drug quantity in these cases was overwhelming and essentially uncontroverted. See Cotton, 535 U.S. at 632-33.

United States v. Blue, 85 F. App'x 905, 906 (4th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, Gibson v. United States, 541 U.S. 1081, 124 S.Ct. 2436, 158 L.Ed.2d 998 (2004), rehearing denied, 542 U.S. 958, 125 S.Ct. 14, 159 L.Ed.2d 844 (2004).

Mr. Gibson then filed for collateral relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 seeking to vacate the life sentence imposed on resentencing. The sentencing court denied the petition on May 23, 2006. See Doc. 6-1, Ex. 1-B, Gibson v. United States, Civ. No PJM-05-1437 (D. Md. May 2, 2007)(unpub. slip op.) Mr. Gibson then filed a motion for reconsideration of the denial of his § 2255 petition. (Id.) The sentencing court treated the motion for reconsideration as a successive § 2255 petition and denied it. (Id.) The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals then denied Mr. Gibson's request for a Certificate of Appealability and dismissed the appeal. United States v. Gibson, 218 F. App'x 221 (4th Cir. 2007). The United States Supreme Court denied Mr. Gibson's petition for writ of certiorari. Gibson v. United States, 552 U.S. 982, 128 S.Ct. 458, 169 L.Ed.2d 320 (2007).

Mr. Gibson then filed a series of motions with the sentencing court which were all construed as unauthorized and successive § 2255 petitions. The first was a motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1) in which he asked the court to set aside its denial of his § 2255 motions on the grounds of mistake. See Doc. 6-1, Ex. 1-B, Gibson v. United States, Civ. No PJM-05-1437 (D. Md. May 2, 2007)(unpub. slip op.) The motion was denied. (Id.) Mr. Gibson filed a Petition for Writ of Audita Querela under the All Writs Act. The sentencing court construed the petition as a second or successive § 2255 petition and denied it as Mr. Gibson had not sought leave from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The sentencing court denied the petition on June 12, 2007. See Doc. 6-1, Ex. 1-C, Gibson v. United States, Civ. ...


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