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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

June 10, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ANTHONY JEROME JONES, Criminal No. 09-06

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DAVID STEWART CERCONE, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Anthony Jerome Jones' Motion to Vacate Judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. For the reasons which follow, the motion will be denied.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On February 10, 2009, a grand jury sitting in the Western District of Pennsylvania indicted Jones on a single-count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Jones pled guilty to the charge on August 17, 2009. During the preparation of his presentence report ("PSR"), the probation officer concluded that Jones was an Armed Career Criminal pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)[1] because he had previously been convicted of violent felonies on three occasions (two convictions for robbery and one for assault). Consequently, Jones faced a statutory term of imprisonment 15 years to life, with a guideline range of 188 to 235 months of imprisonment.

On February 12, 2010, former Chief Judge Sean J. McLaughlin held a sentencing hearing at which the Court agreed with the calculations set forth in the PSR, concluding that Jones had a total offense category of 31, a criminal history category of VI, and an advisory guideline range of 188 to 235 months. The Court sentenced Jones to a term of 211 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release.

On direct appeal, Jones argued that a sentence greater than the statutory mandatory minimum was substantively unreasonable. See United States v. Jones, 402 F.Appx. 715, 716-17 (3d Cir. 2010). On November 22, 2010, the Third Circuit affirmed Jones' conviction and sentence. Id. at 717. Jones did not file a petition for writ of certiorari.

Almost two years later, on August 17, 2012, Jones filed the instant motion to vacate. (ECF No. 48). The government filed a response (ECF No. 49), and Jones filed a reply (ECF No. 50). On August 16, 2013, this matter was referred to the undersigned following Judge McLaughlin's resignation from the bench. It is now ripe for review.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a federal prisoner may move the sentencing court to vacate, set aside or correct a sentence "upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack." 28 U.S.C. § 2255. When a motion is made pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, the question of whether to order a hearing is committed to the sound discretion of the district court. In exercising that discretion, the court must accept the truth of the petitioner's factual allegations unless they are clearly frivolous on the basis of the existing record. United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 41-42 (3rd Cir. 1992). Further, the court must order an evidentiary hearing to determine the facts unless the motion and files and records of the case show conclusively that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. Id.

Here, upon consideration of Jones' petition, the government's response thereto, and the pleadings and documents of record, the Court concludes that no hearing is warranted.

III. DISCUSSION

A motion for collateral relief pursuant to Section 2255 is subject to the one-year limitations period set forth in the AEDPA. Kapral v. United States, 166 F.3d 565, 567 (3d Cir. 1999). As provided in 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f):

A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to a motion under this section. The limitation period ...

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