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Woods v. United States

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

November 6, 2017

REGINALD WOODS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          R. DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court is the Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence filed by Petitioner Reginald Woods (“Petitioner”), a federal prisoner acting pro se, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 1). Following the filing of Petitioner's pending § 2255 Motion, the Government moved to dismiss Petitioner's Motion for lack of jurisdiction. (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 5). For the reasons explained below, the Government's Motion (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 5) is due to be granted.

         I. Background

         Petitioner has previously filed both a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and an application for leave to file a second or successive § 2255 motion. (Case No. 1:97-cr-00159-RDP-TMP-1, Docs. # 104, 108). Petitioner filed his first § 2255 Motion on August 12, 2014. (Case No. 1:14-cv-08046-JHH, Doc. # 1). On January 23, 2015, the court denied Petitioner's § 2255 Motion. (Case No. 1:14-cv-08046-JHH, Docs. # 13, 14).

         Petitioner requested leave from the Eleventh Circuit to file a second or successive § 2255 Motion on June 23, 2016. (Case No. 1:97-cr-00159-RDP-TMP-1, Doc. # 108). In his Application for Leave to File a Second or Successive Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence, Petitioner alleged that -- based on the new rule of law created in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) -- the definition of “crime of violence” contained in 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) “is unconstitutional and violates due process.” (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 5-1 at p. 5). On July 7, 2016, the Eleventh Circuit denied Petitioner's application. (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 5-2).

         Petitioner filed the § 2255 Motion currently pending before the court on June 28, 2017. (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 1). In his § 2255 Motion, Petitioner argues that (1) he is “actually innocent” of the § 924(c) penalty under Johnson, (2) bank robbery and carjacking are not “crimes of violence” under Johnson, (3) the court was without jurisdiction to impose the 924(c) penalty under Johnson, and (4) the court was without jurisdiction to impose the 924(c) penalty “for the unlawful deference involved.” (Id. at p. 3-4).

         After the Government moved to dismiss Petitioner's Motion (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 5), the court ordered Petitioner to “respond with counter-affidavits and/or documents to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact to be decided.” (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 6) (emphasis included). The court warned Petitioner that (1) he was “not [to] depend upon the mere allegations in his pleadings to counter [the Government's motion], ” (2) “[t]he granting of summary dismissal is a final adjudication with prejudice on the merits, ” and (3) he “may not add any additional claims and should not think that new allegations he makes in his response or in any document other than the Motion presents additional claims to the court.” (Id.) (emphasis included).

         Petitioner responded to the Government's motion to dismiss on August 16, 2017. (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 7). In his response, Petitioner argues (1) the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 is unconstitutional, (2) bank robbery and carjacking are not “violent crimes” in light of Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551, and (3) he has made a prima facie showing that his conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) is void for vagueness due to Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551. On October 25, 2017, Petitioner moved to supplement his response by including two additional cases.[1](Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 8).

         II. Analysis

         A second or successive motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 “must be certified as provided in section 2244 by a panel of the appropriate court of appeals.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Section 2244 provides that “before a second or successive application permitted by this section is filed in the district court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). Absent an order from the court of appeals authorizing the consideration of the application, “the district court lacks jurisdiction to consider a second or successive petition.” Farris v. United States, 333 F.3d 1211, 1216 (11th Cir. 2003); see also United States v. Holt, 417 F.3d 1172, 1175 (11th Cir. 2005).

         A. Petitioner's Johnson Claims

         In Grounds One, Two, and Three of the pending § 2255 Motion, Petitioner alleges that he should be resentenced based on Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551. (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 1 at p. 3-4). The Eleventh Circuit has already considered Petitioner's conviction in light of Johnson, 135 S.Ct. 2551, and found that “Woods cannot make a prima facie showing that he is entitled to relief under Johnson.” (Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Doc. # 5-2). Because the Eleventh Circuit previously denied Petitioner's application to raise the Johnson claims on which Petitioner bases Grounds One, Two and Three of his pending § 2255 Motion, the court is without jurisdiction to consider these claims, and they are due to be dismissed with prejudice for want of jurisdiction. See In re Bradford, 830 F.3d 1273, 1278-79 (11th Cir. 2016) (explaining that § 2244 is a jurisdictional requirement and that federal courts lack jurisdiction over a claim that was presented in a prior application); In re Anderson, 829 F.3d 1290, 1293 (11th Cir. 2016) (“[D]enials of successive applications are with prejudice.”).

         B. Petitioner's Unlawful Deference Claim

         Ground Four of Petitioner's § 2255 Motion appears to allege that the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 is unconstitutional and, therefore, the court lacked jurisdiction to impose § 924(c) charges on Petitioner. (See Case No. 1:17-cv-08029-RDP, Docs. # 1 at p. 4; # 8 at p. 5-6). Although Petitioner has previously filed a § 2255 Motion (Case No. 1:14-cv-08046-JHH, Doc. # 1), Petitioner has not obtained an order from the Eleventh Circuit authorizing this court to consider Ground Four of this second or successive § 2255 Motion. Without such an order, this court lacks jurisdiction to consider Ground Four of the instant § 2255 Motion. See Farris, 333 F.3d at 1216 (“Without authorization, the district ...


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