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Patterson v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 9, 2017

VICTOR RAYNARD PATTERSON, Petitioner
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          A. RICHARD CAPUTO United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Petitioner, Victor Raynard Patterson, a federal inmate formerly housed at the Allenwood Low Federal Correctional Institution in White Deer, Pennsylvania, filed this pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Mr. Patterson claims that, in light of the holding in Johnson v. United States, __ U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015)[1] which declared the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) unconstitutionally vague, his present sentence must be vacated.[2](ECF No. 1).

         Because Mr. Patterson's Petition raises claims more appropriately addressed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, not Section 2241, this Court does not have jurisdiction to address the Petition. However, in the interest of justice given Mr. Patterson's Johnson claim, this matter will be transferred to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for treatment as a motion to file a successive § 2255 motion.

         II. Background

         On August 23, 2006, Mr. Patterson was indicted on a single count of being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and § 924(e). See United States v. Patterson, 1:06-cr-00289-CCC-1 (M.D. Pa.);[3] and United States v. Patterson, Crim. No. 1:06-CR-00289, 2010 WL 2853565 (M.D. Pa. Jul. 20, 2010). The following prior convictions were noted in the Indictment:

1. Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, April 1, 1994, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Docket Number 1:93-CR-00218;
2. Delivery of a Controlled Substance, April 11, 1994, Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, Docket Number 953 CD 93;
3. Delivery of a Controlled Substance, January 18, 1989, Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, Docket Number 2125 DC 1988; and 4. Delivery of a Controlled Substance, July 9, 1986, Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, Docket Number 621 CD 1986.

See Patterson, 1:06-cr-00289-CCC-1 (M.D. Pa.), ECF No. 1, Indictment. On March 29, 2007, Mr. Patterson plead guilty to the sole count in the indictment. Patterson, 2010 WL 2853565 at *1. In doing so, the Government and Mr. Patterson entered into a plea agreement that specified the minimum mandatory sentence for his offense was 15 years and the maximum possible sentence was life imprisonment plus fines and costs. Patterson, 1:06-cr-00289-CCC-1 (M.D. Pa.), ECF No. 23, ECF pp. 1 - 3, Plea Agreement.

         On August 6, 2007, Mr. Patterson was sentenced to a term of 180-months' incarceration. (Id.; see also Patterson, 1:06-cr-00289-CCC-1 (M.D. Pa.), ECF No. 37, Judgment.) Mr. Patterson appealed his conviction and sentence to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit arguing that his felony drug convictions from 1986 and 1989 were too remote for sentencing enhancement purposes under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). On December 12, 2008, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his judgment of sentencing noting that “[n]othing in the statute establishes a time limit for the consideration of convictions for the purposes of imposing the fifteen-year minimum sentence” under section 924(e). United States v. Patterson, 302 F. App'x 79, 81 (3d Cir. 2008).

         On December 3, 2009, Mr. Patterson filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence. See Patterson, 1:06-cr-00289-CCC-1 (M.D. Pa.), ECF No. 49, Mot. to Vacate, set Aside, or Correct Sentence; see also Patterson, 2010 WL 2853565, at * 1. He withdrew his initial § 2255 motion and filed an amended petition on March 30, 2010 based on his counsel's ineffectiveness for failing to move to suppress evidence collected from the search of his home. See Patterson, 1:06-cr-00289-CCC-1 (M.D. Pa.), ECF No. 60, Amended § 2255 Mot.; see also Patterson, 2010 WL 2853565, at * 1. In his § 2255 petition, Mr. Patterson did not argue that any of his state drug convictions did not constitute “serious drug offenses” for enhancement purposes under the ACCA. On July 20, 2010, the sentencing court denied the motion and denied issuance of a certificate of appealability. (Id.; see also Patterson, 1:06-cr-00289-CCC-1 (M.D. Pa.), ECF No. 63.)

         On January 15, 2015. Mr. Patterson filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 arguing that in light of the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Johnson, his sentence was improperly enhanced under the ACCA. (ECF No. 1, Pet.) On March 11, 2015, the Government filed a Response to the Petition suggesting it be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. (ECF No. 5.)

         III. ...


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