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Minter v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division

February 6, 2018

JASON LOREL MINTER, Movant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          Omar J. Aboulhosn, United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the Court is Movant's “Motion to Vacate Judgment Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255” (Document No. 172), filed on June 24, 2016. By Standing Order, this matter was referred to the undersigned for submission of proposed findings of fact and a recommendation for disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (Document No. 176.)

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A Criminal Action No. 3:03-00253:

         Following a jury trial conducted on January 27, 2004 to January 28, 2004, Movant was convicted of one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Count One), one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i) (Count Two), and one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2) (Count Three). (Criminal Action No. 3:03-00253, Document No. 52.) A Presentence Investigation Report was prepared. The District Court determined that Movant had a Combined Adjusted Offense Level of 34, and a Total Offense Level of 37, the Court having applied an three-level enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 because Movant met the criteria for career offender status. The District Court sentenced Movant on July 27, 2004, to serve a total term of 360 months of incarceration to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release.[1] (Id., Document No. 93.) The District Court further imposed a $300 special assessment and a $5, 000 fine. (Id.)

         On August 4, 2004, Movant filed a Notice of Appeal. (Id., Document No. 94.) In his appeal, Movant argued as follows: (1) The District Court erred by denying his Batson challenge; (2) The District Court abused its discretion by admitting a firearms expert's testimony relating to fingerprinting of guns; (3) The District Court erroneously sentenced Movant under mandatory Guidelines; and (4) Additional errors amounted to reversible error when considered cumulatively. (Id., Document No. 113.) On June 20, 2011, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction, vacated his sentence in light of United States v. Hughes, 401 F.3d 540 (4th Cir. 2005), and remanded for resentencing. (Id.) On November 28, 2005, the District Court resentenced Movant to the same sentence as previously imposed. (Id., Document Nos. 123 and 124.)

         B. First Section 2255 Motion:

         On December 4, 2006, Movant, acting pro se, filed his first Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence By A Person in Federal Custody. (Id., Document No. 133.) Movant asserted the following grounds for habeas relief: (1) “Fifth Amendment right to due process and Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial were violated during voir dire when jury lied to Court about past employment;” (2) “Fifth Amendment violation of due process of law and Sixth Amendment violation of right to jury determination of punishable offense elements;” (3) “Fifth Amendment violation of due process and Sixth Amendment violation of right to trial;” and (4) “Violation of Sixth Amendment right to counsel.” (Id.) The United States filed its Response in Opposition on January 17, 2007. (Id., Document No. 144.) By Proposed Findings and Recommendation entered on August 25, 2010, United States Magistrate Judge Mary E. Stanley recommended that Movant's Section 2255 Motion be denied. (Id., Document No. 158.) By Memorandum Opinion and Order entered on September 30, 2010, United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers adopted Judge Stanley's recommendation and denied Movant's Section 2255 Motion. (Id., Document Nos. 163 and 164.)

         C. Section 3582 Motion:

         On March 6, 2008, Movant, acting pro se, filed a Motion for Reduction of Sentence Pursuant to Title 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) arguing that he was entitled to a sentence reduction based upon the reduction in Sentencing Guidelines. (Id., Document No. 154.) By Order filed on May 7, 2010, the District Court denied Movant's Section 3582(c)(2) Motion. (Id., Document No. 155.)

         D. Instant Section 2255 Motion:

         On June 24, 2016, Movant, by court-appointed counsel, W. Michael Frazier, filed his “Motion to Vacate Judgment Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.” (Civil Action No. 3:16-5732, Document No. 172.) In support of his Motion, Movant alleges that he is entitled to relief based upon the United States Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015). (Id.) Movant contends that in light of Johnson, he is no longer a career offender because his Illinois convictions for aggravated battery of a police officer and aggravated robbery no longer qualify as “crimes of violence” for purposes of the career offender guideline. (Id.) Additionally, counsel states that he was unable to fully brief the issues presented in the Section 2255 Motion due to time constraints and “counsel asks for leave to supplement this Motion at a later time.” (Id., p. 3.)

         On the same day, Movant filed a “Motion to Defer Ruling.” (Id., Document No. 173.) In his Motion, Movant requested that his recently filed Section 2255 Motion be held in abeyance pending a ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on his request for authorization to file a second or successive Section 2255 motion. (Id.) By “Notice of Authorization” and Order filed on June 27, 2016, the Fourth Circuit granted Movant's request to file a successive Section 2255. (Id., Document Nos. 174 and 175.) By Order entered on June 28, 2016, the undersigned denied as moot Movant's “Motion to Defer Ruling.” (Id., Document No. 177.) By Order also entered on June 28, 2016, the undersigned directed Movant to file any supplemental brief in support of his Section 2255 Motion by July 29, 2016, and directed the United States to file its Answer by August 29, 2016. (Id., Document No. 178.)

         On July 21, 2016, the United States filed its Motion to Withdraw Referral to Magistrate Judge and To Stay Case Pending Supreme Court Ruling. (Id., Document No. 180.) Specifically, the United States requests that the District Court (1) withdraw the referral of the case to the Magistrate Judge, and (2) stay the case pending resolution of Beckles v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 2510, 195 L.Ed.2d 838 (2016). (Id.) Movant, by counsel, filed his Response in Opposition to United States' Motion to Withdraw Referral and Stay Case on July 21, 2016. (Id., Document No. 181.) The United States filed its Reply on August 1, 2016. (Id., Document No. 184.) By Order entered on September 22, 2016, United States ...


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