United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER STAYING CASE
Jennifer A. Dorsey United States District Judge
April 19, 2016, petitioner Johnny Lee Bass filed a motion to
vacate his 188-month sentence for Hobbs Act robbery and
federal bank robbery, arguing that his sentence was illegally
enhanced under the sentencing guidelines' career offender
provision in light of the United States Supreme Court's
decision in Johnson v. United States,  in which the
Court held that the ACCA's similarly worded residual
clause is unconstitutionally vague. Rule 4 of the Rules
Governing Section 2255 Cases in the United States District
Court directs me to promptly examine § 2255 motions and,
unless it plainly appears that the movant is not entitled to
relief, direct the government to file a response. On May 16,
2016, I directed the government to respond to Bass's
petition. The government has filed its response and
Bass has filed a reply.
2016, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in
Beckles v. United States, Case Number 15-8544, to
decide, in relevant part, whether Johnson requires
invalidation of USSG § 4B1.2(a)(2)'s residual clause
and, if so, whether this applies retroactively to
collateral-review cases challenging sentences enhanced under
that provision. On November 28, 2016, the Court heard oral
argument in Beckles and the case was submitted for
review. Because Beckles is under submission and
potentially dispositive of petitioner's motion to vacate,
I stay all proceedings in this case pending the Supreme
Court's decision in Beckles.
district court has the inherent power to stay cases to
control its docket and promote the efficient use of judicial
resources. When determining whether to stay a case
pending the resolution of another case, I must consider (1)
the possible damage that may result from a stay, (2) any
“hardship or inequity” that a party may suffer if
required to go forward, and (3) “the orderly course of
justice measured in terms of the simplifying or complicating
of issues, proof, and questions of law” that a stay
will engender. On balance, I find that these factors
favor a stay here.
motion hinges on Johnson's retroactive
application to the residual clause of § 4B1.2(a)(2). The
Beckles decision is thus almost certain to determine
whether petitioner has a cognizable claim under § 2255.
I have no less than ten cases in which defendants have filed
§ 2255 motions seeking to challenge their §
4B1.2(a)(2)-enhanced sentences based on Johnson.
Staying this case pending the Supreme Court's decision in
Beckles will permit me to analyze the parties'
and evidence in the context of complete and resolved
precedent, and it will allow me to evaluate petitioner's
claim in light of this imminently anticipated legal
authority. A stay pending the decision in Beckles
will thus simplify the proceedings and promote the efficient
use of the parties' and the court's limited
only potential prejudice that may result from a stay is that
both parties will have to wait longer for resolution of this
case. But a delay would also result from the new briefing
that would very likely be needed after the Supreme Court
issues its decision in Beckles. So a stay pending
the decision will not necessarily lengthen the life of this
case, and any possible damage that a stay may cause is
minimal. This is especially true because even if Bass's
classification as a career offender is illegal, his guideline
range of imprisonment would still be high: 100-125 months, of
which it appears he has served only 32 months. So even if Bass
were eligible for resentencing, it would be extremely
unlikely that staying this case until Beckles is decided
would prolong his new release date. The stay pending the
decision will also not be indefinite. The length of this stay
is tied to the Supreme Court's issuance of its decision
in Beckles, a case that has already been argued and
submitted and will be decided this term. Once the decision is
issued, either party may move to lift the stay.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is STAYED until the
Supreme Court issues a decision in Beckles v. United
States, Case Number 15-8544. Once the decision issues,
either party may move to lift the stay. I will order
supplemental briefing if necessary.
 Johnson v. United States, 135
S.Ct. 2551 (2015).
 ECF No. 40.
 ECF No. 41.