United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
N.ScoIa, Jr., United States District Judge
case was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Alicia M.
Otazo-Reyes for a ruling on all pre-trial, nondispositive
matters and for a report and recommendation on any
dispositive matters, consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636 and
Local Magistrate Judge Rule 1. After holding a hearing, Judge
Otazo-Reyes issued a report, recommending that Petitioner
Antron Demond Edwards's motion to vacate his sentence be
granted. (Rep. & Rec., ECF No. 19, 1.) The Government
filed objections to one of the sections of Judge
Otazo-Reyes's report. (Gov.'s Obj. to Sec. 6, ECF No.
21, 1.) Edwards, represented by counsel, neither objected to
the report nor responded to the Government's objections.
After a de novo review, the Court accepts in part and rejects
in part the magistrate judge's report and recommendation
and denies Edwards's motion (ECF No. 1).
was charged, in 2014, with three counts related to an armed
robbery of a McDonald's restaurant committed in December
2013. He pleaded guilty to one of the counts: possession of
ammunition by a convicted felon. The Government dismissed the
remaining counts of Hobbs Act robbery and the use of a
firearm during the commission of a crime. Under the Armed
Career Criminal Act, the Court found Edwards to be subject to
a fifteen-year minimum mandatory sentence and sentenced him
to 180 months, followed by five years of supervised released.
In doing so, the Court relied on the following prior
convictions in applying the ACCA to Edwards's sentence:
burglary; fleeing and eluding through a high-speed chase;
first degree arson; possession with intent to sell or deliver
cocaine (two separate convictions: a 1998 case and a 2005
case); and burglary of an unoccupied structure. (Mot. to
Vacate, ECF No. 1, 10; Presentence Inv. Rep. ¶ 17, ECF
No. 31 in United States v. Edwards, Case No.
1:14-cr-20130-RNS (S.D. Fla. 2014).)
24, 2016, Edwards filed the instant motion to vacate,
contending that his fifteen-year minimum-mandatory sentence
has been rendered illegal by the United States Supreme
Court's ruling that the ACCA's residual clause is
unconstitutionally vague. Johnson v. United States,
135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).
the ACCA, a defendant found guilty of possession of
ammunition by a convicted felon and who has three previous
convictions for a violent felony or a serious drug offense
must be imprisoned for at least fifteen years. 18 U.S.C.
§ 924(e)(1). “Violent felony, ” in turn, is
defined as any crime punishable by a term of imprisonment
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 physical injury to another.
18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B). The first prong of this
definition is referred to as the “elements
clause”; the second prong contains the
“enumerated-crimes clause” and the
“residual clause.” United States v.
Owens, 672 F.3d 966, 968 (11th Cir. 2012).
26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held in
Johnson that the residual clause, referring to a
felony that “presents a serious potential risk of
physical injury to another, ” is unconstitutionally
vague because it creates uncertainty about how to evaluate
the risks posed by a crime and how much risk it takes to
qualify as a violent felony. Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at
2557- 58, 2563. The Johnson Court specifically did
not call into question the application of either the elements
clause or the enumerated crimes clause. Id. at 2563.
Ten months later the Supreme Court held, in Welch v.
United States, that Johnson announced a new
substantive rule that applies retroactively to cases on
collateral review. 136 S.Ct. 1257, 1264-65 (2016).
Government concedes that, after Johnson,
Edwards's two burglary convictions and his conviction for
fleeing and eluding do not qualify as predicate convictions
under the ACCA. Edwards, moreover, acknowledges that his two
drug convictions do qualify as predicate convictions. The
Government also agrees that Edwards's arson conviction
does not satisfy the ACCA's elements clause. Thus the
sole dispute between the parties is whether Edwards's
arson conviction falls within the enumerated crimes clause
thereby constituting the third predicate prior conviction
required for imposition of the ACCA's fifteen-year
has not objected to Judge Otazo-Reyes's report and
recommendation; and the Government does not object to the
majority of it. Despite the absence of objections to most of
the report, the Court nonetheless has reviewed the entirety
of Judge Otazo-Reyes's report de novo. After doing so,
the Court adopts those unobjected to portions of Judge
Otazo-Reyes's findings and conclusions that set forth the
analysis that should be applied to ...