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Williams v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Western Division

January 30, 2017

JOSHUA IKEEM WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Crim. No. 7:14-CR-0128-SLB-SGC

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          SHARON LOVELACE BLACKBURN, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case is presently pending before the court on petitioner Joshua Ikeem Williams's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody [hereinafter Motion to Vacate]. (Doc. 1; crim. doc. 29.)[1] Citing Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), Williams contends that he was improperly sentenced under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Because binding Eleventh Circuit precedent bars Williams's claims on the merits, the court assumes that his Motion to Vacate is timely filed and is not procedurally barred. For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that Williams's Motion to Vacate is due to be denied and his petition dismissed without notice to the Government. See 28 U.S.C. 2255(b).[2]

         On April 30, 2014, an Indictment was filed against Williams. (Crim. doc. 1.) The Indictment charged Williams with two counts of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), three counts of armed bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d), and two counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence (armed bank robbery) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). (Id.) Pursuant to a Plea Agreement with the Government, Williams pled guilty to all counts. (Crim. doc. 8; crim. doc. 16.) He was sentenced to 12 months on each count of bank robbery and armed bank robbery with the sentences to be served concurrently. (Crim. doc. 16 at 2.) On Count Four, charging brandishing a firearm during the armed bank robbery set forth in Count Three, Williams was sentenced to 84 months to be served consecutively to all other counts. (Id.) He received 144 months on Count Six, charging Williams brandished a firearm during the armed bank robbery charged in Count Five; this sentence was to be served consecutively to the sentence received for all other counts. (Id.) Williams's “total custodial sentence” was 240 months. (Id.)

         Williams's conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. (Crim. doc. 28.)

         On June 29, 2016, Williams, who is proceeding pro se, filed the instant Motion to Vacate. (Crim. doc. 29; doc. 1.) In his Motion to Vacate, Williams challenges his conviction under § 924(c) based on Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015); he states:

[P]etitioner's 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) conviction only qualifies as a crime of violence under the Residual Clause to that section of the statute. In light of the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, which held that the Residual Clause to the ACCA statute is Unconstitutional[.] [T]herefore it's void for vagueness under the due process clause.

(Doc. 1 at 4.) Williams argues that armed bank robbery is not a crime of violence § 924(c). (See generally doc. 2.) Williams contends his Motion to Vacate is timely based on the Johnson decision.[3] (Id. at 2.)

         In Johnson, the Supreme Court held that definition of a “violent felony” set forth in the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act [“ACCA”], 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), was void for vagueness. Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2563. The Court also held, “Today's decision does not call into question application of the [ACCA] to the four enumerated offenses, or the remainder of the [ACCA's] definition of a violent felony.” Id. The decision did not address the definition of a crime of violence found in § 924(c)(3).

         Williams was convicted of two counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) and § 924(c)(1)(C)(i), which state:

(c)(1)(A) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence . . . (including a crime of violence . . . that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence . . . -
. . .
(ii) if the firearm is brandished, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 7 years . . . .
(C) In the case of a second or subsequent conviction under this subsection, ...

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