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United States v. Chastain

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 22, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff(s),
v.
RANDALL RAY CHASTAIN, Defendant(s).

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is petitioner Randall Chastain's abridged motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 58).

         Also before the court is petitioner's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 61). The government filed a response (ECF No. 63), to which petitioner replied (ECF No. 65).

         Also before the court is the government's motion for leave to file new authority. (ECF No. 66). Petitioner filed a response. (ECF No. 67). The government has not filed a reply, and the time for doing so has since passed.

         I. Facts

         On March 16, 1995, petitioner pleaded guilty to three counts of bank robbery (18 U.S.C. § 2113(a)), two counts of armed bank robbery (18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d)), and two counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence (18 U.S.C. § 924(c)). (ECF No. 32).

         On August 29, 1995, the court[1] sentenced petitioner to 60 months imprisonment for the bank robbery and armed bank robbery charges. (ECF No. 40). The court also sentenced petitioner to 240 months imprisonment for his first § 924(c) conviction and 60 months imprisonment for his second § 924(c) conviction, to run consecutively. Id. “Specifically, the Court found that [petitioner] had a conviction for federal armed bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d) which qualified as a ‘crime of violence.'” (ECF No. 61). This resulted in a combined imprisonment term of 360 months. Id. The court entered judgment that same day. (ECF No. 41).

         On September 8, 1995, petitioner filed a notice of appeal. (ECF No. 42). On January 31, 1997, the appeal was dismissed. (ECF No. 54).

         In his instant motion, petitioner moves to vacate his conviction pursuant to Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) (“Johnson”), and requests that the court immediately release petitioner.[2] (ECF No. 61).

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal prisoners “may move . . . to vacate, set aside or correct [their] sentence” if the court imposed the sentence “in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). Relief pursuant to § 2255 should be granted only where “a fundamental defect” caused “a complete miscarriage of justice.” Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333, 345 (1974); see also Hill v. United States, 368 U.S. 424, 428 (1962).

         Limitations on § 2255 motions are based on the fact that the movant “already has had a fair opportunity to present his federal claims to a federal forum, ” whether or not he took advantage of the opportunity. United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 164 (1982). Section 2255 “is not designed to provide criminal defendants multiple opportunities to challenge their sentence.” United States v. Johnson, 988 F.2d 941, 945 (9th Cir. 1993).

         III. Discussion

         In the instant motion, petitioner requests that the court vacate his allegedly erroneous convictions pursuant to Johnson. (ECF No. 61). In particular, petitioner argues that his § 924(c) convictions violate the Constitution's guarantee of due process.

         In Johnson, the United States Supreme Court held the residual clause in the definition of a “violent felony” in the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B) (“ACCA”), to be unconstitutionally vague. 135 S.Ct. at 2557. The ACCA defines “violent felony” as any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, that:

(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or
(ii) is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of ...

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