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Eaton v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 12, 2017

WILLIAM GENE EATON, Petitioner
v.
UNITED STATES of AMERICA, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          A. RICHARD CAPUTO United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         William Gene Eaton, a federal prisoner appearing pro se, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 while housed at FCI-Schuylkill in Minersville, Pennsylvania.[1] Mr. Eaton argues that following Johnson v. United States, __U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015), [2] his prior conviction for conveying a weapon inside a federal penitentiary no longer qualifies as a crime of violence predicate offense for enhancing his sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). He seeks to be resentenced without ACCA enhancement.

         For the reasons that follow, Mr. Eaton's Petition will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

         II. Background and Procedural History [3]

         On December 18, 1998, Mr. Eaton was convicted by a jury on two counts of armed bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113, one count of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), one count of possessing a firearm after a former felony conviction in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), three counts of obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U .S.C. § 1503, and two counts of tampering with a witness in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b). United States v. Eaton, 20 F.App'x 763, 766 (10th Cir. 2001). The government filed a motion to enhance the penalties against htm based on prior convictions under the Three Strikes Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c) and the ACCA. (ECF No. 1, Pet., p. 5.) During Mr. Eaton's March 24, 1999, sentencing hearing the court noted "two prior armed robbery convictions" and a "1977 conveyance of a weapon inside a federal prison." (Id., pp. 6 - 7.) Relying on these three convictions the sentencing court found:

that for the purpose of 18 U.S. Code Section 2559, the defendant has at least two prior convictions for serious violent felonies, that he was convicted for a serious violent felony, that being bank robbery in the instant case, and then the robbery in 1993 with the use of a firearm and the conviction in 1972 for bank robbery with a firearm, and that these convictions were separated in time, obviously, one being in '72 and '83, that satisfying Part B of the mandatory life imprisonment statute.

(Id., p. 6.) The sentencing court also found Mr. Eaton subject to the sentencing enhancement under the ACCA based on his conviction of the three convictions:

the defendant was convicted in 1963 of the two armed robberies, and, then, likewise, in 1973 of the conveyance of the weapon charge, and that all of these qualify under the Armed Career Criminal Act to face the enhanced penalty under 18 U.S. Code Section 924(e).

(Id., p. 7.) Based on these findings, Mr. Eaton was "committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a term of life. The sentencing court explained the sentence:

This consists of a sentence of life as to Counts 1 and 4; 180 months as to Count 3; 120 months as to Counts 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Counts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 shall run concurrently. A term of 60 months is ordered on Count 2, which shall not run concurrently with any other term of confinement imposed.

(Id., p. 8.) The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed Mr. Easton's conviction and sentence on March 21, 2000. See 208 F.3d 227 (10th Cir. 2000). In 2000, Mr. Eaton filed his first 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence. The sentencing court denied the § 2255 motion and the United States v. Eaton, 20 F.App'x 763 (10th Cir. 2001).

         During the pendency of this Petition, Mr. Eaton filed a filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence with the sentencing court based on Johnson, supra. United States v. Eaton, 5:98-cr-0183-R (W.D. Okla), Motion to Vacate (2255), ECF No. 285, Apr. 25, 2016. On May 6, 2016, the sentencing court dismissed the Petition for lack of jurisdiction noting that Mr. Eaton did not obtain permission to file a successive § 2255 motion without first seeking leave of the Then Circuit Court of Appeals pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). (Id., Order, ECF No. 288, May 2, 2016.) On June 22, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied Mr. Eaton's request for authorization under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h) to file a successive § 2255 motion based on Johnson after finding "he was actually sentenced under the Three Strikes Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c), " thus "Johnson does not provide Mr. Eaton with a basis for authorization under § 2255(h)." In re: Eaton, No. 16-6166 (10th Cir. Jun. 22, 2016).

         III. ...


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