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United States v. Hudson

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division

February 7, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
CARLOS ANTONIO HUDSON, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING THE § 2255 MOTION AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          Robert L. Hinkle United States District Judge

         The defendant Carlos Antonio Hudson pleaded guilty to drug offenses. As was unquestionably proper under the law of the circuit at the time, he was treated as a career offender under United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 4B1.1. His sentence was at the low end of the guideline range. He did not appeal.

         Now before the court is Mr. Hudson's first motion for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. He asserts that, under intervening decisions including Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), he is no longer a career offender. This order denies the 2255 motion.

         I

         The magistrate judge entered a report and recommendation concluding that the motion should be denied. I accepted the report and recommendation and directed the clerk to enter judgment denying the motion. But it turned out that the Postal Service had not delivered Mr. Hudson's service copy of the report and recommendation. I vacated the order and judgment denying the motion and extended Mr. Hudson's deadline for filing objections. Mr. Hudson timely filed objections. I have reviewed de novo the issues raised by the objections.

         This order again accepts the report and recommendation, adopts it as the court's opinion, and denies the 2255 motion, with the following additional explanation.

         II

         Under Guidelines Manual § 4B1.1(a), a defendant is a career offender if, at the time of the offense of conviction, the defendant was age 18 or more, the offense of conviction is a crime of violence or controlled-substance offense, and the defendant had two or more prior felony convictions of a crime of violence or controlled-substance offense. As is undisputed, Mr. Hudson was over age 18, and the offense of conviction is a controlled-substance offense. The critical issue is whether two of Mr. Hudson's prior convictions were crimes of violence.

         The Guidelines Manual's definition of “crime of violence” was nearly identical to the definition of a “violent felony” under the armed-career-criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). One part of the definition is known as the “residual clause.” In Johnson, the Supreme Court held the 924(e) residual clause unconstitutionally vague. Johnson is retroactively applicable on collateral review. See Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016).

         Mr. Hudson filed the 2255 motion nearly ten years after his conviction became final but within one year after Welch, so the motion is timely.

         But the motion fails on the merits. The constitutional vagueness analysis that produced Johnson does not apply to the Guidelines Manual. This is the square holding of Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). The residual clause that applied to Mr. Hudson was not unconstitutional. This without more requires denial of Mr. Hudson's motion.

         III

         In his objections to the report and recommendation, Mr. Hudson says consideration of this case should be stayed pending the Supreme Court's review of Dimaya v. Lynch, 803 F.3d 1110 (9th Cir. 2015), cert. granted sub nom. Lynch v. Dimaya, 137 S.Ct. 31 (2016). But Dimaya deals with a different issue: whether Johnson applies to a similar residual clause in an immigration statute. There is no reason to believe the Dimay ...


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