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United States v. Ramkissoon

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 2, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
HUBY RAMKISSOON, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          JAMES M. MUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court for disposition is Defendant Huby Ramkissoon's (hereinafter “the defendant”) 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (hereinafter “section 2255”) motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. (Doc. 34). For the following reasons, the court will deny the motion.

         Background

         A grand jury indicted the defendant on October 16, 2012, for crimes related to his armed robbery of a jewelry store on May 14, 2008, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1, Indictment). On April 30, 2012, the defendant pled guilty to: (1) interference with commerce by robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C.A. § 1951 (hereinafter “Hobbs Act robbery”); and (2) use and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). (Doc. 22, Plea Agreement). In accordance with the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (hereinafter “U.S.S.G.” or “Sentencing Guidelines” or “Guidelines”), we sentenced the defendant on September 4, 2013, to consecutive terms of imprisonment, namely forty-eight (48) months of incarceration for the Hobbs Act robbery, and eighty-four (84) months of incarceration for the use and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. (Doc. 29, Judgment).

         On June 12, 2016, the defendant filed the instant section 2255 motion. (Doc. 34). In his motion, the defendant contends that, following the United States Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), [1] his Hobbs Act robbery conviction no longer qualifies as a “crime of violence, ” and therefore, his consecutive sentence on the use and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence violates due process of law. The parties then briefed the issues, bringing the case to its current procedural posture.

         Jurisdiction

         As defendant brings his motion under section 2255, we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”). We also have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (“Writs of habeas corpus may be granted by . . . the district courts[.]”).

         Standard of Review

         Generally, a federal prisoner in custody under the sentence of a federal court may, within one year from when the judgment becomes final, move the sentencing court to “vacate, set aside, or correct” a sentence “imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). A federal prisoner may also file a section 2255 motion within one year from “[t]he date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right was newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3). A section 2255 motion may attack a federal prisoner's sentence on any of the following grounds: (1) the judgment was rendered without jurisdiction; (2) the sentence imposed was not authorized by law or otherwise open to collateral attack; or (3) there has been such a denial or infringement of the Constitutional rights of the prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to collateral attack. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).

         Section 2255 does not, however, afford a remedy for all errors that may have been made at trial or sentencing. United States v. Essig, 10 F.3d 968, 977 n.25 (3d Cir. 1993). Rather, section 2255 permits relief for an error of law or fact constituting a “fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.” United States v. Eakman, 378 F.3d 294, 298 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178, 185 (1979)). If the court determines that the sentence was not authorized by law, was unconstitutional, or is otherwise open to collateral attack, the court must vacate the judgment, resentence the prisoner, or grant the prisoner a new trial as appropriate. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).

         Discussion

         The defendant argues that his Hobbs Act robbery conviction no longer qualifies as a “crime of violence” under the Sentencing Guidelines, and that he should be resentenced. The government challenges the defendant's section 2255 motion on two grounds. First, the government contends that the defendant waived his right to challenge or appeal his conviction and sentence. Second, the government contends that the defendant's Hobbs Act robbery still qualifies as a “crime of violence” under the Sentencing Guidelines. We address only the government's second contention, as it is dispositive.

         I. Hobbs Act Robbery is a “Crime of Violence”

         As mentioned above, the government contends that the defendant's Hobbs Act robbery qualifies as a “crime of ...


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