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Batts v. United States

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

October 18, 2017

CADRIOUS BATTS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

          L. Scott Coogler, United States District Judge.

         Cadrious Batts (“Batts”) has filed with the Clerk of this Court a motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Docs. 1 & 6.) The Government opposes the motion. (Doc. 8.) For the following reasons, the motion is due to be denied.

         I. Background

         On October 8, 2014, Batts pled guilty to two counts of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d), and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). On February 12, 2015, this Court sentenced him to concurrent terms of 156 months of imprisonment for the armed robbery counts, and a consecutive term of 84 months for his Section 924(c) count. Batts appealed, challenging the procedural and substantive reasonableness of his sentence, but the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence on October 16, 2015. He filed this, his first § 2255 motion, on June 28, 2016.

         II. Discussion

         A. “Johnson” claim

         Batts first suggests that his Section 924(c) conviction and sentence have been invalidated by the Supreme Court's decisions in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), and Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016). In Johnson, the Supreme Court declared that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act's definition of “violent felony”, see 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), is void for vagueness, and Welch held that Johnson was retroactively applicable on collateral review.

         Neither decision helps Batts, however. The Eleventh Circuit has held that armed bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d) remains a “crime of violence” even after Johnson because the offense requires the use of physical force against the person or property of another, and nothing about Johnson invalidated the definition of “crime of violence” contained in 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3), applicable to offenses with an element of “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another.” See In re Hines, 824 F.3d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir. 2016). Accordingly, Batts' attempt to raise a “Johnson” claim fails.

         B. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         Batts makes two vague and conclusory allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel. First, he contends that:

The Counsel for the defendant provided false information in light of the indictment process. The attorney failed to look at evidence, which might have made a difference towards the sentence of the defendant. The defendant asked numerous times about the procedure, but was misguided.

(Doc. 6 at 5.) Second, he also claims that:

The Counsel on file for the defendant failed to consult with defendant on the terms of accepting a plea. The Counsel on file failed to provide the defendant substa[ntial] time to discuss the terms of accepting a plea deal instead of a trial. This would have ...

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