United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Maurice Ryant moves to set aside the judgment of conviction
for possession of a firearm (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)) and
to correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Defendant contends that he was improperly sentenced to a
mandatory minimum of fifteen years' incarceration under
the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e). He now challenges his ACCA status and requests
that his current sentence be vacated. For the following
reasons, I will deny Defendant's Motion.
RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
August 6, 2013, Defendant pled guilty to two counts of
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of
18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e). The Presentence
Report (“PSR”) establishes that Defendant has two
prior convictions for felony drug trafficking offenses, a
1997 conviction for aggravated assault, and a 1997 conviction
for carjacking. The aggravated assault conviction was a
violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702(a)(3), which is a
reflected that, based on Defendant's two prior
convictions for serious drug offenses and at least one prior
conviction for a violent felony, he was an armed career
criminal under ACCA. Given an initial offense level of 34,
plus a three-level reduction for acceptance of
responsibility, Defendant's total offense level was 31.
With a category VI criminal history, the guideline range was
188 to 235 months. Defendant was also subject to a statutory
mandatory minimum of 180 months pursuant to § 924(e). At
the sentencing hearing held on November 26, 2013, I sentenced
Defendant to 180 months' imprisonment.
April 4, 2016, Defendant filed the current Motion to Correct
Sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The Government
responded on July 18, 2017, and Defendant filed a reply brief
on August 29, 2017. On February 20, 2018, the Government
submitted supplemental authority.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
prisoner in federal custody may file a motion in the trial
court challenging the validity of his sentence under 28
U.S.C. § 2255. See Morelli v. United States,
285 F.Supp.2d 454, 458 (D.N.J. 2003). This provision reads in
A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established
by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released 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, may move the court
which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct
28 U.S.C. § 2255.
this statutory framework, a federal prisoner shall be
released from custody if the sentence “(1) was imposed
in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United
States; (2) was imposed by a court lacking jurisdiction; (3)
was in excess of the maximum authorized by law; or (4) is
otherwise subject to collateral attack.” Morelli v.
U.S., 285 F.Supp.2d 454, 458 (D.N.J. 2003) (citing 28
U.S.C. § 2255). To establish a right to habeas corpus
relief, a prisoner must demonstrate that the sentence has a
“fundamental defect” resulting in a
“complete miscarriage of justice or an omission
inconsistent with the rudimentary demands of fair
procedure.” See, e.g., United States v.
DeLuca, 889 F.2d 503, 506 (3d Cir. 1989);
Morelli, 285 F.Supp.2d at 458-59 (citations
In the case of a person who violates section
922(g) of this title and has three previous
convictions by any court referred to in section 922(g)(1) of
this title for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or
both, committed on occasions different from one another, such
person shall ...